Weight loss tips – how to avoid gaining weight during the holidays

Did you know that the average person gains 5 pounds over the festive period? According to Dr Áine O’Connor, a nutrition scientist from the British Nutrition Foundation, this is because we “tend to increase our calorie intake by about 500 calories per day over and above the 2,500 recommended daily calories for men and 2,000 for women.” Combine this with all that time spent watching Christmas TV from the comfort of the sofa and you’ve got the perfect recipe for weight gain. It’s no wonder that the most popular New Year’s resolution in the UK last year was to lose weight. So, if you want to avoid the dreary diet trap this year, just follow the 5 simple tips for sustained weight loss below.

1) Eat before parties

It’s extremely tempting to start nibbling on calorie-laden food at parties, particularly when you’re enjoying your favourite tipple. The trick is to fill up before you go, especially on high fibre snacks or foods packed with healthy fats (such as avocado), as these provide a prolonged feeling of fullness. Enjoy plenty of nuts and seeds, perhaps in a homemade trail mix prepared from a selection of chia seeds, hemp seeds and almonds combined with vibrant goji berries and fat-busting raw cacao nibs. The great thing about trail mix is that you can even bag it up and bring it with you in case hunger strikes while you’re out having fun. Drink plenty of water too – a recent study by scientists at Virginia Tech found that people who drank two cups of water before every meal lost an average of 15.5 pounds, compared to just 11 pounds for those who didn’t. If you feel suitably satiated you’ll be far less attracted to fattening canapés and weight loss will be a doddle.

2) Avoid the foods that you don’t really like

It might sound obvious, but weight loss is easy when you start to cut out foods that you’re eating purely because they’re there on your plate. With every festive meal, there’s bound to be at least one high calorie item that you don’t particularly enjoy, such as the cranberry sauce routinely served with your turkey or the obligatory brandy butter drizzled generously over your Christmas pudding. Ditch the foods that you don’t like and save the calories for the ones you really love.

3) Drink less alcohol

One large glass of wine contains a whopping 185 calories, whilst just a single measure of spirits contains as much as 55…and that’s before you’ve even added a standard mixer, brimming with refined sugars. Beer is even worse – there are approximately 200 calories swimming in the average pint, the same number as in a regular mince pie. Unfortunately drinking alcohol can make you eat more than you would normally too. Sian Porter, consultant dietician and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, warns that “alcohol lowers your blood sugar, making you hungry. The more you drink the more your desire to eat may increase, and the less likely you are to eat sensibly.”

So, cut down on the amount you drink this year by alternating alcoholic drinks with a fruit juice or adding sparkling water to white wine for a refreshing spritzer. And keep an eye on your glass, to make sure that a well-meaning host doesn’t repeatedly top it up while you’re not looking. By reducing your alcohol intake, you’ll not only benefit from significant weight loss, you’ll also suffer fewer hangovers!

4) Enjoy a brisk walk after heavy meals

When it’s bitterly cold outside, it can be difficult to tear yourself away from the warmth of your open fire or cosy central heating, especially when there’s so much on television. But enjoying a family walk after a heavy lunch isn’t only a great route to weight loss and an effective aid to digestion, it’s also an excellent opportunity to spend some quality time with your loved ones. And after all, isn’t that what the holiday season is really all about? So, wrap up warm and take your friends and family for an invigorating breath of fresh air – just 30 minutes of brisk walking will help you to shed a considerable 200 calories.

5) Swap traditional treats for healthy snacks

The average person consumes a staggering 6,000 calories on Christmas day alone, which is 3 times more than a woman’s recommended daily intake. To guarantee that you benefit from some substantial weight loss this year, try replacing fattening crisps and snacks with healthier products, such as crunchy kale or banana chips, sweet mulberries and colourful Incan berries. And if you can’t quite imagine Christmas without a large tin of your favourite chocolates to hand, remember this – one single chocolate can contain up to 50 calories! To avoid going without this holiday season, swap refined chocolate with wickedly tempting home made raw chocolate instead, or choose from the vast selection of indulgent ready-made raw chocolate bars now available. Raw chocolate not only tastes utterly delicious, its high chromium content has been directly linked to weight loss too.

When applied wisely, these 5 weight loss tips should help you to achieve your weight loss goals, not just over the festive period, but also for the entire year.

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