They don’t call it the “Silly Season” for nothing! Between mid November and the end of January, we celebrate so many things – wrapping up the year with school and work, partying to celebrate Christmas and the New Year, enjoying the summer holidays, catching up with family and friends, and for many of us, celebrating the privilege of being Australian near the end of January.
This means eating and drinking. It means copious treats and leftovers. It also often means foregoing our usual exercise routine. Hot humid weather can mean lazier days – nibbling more and moving less. Overall, it adds up to overindulging – and this inevitably leads to weight gain.
Christmas Weight Gain
We all joke about Christmas weight gain, but now science has proven it’s not just a cliché. Multiple studies throughout Europe, North America, and Australia have discovered that the average weight gain among adults between mid-November and mid-January is in the range of 0.5 kg. Some people don’t put on any weight, but many people put on a lot more!
Those people who are already overweight or obese gain more weight than those who usually maintain a healthy weight. And the six-to-eight week period of “party season” between late November and late-January is long enough to break good habits and entrench bad ones.
It’s no coincidence either that this happens over Christmas – even in Australia, where you’d expect that, being summer, we’d not be so vulnerable (being “Salad season” and all). But when researchers measured the average weight gain throughout the year, the Christmas and New Year change in weight was the major contributor to excess weight gain on an annual basis. This is true for children in Australia as well as adults.
While it’s easy to say, “Well, I’ll just lose the weight after” – in truth, it’s not so easy. It’s much easier to put weight on than to take it off. Even when you consider having liposculpture to regain a body shape you can be proud of, you need to understand that minimising weight gain from the outset is the key to great results.
7 Tips to Combat Christmas Weight Gain
You should absolutely embrace the delights of the festive season – including those gourmet treats. The key is in making sure you enjoy it all in moderation and don’t overindulge…
- SNACK WISELY: Christmas really delivers the goods when it comes to snacking – from dips, cheese, sweets, chocolate, nuts, leftovers, and more, it can be hard to resist – and it’s extremely difficult to keep track of just how much you’re eating. Keep non-healthy treats out of sight. Also, choose from the outset to prepare healthier options for Christmas dinner so you don’t feel too tempted to fill up on empty calories. For example, choose unsalted fresh nuts over salted roasted peanuts. Soft cheeses are lower in calories than hard cheese varieties.
- PORTION CONTROL: Those who eat larger portions tend to gain more weight than those who don’t. This makes sense – you’re taking in more calories. Weight gain happens when calories consumed are greater than your energy expended. Enjoy Christmas dinner – but don’t be tempted to eat copious amounts just because it’s there. Eat slowly and mindfully and savour every mouthful – you’ll eat less and enjoy it more.
- SLEEP: Sleep deprivation can cause weight gain. Lack of sleep can increase hunger hormone levels – resulting in the need for higher calorie intake. Sleep better by:
Avoiding eating too much or late in the evening
Avoid drinking too much alcohol
Avoid caffeine later in the day
Avoid digital devices within two hours of bedtime
Maintain a cool, dark room for sleeping
- PROTEIN: Holiday meals can often be high in carbohydrates and low in protein. Protein is important for insulin sensitivity and health, as well as feeling fuller for longer. Try incorporating protein into meals and always eat breakfast – try including healthy yoghurt, eggs, or rolled oats as your breakfast of choice.
- REDUCE TASTE TESTING: Avoid taking bites of holiday dishes during the preparation process! (This includes licking the bowl or beaters, too). Small “tasting” bites add up remarkably quickly in terms of calories. It’s still important to taste, but reduce the amount you indulge in.
- LIMIT NON-WATER DRINKS: Alcohol, soft drinks, and juices are often consumed more during the holiday season, and these are all high in their sugar content. This means high-calorie intake with only a couple of drinks.
Try drinking less alcohol
Alternate drinks with water (this is better for your hangover too).
Choose lower alcohol-content drinks (lower alcohol, fewer calories).
Choose soda water rather than a soft drink as a mixer
Make your own sugar-free iced tea
Drink plenty of fresh water throughout the day. A glass of water before meals will make you feel full faster
Avoid diet soft drinks – they are not particularly good for you and actually make you feel hungrier. Instead, try low-calorie alternatives like Kombucha.
- LIMIT DESSERTS: Focus on your favourite dessert instead of wanting some of everything. Eat a well-balanced meal before dessert to reduce the amount of dessert ultimately consumed. Don’t go back for seconds! Eat more slowly and you’ll feel more satisfied.
Don’t deny yourself – just eat mindfully and eat and drink in moderation. If you do overindulge, all is not lost! Don’t give up on the entire season – just be more mindful the next day. And when the sun goes down, go for a walk – you’ll feel great.
Visit Be Sculptured!
We can help you maintain or even improve your body this summer – in spite of the silly season! Dr Meaghan Heckenberg specialises in tumescent liposculpture, a minimally-invasive cosmetic surgery procedure that helps sculpt the body, removing smaller deposits of fat and reshaping any problem areas so that you look and feel your best.
Call now for a consultation and greet 2020 with your very best body! Contact our team.