Christmas can prove to be an extremely challenging time for people watching their weight. No matter whether you’re following the Cambridge Weight Plan or just trying to look after your health, when things get festive we tend to lose our willpower.
Did you know? South Africans can potentially consume around 5000 calories on Christmas Day. That’s a feast-load of calories! Remember, it’s not only the Christmas turkey and all its trimmings that we scoff down for lunch or dinner. It’s also the chocolates, mince pies, crisps, alcohol, sugary drinks, rich sauces and other calorie-laden treats which pile on the kilos.
What makes matters worse is festive binging usually becomes the norm throughout December because of all the year-end parties and pre-Christmas events. How do people watching their weight make it through all the festive feasts without gaining it all back?
In this story we get practical tips and advice from the experts at Cambridge Weight Plan, which means you get to enjoy the festive season without missing out on some of your favourite Christmas foods.
Change your steps
The first thing you can do if you are following the steps on our weight-loss plan is combine the CWP meals with other meals. For example, if you’re on Step 3 with a 400-calorie dinner you can use this calorie allowance on your Christmas meal. If you are on Step 1 or 2, you can change to a higher step for a short period to enjoy some festive food over the holidays.
So, you eat CWP meals and snacks for part of each day, then enjoy a festive meal while you are celebrating. Remember to drink loads of water or for special occasions enjoy some sparkling water enhanced with the CWP water flavours.
Tips when out shopping for the feast
- Plan your Christmas meals so that you only buy what you need. We often over-estimate how much we’ll eat and drink then end up with too much.
- Shop online to avoid impulsively purchasing unhealthy foods which tempt you in the supermarket isles.
- Carefully check the labels when you are buying ready-made festive foods. Pick the meals which are healthier and have lower-calories.
- Buy the cakes, chocolates and nuts for your family only a day or two before the big Christmas meal. This way, you won’t end up eating them in a moment of weakness before Christmas arrives.
Tips when cooking the festive feast
- When you’re preparing the Christmas meal, follow the Cambridge guidelines. Use spray oil instead of olive oil or butter when roasting the turkey and vegetables.
- Steam or boil your green vegetables and flavour them with herbs instead of butter.
- Make your own sweet sauces like cranberry and apple sauce with the fresh fruits. Use orange juice and minimal sugar to sweeten.
- Make the stuffing for the turkey with lean low-fat pork sausage meat and mix with onion, garlic, herbs and spices. Or make a vegetarian stuffing using some cooked quinoa or brown rice with finely diced mushrooms, onions and herbs. Bind with a beaten egg.
- Replace rich dessert sauces like brandy butter, pouring or whipped cream with plain fat-free yoghurt, reduced-fat crème fraiche or a reduced-fat cream.
- Instead of placing bowls of chocolates on the table rather serve a bowl of fresh festive fruits.
- Don’t forget to cut all visible fat off the meats which includes removing the skin from the turkey and chicken.
Tips for the Christmas party
- Before the big festive party, eat something light and healthy which works with your Cambridge Plan. This will fill you up and you’ll feel less hungry at the Christmas meal.
- Choose the healthy raw vegetable platters with dips instead of eating all the chips and pastries.
- If there’s a buffet, choose lean fish and meat, vegetables and salads rather than the fatty, creamy dishes.
- Eat your food slowly, chewing every bite. Savour it and it’ll take your mind off going back for seconds.
- At this time there are just so many desserts so there is no getting around all those calories. Don’t deprive yourself altogether because that can often lead to binging. Rather have a small portion and savour it.
Diet and lifestyle tips
- Keep with your usual portion sizes and don’t use the excuse that you’ll eat more ‘because it’s Christmas’.
- If you’re going to eat a big dinner in the evening, have a light lunch and vice versa.
- Be aware of the ‘empty calories’ in drinks, snacks, sauces, etc as they sneak up on you and add up quickly.
- Following the Cambridge Weight Plan means being healthy so do try keep fit and get into the swing of physical activities like walking, cycling, gardening, spring cleaning or going to the gym while you are on your Christmas break.
Tips to drink by. Cheers!
- It’s Christmas so of course you should treat yourself to a festive drink but be calorie-smart and make it a long white wine spritzer using a dry wine rather than a sugary cocktail.
- Don’t drink fruit juices and sugary soft drinks. They are loaded with calories and are unhealthy. Try sparkling mineral water or a diet Coke or Sprite.
- Beers and ciders are loaded with calories so try avoiding them altogether.
Don’t worry be merry
If, after trying hard to keep the weight off, you still gain a few kilos, don’t despair. Once the holidays are over and you’re back into your usual work routine you will soon get back on track with your steps on the Cambridge Weight Plan. Contact the Cambridge Weight Plan Centre where our consultants will be very pleased to assist you.
If you are a #CWPNewbie, we hope these tips will help keep you strong. And don’t forget you have an awesome #CWPFamily on Facebook, and Instagram who are always willing to lend you some of their handy tips and an extra dose of moral support.
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