The festive season is fast approaching and it´s a time that is often complicated for people trying to watch their weight or those on a diet. Many struggle with the question: ¨how can we avoid holiday weight gain during this time of the year?¨. Our beloved Maria José Moreno, Head of Nutrition at the Hotel Los Monteros Spa & Golf Resort 5* near Marbella has put together some tips for not gaining (too much) weight at Christmas and to start the new year ´intact´ and without these extra kilos!
It is typically a time of year full of family meals, work parties, dinners and drinks out with friends. General over indulgence takes over whilst good intentions and calorie counting are flung out of the window for a couple of weeks.
The reality is that you do not have to spend the holidays making huge sacrifices to avoid holiday weight gain. A smart combination of food, and some other little tricks, will help your waist line without having to go to too much effort.
So that the Christmas holidays do not become a good excuse to go off the rails but rather allow you to continue with a healthy routine, diet and sensible weight, specialists advise you to plan a series of strategies and tricks in advance, so you are better prepared to confront the “dangers” that are heading your way.
None of these tricks are “miraculous”, there are no magic wands, just small tips and common sense we sometimes need to be reminded of if we want to avoid holiday weight gain over the festivities.
10 Ways to avoid holiday weight gain:
- Keep up with your regular physical activity. And of course, don´t forget at all these parties that dancing is a great form of exercise!!
- Beware of excesses: the problem is not overindulging on Christmas Day, the problem comes when we overindulge for 2 weeks back to back over the whole festive season!
- Don´t leave home on an empty stomach and avoid arriving to a big meal on an empty stomach. One of the most common mistakes people make is to “save up” for dinners or special meals, eating the minimum during the rest of the day. It’s not a good idea. If you turn up for Christmas lunch or dinner absolutely starving, you will most likely end up eating a lot more than you should.
- Do not snack between meals.
- Be selective: it is best to focus on the main dish, take less of the rest and be particularly careful with starters and desserts, which tend to be the most dangerous parts of the meals and which, generally, have more calories.
- Plan, try to work out your menu and stick to it. Vegetables and oven based dishes (as opposed to fried etc) are the safest.
- Decline “Tupperware”. There is always food leftover at Christmas and it often ends up being divided up and shared out amongst the family so you can do it all again the next day. If you do not want to gain weight at Christmas it is best not to join in with the Tupperware offerings and instead try and eat sensibly the next day.
- Eat sensibly on the days “off” between dinners and parties. Stick to vegetables, salads, meat and grilled fish. If you are strict in this sense, even if you overdo it with the big festive meals, not only will you maintain your weight, perhaps you will even lose a few kilos.
- Go easy on the drinks (alcoholic drinks, cocktails and digestive liquors … are packed full of calories). Soft drinks are also to be avoided. It’s okay to have a couple of glasses of wine and a couple of cava, but if you’ve been out for beers or cocktails beforehand, for sure you will have a great time, but it will be impossible not to gain weight. No one said that watching your weight at Christmas was easy!!
- Limit sweets and desserts. We are not saying not to have a chocolate or a slice of cake but try and avoid stealing a Quality Street every time you walk passed the tin.
And to finish off, we should take the following into account:
- “Sugar free” does not mean “calorie free”, as many people think.
- “Made with fructose” or “Suitable for diabetics”: Most Christmas sweets contain sucrose or sugar, both of which are restricted for diabetics. However, there are products that substitute sucrose for fructose, which does not alter the level of blood glucose so much. You should know that fructose has the same number of calories as ordinary sugar, so you have to control its consumption. Maltitol, another sweetener, is less caloric.
- Animal or vegetable fat: Animals fats are saturated, less healthy and should be avoided, particularly by those with high cholesterol. Unsaturated fats, such as that from olive oil is not as bad for you but still has plenty of calories. Always check the ingredients.
Another possibility to avoid holiday weight gain is going on a weight loss holiday over Christmas!
Find all our weight loss programs here: http://www.spa-in-spain.com/what-suits-me/theme/slimming-holidays/
For more information about Hotel Los Monteros and their weight loss programs, click here: http://www.spa-in-spain.com/hotels-and-spas/hotel/los-monteros-hotel-spa/