Ate too much over Christmas? A dietitian offers health and nutrition tips to get your weight under control in the New Year.
With hectic end-of-year work deadlines and non-stop socialising, healthy eating can easily fall by the wayside as we adopt an eat-on-the-run December policy.
Shame then that by the time you arrive at your summer beach holiday, a pesky little bulge or disgruntled belly might be making itself known.
Get over it
A little bit of self-love can go a long way when recovering from a binge.
“Don’t beat yourself up if you feel you ate more than you should have or gained a few kilos over Christmas,” Gawthorne says. “This will create stress within your body and can lead to emotional eating.”
You can’t change the past, so Gawthorne suggests focusing on the fun memories you created.
“Think of it as a time you enjoyed food and fun times with family and friends,” she says. “Now it’s time to re-focus your mindset and form new healthy habits.”
Ditch empty calories
Consider the nutritional value of everything you’re putting in your mouth, and as accredited practising dietitian Kate Di Prima told 9Coach, find two good reasons to eat it.
“Even if it’s a bit of chocolate, you might say, ‘It’s going to give me some endorphins’ and ‘It’s going to taste absolutely beautiful’,” Di Prima says.
“Or if you are having a coffee, you might say, ‘It’s a calcium-rich dairy food so it’s good for my bones, and it’s got protein, which will sustain me, and the caffeine will get me through my meeting this morning.'”
Gawthorne says ultimately you want to reduce your consumption of empty calories as much as possible.
“‘Empty calories’ refers to foods that are high in calories but are low in essential nutrients and have little or no nutritional value,” Gawthorne explains.
“These foods are often heavily processed with many additives that we don’t require in our diets.”
We’re looking at you: soft drink, alcohol, cordial, energy drinks, biscuits, sweets, pastries, processed meats and deep-fried takeaway foods.
Go the long haul
Make 2022 the year that you forget about fads and fasts and make healthy eating a simple, non-negotiable part of your life.
“Instead of going on another juice cleanse or fad diet, make simple, healthy changes that you will be able to sustain,” Gawthorne says.
“That might mean something like reducing your portion sizes at dinner.”
A beach walk, bush hike or surfboard paddle on your Christmas holiday will not just help shift excess weight but will also clear your head to help you make better food choices.
“Exercise is essential for weight loss and health,” Gawthorne says.
“For weight loss, you should be exercising daily.”
Share your leftovers
If your kitchen cupboards are brimming with leftover chocolate and shortbread, then re-gift them or send them home with your visitors.
“There is no point keeping foods that are going to provide no nutritional benefit to you and will simply make your weight loss efforts more difficult,” Gawthorne says.
“If you were gifted soft drink, alcohol, chocolate or biscuits that are too tempting to keep in the house, give them away or throw them out.”
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