Expert advice: Festive survival guide

WHILE it is great to unwind and enjoy some time off over the festive period, if you have spent time losing weight recently you don’t need to throw everything away for one week.

WHILE it is great to unwind and enjoy some time off over the festive period, if you have spent time losing weight recently you don’t need to throw everything away for one week. The average Britain puts on an average of 11lb over the Christmas period – it is a whole lot easier to put weight on that to lose it!

During the holiday season, people will struggle to stick to a diet or exercise as much as they usually do. But what I also realise is that people don’t want to look and feel bad at Christmas. It is actually the time of year when you see people you haven’t seen all year. So surely you want to look and feel at your best?

That said, I am not recommending you give up the booze and lay off the mince pies altogether. Christmas and New Year is the time of year when damage limitation is key. Here are some tips to help you stay on track:

1. Curb your appetite. Drink water before every meal. Your brain can mistake dehydration for hunger. Drink 1 litre of water for every 50lb you weigh per day. Make sure you have a 2ltr bottle of water in your fridge that you must finish by the end of each day.

2. Plan your meals. Take some time to plan meals in advance, that way you are less likely to reach for the mince pies and sweet tin in place of a good meal.

3. Slow down. Eat slower and taste your food. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to recognise how much is in your stomach.

4. Set goals for over the holidays. Read them first thing in the morning, throughout the day and before bed. Share these goals with somebody.

5. Don’t go anywhere hungry. Arrive at any parties having already eaten something healthy. That way you won’t be too prone to digging into high-calorie party foods.

6. Decide how many drinks you are going to have before the party. Choose light and clear alcohol over dark, and alternate between an alcohol beverage and water.

7. Exercise on days you eat a holiday meal. Aim to exercise before a big meal. After exercise our bodies are more sensitive to insulin, which will help prevent the body storing all the excess calories as fat.

I’m quite strict when it comes to telling clients and boot camper members what to do to get fit and lose weight quickly, but in this case, damage limitation is key!

Download your free Holidays Survival Guide at www.healthiernorthumberland.co.uk

:: Dean Coulson is a health coach at www.assert-fitness.co.uk

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