We all like to rest and relax and indulge on our favourite foods over Christmas but the problem is that the sugary foods and drinks we consume over Christmas are addictive and most people find it harder than anticipated to go back to a healthier lifestyle come January.
I find that answer is not to deprive ourselves entirely, but to eat smart and really focus on keeping blood sugar balanced( body fuel) which will boost your energy and increase your weight loss. This way of eating can be applied just as easily to the festive season as to any other time of year – limiting the damage you do to your waistline over Christmas.
My 10 top tips that will really help you
1. Always start your day with a protein and fibre rich breakfast. It will help you lose weight and curb your appetite, avoiding the sugar highs and lows of a coffee and a slice of white toast with butter and jam(no protein) or even skipping breakfast altogether.
My favourite options are two eggs (protein) with one piece of wholegrain rye toast or a bowl of porridge with a tablespoon of milled chia seeds (lots of protein here) or our favourite family breakfast of Healthy Pancakes (see recipe).
In addition to this I would initially start my day with a tablespoon of cider vinegar with 200ml of warm water to supercharge my digestive system and to keep me really healthy and I would have this about 5 minutes before I eat my breakfast. If you do not have cider vinegar you could add the juice of ½ lemon to 200ml of warm water
2. Avoid sugary, starchy carbohydrates as much as possible or at least cut down on them but choose unrefined carbohydrates such as whole grains and fresh fruit and vegetables instead and make your own healthy snacks or buy from your local market/health shop.
3. Eat regular meals (three meals a day plus two snacks in between) to keep your blood sugar balanced and avoid hunger pangs that lead to being tempted by sugar/fat loaded treats.
4. Always eat protein and carbohydrates together. Carbohydrates are quickly broken down into sugar, whereas protein is digested much more slowly. By eating the two together, the protein helps to slow the release of sugar from the carbohydrates into the bloodstream, making you feel fuller for longer.
5. Fibre intake is very low in processed foods and in many people’s diets so make sure to load up on fibre rich foods such as oats, spelt flakes(wheat free), brown rice and lots of fruit and vegetables that are in season.
6. Wait 20 minutes before dessert as this will allow your internal appetite gauge to kick in and let you know that you are really full!
7. Keep up your exercise as much as possible but certainly don’t give up totally on your exercise during the festive season. Eating immediately after exercise will help your body burns it off straight away
8. Limit your juice intake. More and more evidence is linking regular consumption of both sweetened soft drinks and even ‘natural’ fruit juices with increased weight gain and diabetes risk. The best fruit to eat, and drink, are those high in a type of sugar called xylose, which means berries, cherries and plums. For alcohol, choose the driest drinks – for example, a dry red or white wine or Champagne..
9. Check out these lovely recipes here from leading Nutritionist Patrick Holford – including Christmas pudding, cranberry sauce, mulled wine and mince pies– delicious!
https://www.patrickholford.com/advice/no-sugar- santa-i- want-sugar- free-xmas
10. Get sufficient sleep also as lack of sleep can lead to cravings for the wrong types of foods (bad fats and sugar !!)