The array of nibbles; delicious meats topped with gravies and sauces; plus the puddings, desserts and sweets…all so tantalising. Then there’s guilt of not tasting a dish that your nanna, mum, or Auntie Sue made.
For some people, the festive period can also be a time of extra pressure and anxiety – financial, family and relationships. These stressors may trigger bad eating habits and emotional eating.
Most people don’t lose the weight they gain over Christmas! Really
On average Aussies gain 0.8 to 1.5kg over the Christmas period. Although one or two kilos might not sound like much, researchers have found that weight gained over the holiday period is rarely lost.(1) This is particularly alarming considering a recent study showing the five greatest health concerns of Australian females.
A 2006 American study found that weight gained during the holiday seasons usually occurs around the middle of the body.(2)
Obesity has been linked to an increase risk of diabetes, heart disease and 13 cancers
Research over the last decade, has shown that increased body fat and toxic fat around the internal organs, increases your risk of 13 cancers as well as other chronic diseases.(3) Weight gain in your middle area is also associated with an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.(4) So it’s important to avoid unhealthy weight gain, especially around your middle area.
10 tips to avoid weight gain over the festive season
It’s near impossible to stay home all through holiday season. But when you are out, there are some simple things you can do to eat more healthily and avoid weight gain.
1. Don’t go to a party hungry or thirsty. Make sure you drink plenty of water and eat something light first, so that you aren’t hungry and snack on too much party food when you get there.
2. Don’t try to lose weight over the festive season. Instead, aim to maintain your current weight.
3. Keep an eye on your portion sizes and the number of servings you have. Try using a smaller plate instead of a dinner plate so you eat less. If you have had a big lunch go easy on portions at dinner and before you go back for seconds wait 20 minutes.
4. Choose dishes that have more veggies, legumes, fruit and whole-grains, and make sure your plate is filled with veggies first. See our dietitian approved Sin Free lasagne recipe here.
5. If you are in charge of the cooking, choose lean cuts of meat and make low fat and sugar desserts. Try baking, grilling or steaming food where possible. Check out our healthy platter ideas.
6. Avoid sugary drinks like soft drinks, juices, energy drinks - they contribute the most added sugar to our diets(5) . Try some of the new flavour infused plain and sparkling waters or make you own flavoured infused water with a herbal tea bag and frozen grapes and strawberries. Too much sugar can lead to diabetes. Here are 7 signs you either have diabetes or may get it soon.
7. Limit how much alcohol you drink to 1 -2 standard drinks a day (zero is even better!). Watch your serving sizes and top ups. Restaurants often serve wine in glasses that are much bigger than the standard serve. Make sure you have a glass of plain or sparkling water in between each drink.
8. Avoid covering meats with rich sauces and desserts with cream.
9. Get plenty of sleep. When you are lacking sleep and running low on energy, you are more likely to reach for comfort foods like chips and chocolate. Not getting enough sleep right now? Get a better nights rest with these 10 sleeping tips.
10. Make time for physical activity or exercise each day – ideally at least 30 minutes each day.
Need help managing your weight and diet?
Inspiro’s University trained dietitians, can help you manage your weight and provide expert nutrition advice to enable you to be your best, healthy self.
We understand that everyone's nutrition and lifestyle needs are unique so we provide you with personalised real-world advice, professional support and the accountability you need to achieve your personal goals.
Our dietitians can help you understand nutrition information, provide practical easy-to-follow advice, help you feel healthier and happier and get more out of life. They can also connect you to other health experts at Inspiro, like exercise physiologists who can give you advice on exercises to suit your health needs and achieve your goals.
We also run Healthy Supermarket Tours where our dietitian will guide you make healthy food choices in a supermarket.
To make an appointment with one of our dietitians, call us on 9028 0153.
1. Foodsense. Consumer Reports on Health: Dodge holiday weight gain without missing the merriment. Dec 2002.
2. Hull H et al. The effect of the holiday season on body weight and composition in college students. Nutr Metab. 2006;3(44)
3. Cancer Council Victoria
4. Hull H et al. The effect of the holiday season on body weight and composition in college students. Nutr Metab. 2006;3(44)
5. Louie, J., Rangan, A., Patterns of added sugars intake by eating occasion among a nationally representative sample of Australians, Springer Journal, 2016: Heidelberg.
Weight gain after children can be very difficult to reverse, here's what to do.