Cropped image of man cutting roasted chicken at the Christmas family dinner

How to Control the Calories this Christmas (and into the New Year)

Let’s face it – strictly sticking to your new diet and shedding a ton of weight over the christmas break is probably not that realistic…

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to reside yourself to gorging on everything in sight and subsequently piling on the pounds.

Believe it or not, it is possible to keep the calories under control and maintain a healthy physique over the festive period and into the New Year.

Let’s take a look at a few ways how.

Replace these…

Christmas brings about many family traditions that you and your loved ones may not want to abandon. Thankfully, there are a few simple tweaks you can make without impacting the festivities.

  • Replace goose fat on potatoes and butter on veg for healthier, dairy-free alternatives such as olive oil or vegetable stock.
  • If you usually drink fizzy drinks or juices during the day, replace these with water or herbal teas.
  • You may even consider swapping out the meat for a vegetarian alternative, such as a nut roast. Although it may taste great, the saturated fat found in turkey and pigs in blankets is extremely calorie dense.
  • To satisfy your sweet tooth, replace any refined sugars with natural sugar sources such as fruit.

Reduce these…

As well as swapping out certain foods, you can also opt for reducing the quantity of unhealthy foods you consume. So you can still have your cake and eat it to some extent – just not as much…

  • Reduce the amount of butter, oils and sugary condiments you put on your dinner. The combination of high fat sources with concentrated sugars can increase fat storage and keep blood sugars elevated.
  • Reduce the amount of calorie dense snacks you’re eating throughout the day, such as bite sized chocolate bars and mince pies. They’re easy to eat, but quickly add up.

Increase these…

This article isn’t all about restriction and replacement. Here are a few things you should do more of.

  • Having a healthy, dense breakfast can reduce the likelihood that you’ll gorge during the rest of the day. A green smoothie is a quick, easy way to get a load of nutrients down you before the busy day ahead.  
  • Green tea is a great one for boosting the metabolism and reducing fat storage. Interestingly, hot drinks also expand the intestine to keep you fuller for longer.
  • Although it’s tempting to wolf down your dinner as fast as possible, chewing slowly will help your digestive system work properly, and will make you less likely to over eat.  
  • Get moving. Even if time is tight, you can squeeze in a tabata session and a few full-body strength workouts here and there to keep that metabolic fire burning. You can also endeavour to stay active throughout the day – perhaps suggesting a family walk as opposed to lounging in front of the TV.

All in all – just make wise decisions

Yes, for many people Christmas is indeed a time for celebration and relaxation. But that doesn’t have to stop you from being the person that you want to be.

Try to think of the big picture, as opposed to the short term rewards.

What will benefit you the most long term – having that extra cream with the mince pie, or giving it a miss? Downing four sugary cocktails, or having one glass of wine?

The actions that you take today determine your state of health in the future. So have fun, but don’t go crazy – both at christmas, and every other time of the year.