The festive season is easily one of the most indulgent times of the year for many Australians.
After a hard year, many are tempted to give up on their weight loss goals and blow out the diet in favor of scrumptious food, exquisite cocktails, naughty snacks and chocolates.
According to a clinical nutritionist and food scientist Dr. Vincent, founder of Renovatio Bioscience, producer of the highly popular range of Activated Phenolics supplements and APSKIN skincare products, there are some practical ways to keep your waistline in check.
“The good news is, you can get through Christmas and keep your diet intact, you just have to make some different choices with your eating and drinking habits this year,” Dr. Vincent said.
“The even better news is that you can still indulge and have a lot of fun while sticking to your diet. I’ve put some tips together to help with the process.”
Keep moving and find ways to exercise
“If you’ve been diligent throughout the year in keeping your fitness up, now is not the time to give up. Keep moving. Ensure you keep up your fitness regime. Look for other ways to add movement to your schedule to allow for increased consumption of food and beverages.
If you are driving to the shops or going to parties, ensure you park or get dropped off a reasonable distance from the front door so you have to walk for a bit.
“If you are attending a function and you have the option of a lift or stairs, take the stairs. If you are attending a party or event, don’t sit down the whole time, get up and walk around.”
Drink plenty of water before you eat
“Water is not only good for us, but it also fills us up,” Dr. Vincent said.
“Drink a lot of water before you go out and drink water in between beverages while out. Carbonated soda water or mineral water is even better as the bubbles fill you up faster.”
Handle buffets and big spreads wisely
“A common pitfall is the buffet. Undeniably, there is a huge temptation to go all out when it comes to a buffet! Limit the number of choices on your plate, and what I mean by that, is to keep to fewer, but smarter choices of food on your plate.”
“The more choices you’re faced with, the more you will eat,” said Dr. Vincent.
“And it’s not just the buffets but also the big lunches and the big dinners that we get invited to. Keep the above tips in mind before you start.
“If there is a selection of plate sizes, opt for the smaller one. Allow yourself to go to the buffet once per course. Avoid foods that are high in carbs, creamy sauces and sugary dressings.”
“Don’t sit near the buffet as this will increase the temptation to keep going back for more.”
A distracted eater will eat more. Mindful eating is a way to keep track of your food intake.
“When distracted, you’re less likely to know your own body’s signals that you’re full. Eat slowly and select foods that are more challenging to eat. This tends to slow you down.”
“Engage in conversation with someone while you are eating as this also slows your eating down as well because you should not eat and talk at the same time.”
Keep nutrition at the forefront
Meals during the festive season tend to be heavy on carbs but low in protein.
The dessert part of the meal is an example. Excessive sugar intake is one of the surest paths to weight gain. To offset this, it’s important to include protein and fiber in the main meal.
“Eating protein automatically reduces your calorie intake,” Dr. Vincent said.
“It’s good for weight loss as it increases your metabolism. Once you’ve made some good nutritional choices for the bulk of your meal, you’ll be in a better place to move on to sweets.”
“The best way to tackle this is just to focus on one or two favorites and then stop. Remember my tip on mindful eating? If you’ve got a sweet tooth, now’s the time to be really mindful.”
“Take your time to savor it. You will end up enjoying it more, especially if it lasts longer.”
A word of caution on beverages
For many Australians, the consumption of alcoholic beverages is just part of the festivities.
“Alcoholic drinks and other drinks such as carbonated beverages contain a lot of sugar.”
“This leads to empty calories and weight gain. An easy way to avoid too many drinks is to volunteer to be the designated driver,” Dr. Vincent explained.
“There are 4 ways that alcohol leads to weight gain. It stops the body from burning fat.”
“It’s high in calories. Thirdly, when you drink these beverages, you feel less satiated, meaning that you don’t feel as full. And lastly, they can lead to you making poorer food choices.”
Add supplements to keep up your energy
“The festive season can be grueling,” Dr. Vincent emphasized.
“We can become tired and irritable very quickly, leading to bad food and drink choices. Also, when we are tired, we move less and stop exercising.”
“This is the worst thing we can do for ourselves especially when we are trying to get through the festive season without abandoning our weight loss goals.”
“It is important to keep up our energy and support our health and well-being.”
“Ensuring our body is getting enough sleep and nutrients is important. I recommend adding supplements such as fish oil and activated phenolics to the daily diet.”
“Activated phenolics are powerful antioxidants that provide cellular protection against free radicals in the body. They resist pro-oxidation and our research shows that they may contribute to the protection of degenerative, digestive and inflammatory conditions.”
“This is important when it comes to our overall health and wellbeing.”