Weight gain over the holiday period—some advice to get back on track post-Christmas

Weight gain

Most people can relate to increasing the link on their belt buckle when the New Year rolls around. On average people gain 0.8-1.5kg over the Christmas period. One to two kilograms might not sound like much but researchers have identified that weight gained over the holiday period is rarely lost.

An American study conducted in 2006 identified that the weight gained during holiday seasons usually occurs around the trunk. Weight gain in this area is associated with an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease

Here’s some advice to get back on track post-Christmas:

Don’t beat yourself up. The worst thing you can do right now is to tell yourself what a disgusting fat pig you are because you managed to build yourself a nest of Cadbury Favourites wrappers on Christmas Day. It’s okay to indulge once in a while, and what’s done is done — now focus on what you’re going to do next, instead of what you did.

Don’t punish yourself with an extreme diet. The second worst thing you can do is commit to only consuming steamed lettuce and lukewarm tea to make up for your Christmas binge. Extreme dieting usually ends in extreme bingeing. (Also: don’t go on any sort of detox plan.)

Ease back into a healthy eating routine ASAP. It’s easy to say “I’ll get my diet back on track after New Year’s Day”, or “I’ll get my diet back on track when I go back to work”, then just put it off indefinitely. Aim to get it back on track today — a good guideline is the 80:20 rule, where you try to eat well 80 percent of the time then go easy the other 20 percent.

Cut back your portion sizes. This is the easiest way to lose weight because you don’t have to change what you eat — you just eat a bit less of it. Stop eating your partner’s leftovers, cut yourself a slightly smaller slice of lasagne, or even order a regular Big Mac meal instead of a large. Gradually train your stomach to enjoy more manageable sizes, and you’ll consume fewer calories (and therefore start to lose weight) without even noticing.
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