January is the time of year when some of us will set a new years resolution, and it’s not uncommon for these goals of “lose weight” or “get fit” to be at the top of the list. So why is it, that only after a mere 6 months later, only around 8% of us will have managed to stick to those resolutions?
“Lose weight”, in itself, is a vague term. How much weight? How quickly? How am I going to achieve this? The way to success is to set yourself an achievable goal with tangible results. “I want to lose a pound a week, and my end goal is to lose half a stone. To do this, I’m going to cut down on the amount of fatty food I eat, and make sure I take a 20 minute walk around the town three times a week.” Avoiding overindulgence at Christmas will also put you in the right frame of mind to start 2015 off right- don’t set yourself up for failure by jumping on the scales after Christmas and berating yourself for the amount of mince pies you enjoyed, this is only going to make you feel worse! A positive attitude towards health and weight loss is important to ensure success.
Christmas weight is, in itself, no harder to lose than any other weight. In fact, research suggests that sudden weight gain (the average person gains around 2lb between November to January) is easier to lose than weight that has been put on gradually, over several years. So why do we tend to put on weight over Christmas? A lot of us indulge in the occasional treat every now and then, but at Christmas we tend to indulge in fatty foods more frequently than we do throughout the rest of the year. It’s not just the food we need to think about, but the amount of alcohol we consume over the festive season- a 250ml glass of red wine contains around 230 calories. A few pints of beer soon adds up to a significant calorific intake at 170 calories a pint.
So how can you help avoid piling on the pounds this Christmas? Start off by planning your meal and give nutrition a passing thought- why not purchase your fruit and vegetables from the market as close to Christmas day as possible? That way, they’ll stay fresh, and provided you don’t boil your Brussels sprouts into oblivion, will retain the majority of their nutrients. (Note for your diaries- the last farmer’s market in South Street is on 20th December so why not get your veggies then and support your local farmers? Website here) Turkey is a low-fat, high protein meat source so provided you can resist the temptation of the fatty skin on the outside, that won’t add inches to your waistline either. Delicious though it may be, drowning your booze-soaked Christmas pudding in brandy cream might just be an indulgence too far!
The traditional post-Christmas walk is also an excellent idea, and it might surprise you to know that this has a solid research backing. Even just a 15-minute walk after a meal can improve digestion, helping to avoid the dreaded post-Christmas-dinner-bloat, and it will also reduce spikes in your blood sugar levels, which is excellent if you are a diabetes sufferer. Heading out for a walk after Christmas dinner is also a great opportunity to bump into friends and neighbours and wish them a happy Christmas too!
Christmas walk suggestions courtesy of EmsworthWalks.org
Remember, always wear correct footwear when walking especially if icy underfoot!