Avoid the trap of Christmas weight gain followed by New Year crash dieting!

avoid christmas weight gain

Avoid the trap of Christmas weight gain followed by New Year crash dieting!

You CAN avoid (or at least limit) weight gain over Christmas.

It’s that time of year when a lot of people fall into the trap of festive feasting. Piling on the pounds then trying to fix it by going on the latest trendy diet in January! It’s a slippery slope to that never-ending cycle of yo-yo dieting, which leaves you worse off in the long-term.

Before I say anything else, remember there are no good or bad foods. It’s ok to enjoy the food you love. It’s even ok to completely over-do it occasionally. You’re not a bad person, it’s not the end of the world, we all do it once in a while.

The problem comes when you throw everything out the window this time of year. All the healthy habits you’ve been trying to build. It starts with one little thing slipping and you think you’ve blown it.  

“I may as well forget it all and sort it out next year!”

Then you try something too drastic in the New Year. Give up by the end of January coz it was too difficult to keep up. Then you’ve started the year feeling like your weight is out of control and you’re a failure.

Life is too damn short for that shit!

Here are my top tips to help you avoid (or at least limit) the Christmas weight gain while still enjoying the festive goodies – coz life’s too short to not have a little of what you fancy, right?!

1 – What can you do differently this year?

Be honest with yourself about your eating & exercising habits this time of year. Think about how things normally go for you and how you feel about that. Is there anything specific you could do differently? What little tweaks could you make to what you normally do this time of year?

Do you find you move less over the festive season? If so, what could you do to keep moving? If your normal exercise classes aren’t on over the holidays, maybe you could organise walks with family or friends. It’s especially a good idea if you feel a bit bleurgh (yes that’s a technical term!) in the gap between Christmas and New Year.

Do you struggle with having loads of treats in the house? What could you do to avoid having so many in the house? Could you plan in when you’re going to have the treats? Or how about having some fruit or veg at the same time as the treats – turn it into a mini-meal so you’re more likely to feel satisfied and less likely to go back for more?

Do you find you have lots of Christmas parties and meals out? Remember you don’t need to have ALL the courses available – pick your favourites and enjoy them guilt-free.

Remember to drink plenty fluids too, especially when you’re drinking alcohol. Try alternating between alcoholic drinks and water/soft drinks to reduce how much alcohol you drink. Alcoholic drinks can add up quickly, giving you loads of extra energy without affecting your appetite like the same amount of energy from food would, so watch how much you drink!

Have a think about how you could tweak what you normally do. Remember you don’t have to do it all. A little tweak here and there can make all the difference.

2 – Have a plan to help you

Rather than going with the flow and thinking it’s all out of your control, take a step back and see where you can plan your eating. Ask yourself what you can do to minimise the effects of all the partying, drinking and treats. Keep aiming to have regular balanced meals and think about planning lighter meals on days in between the parties, meals out and buffets.

Look at menus in advance so you can decide what you’re having before you go out and make the most helpful choice. Avoid skipping meals or letting yourself get too hungry before going out to eat, or you’re more likely to end up over-eating. If you struggle with over-eating at buffets, try to move away from the buffet table once you’ve made your choice and find somewhere to sit so you can focus on your food while you eat. It’s all about being honest with yourself about what you struggle with and planning a strategy that will work for you.

avoid christmas weight gain
What are your festive favourites?

3 – Prioritise your favourite foods

Do you really need to have EVERYTHING that’s on offer? I know there’s loads of yummy things this time of year, but do you really need it ALL? Find that balance between enjoying yourself and completely overdoing it.

Make it easy for yourself – ask yourself do you really need to have loads of tubs of chocolates AND fancy biscuits in the house? Some people say they need them for the kids or for visitors, but who is eating most of them? If it’s you, but you regret it every time and the others aren’t actually fussed then, why do that to yourself? Do the kids really need tubs of chocolates as well as chocolate advent calendars AND chocolates on the tree?

What are the foods you like most? Focus on those treats and forget the other things. You don’t have to do it ALL, just because it’s tradition.

If you find everything revolves around food this time of year, maybe it’s time to look at other non-food things you could do instead?

4 – Practice mindful eating

Be aware of your eating, but without judgement. Try to make time to stop for meals, rather than snacking constantly or eating while you’re watching TV or doing other things. Take your time over your food. Try to sit up to a table where you can and put your cutlery down between mouthfuls. Pay attention to your food so you can savour the different flavours and textures. Tune-in to your appetite and listen to your hunger cues so that you eat when you’re actually hungry and stop when you’re satisfied.

It’s no good beating yourself up if you’ve overdone it at a meal out or a party, that’ll just lead to more over-eating. Instead draw a line and get back on track the next day. If you really listen to your appetite after over-doing it, hopefully you’ll notice that you don’t need to eat as much for a few days so it will all balance out. Learning to eat more intuitively takes practice, but it makes a big difference long-term.

5 – Remember Christmas is only one day!

Even if you start the day with chocolate for breakfast. Then you have mince pies between every meal and drink way too much… don’t panic! It’s just one day, draw that line and move on.

Even if it’s been a few weeks or even longer and you’ve just been eating way more than normal, remember the bigger picture. The sooner you can get back on track to your normal eating habits the sooner things will even out.

You can help things by asking yourself how you could balance it out – without guilt-tripping yourself of course. Maybe you could try to do more exercise than you normally do this time of year. Pay more attention to your portion sizes and ask yourself if you really need that much. Remember if you really listen to your appetite then you won’t feel as hungry after a few days of over-doing it.

At the end of the day, it’s all about what you do MOST of the time.

We can all end up putting on a few pounds over the festive season, but that doesn’t mean that they have to stay put – if you get back into your normal routine as soon as possible your weight will go back down again. No big deal. You’re not a failure for putting on a bit of weight, only human.

The most important thing is to avoid that dieting mentality of thinking you’ll just ‘go on a diet’ in January – that is never going to help, trust me.

Need help to ditch dieting forever? Want to eat normally again AND lose weight healthily ..? While still enjoying the cake & chocolate? Hell yes!

I can help you ditch dieting forever, either with my 1-2-1 support. Or if you prefer to work independently, you can learn all the skills I teach my 1-2-1 clients, on my ‘No More Diets’ online course.

My Weekly Round-up! AKA; what I’ve been up to recently…

  • English Breakfast is the tea of the week this week – I especially love the little green tin I keep it in. I found it on Etsy, it’s covered in gold teapots – love a good teapot!
  • The killer ear-ache and sore throat has gone from last week thankfully. Although I still haven’t got back into exercising as I was trying to rest and now I’m behind on some work I meant to get sorted before schools break up for the holidays!
  • We did manage to get out for a walk along the brook at the weekend. I kept seeing bullfinches, both males and females! I don’t see them often so that was a bit of a treat, they’re always bigger than I expect!
  • At the end of last week I did a guest expert session in the Facebook group of one of my biz buddies. I shared my 3 reasons why you need to ditch dieting and what to do instead. You can check it out by joining her group here. Then go to the event page here and click on the video at the top. I need to do more of these sessions so get in touch if you know of a group that might like me to do a talk.
  • I know I’m massively late to the party, but I started watching Downton Abbey finally! I’m hooked! I can’t stop watching it, the buildings are amazing and Maggie Smith’s character makes me laugh. I love the costumes too, but not sure I’d like to be dressed 3 times a day like they used to be! Although having a personal hairdresser would be nice…

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