How to avoid gaining weight over Christmas

Publish Date
Wednesday, 14 December 2016, 3:05PM
Photo / Getty Images

Photo / Getty Images

With endless rounds of parties, alcohol, heavy meals and sweet treats on offer, it's easy to overindulge at Christmas.

We all know the drill: eat and be merry over the festive season and then do a January detox.

But what if you could have fun over Christmas without putting on half a stone? Experts say you can - and they've shared pre-Christmas detox tips you can try to ensure you don't enter the New Year a stone heavier.

Have a good breakfast

Dr Sohère Roked, Women's Health and Hormone Specialist at Omniya Mediclinic, Knightsbridge, says it's essential to try and keep some part of your normal routine going.

If you always get up and go to the gym, why can't you continue that most days over Christmas? If you juice every morning, why can't you keep doing that?

At a bare minimum, try and start your day with a good breakfast which is full of protein, this will give your body a good start to the day, keep you fuller for longer and may help with cravings.

It'll be a weight off your mind (and waist!) to know you've done something healthy for yourself that day and you won't feel bad when tucking into the chocolate orange.

Most people end up drinking every night and not getting any sleep for most of December due to all the socialising. Take one or two nights off a week and get an early night. This will stop your adrenal glands going into overdrive and producing lots of cortisol and that, in turn, makes you crave sugary and salty foods more.

Eat more vegetables

Shona Wilkinson, nutritionist at, advises having a lighter Christmas dinner by filling at least half your plate with vegetables before adding anything else. And no, this doesn't include roast potatoes!

Green vegetables are excellent as they are low in calories and high in fibre, vitamins and minerals.

If you're the one doing the cooking, prepare several vegetable side dishes and look for recipes to make them more interesting - for example sauté Brussels sprouts with garlic, olive oil and lemon juice.

Drink plenty of water

Drink at least one and a half litres of water every day to support healthy detoxification. Try to have a glass of water between each alcoholic drink too: it can slow down your drinking and help prevent overeating. And your body will definitely thank you the next day.

Get some exercise

Try to fit in some exercise as often as you can over the festive season, even if it's just a brisk walk for half an hour. This will get your metabolism going, lift your energy and mood and help you feel less sluggish.

Give your digestion a break

On the days when you are not having a celebration meal, prepare lighter meals such as a big salad or a vegetable and bean soup. Try to avoid alcohol on these days too. This will give your digestive system and liver a break and allow you to recharge for the next round of festivities!

Get plenty of fibre

Fibre supports healthy intestinal transit and good bowel movements, which are vital to stop you feeling bunged up and bloated. Fibre is found in vegetables, fruit, healthy whole grains and beans - but overdoing the party foods can leave you lacking. If you need extra help, try a daily fibre supplement to keep things moving.

Take a digestive enzyme supplement

If you suffer digestive problems such as bloating, pain or diarrhoea after eating dairy foods (milk, cheese, cream or yoghurt) you could need extra support with digesting lactose. Try a digestive enzyme supplement containing the enzyme lactase, which helps to break down the lactose.

Never arrive hungry

If you're about to tuck into a Boxing Day buffet it's easy to assume eating nothing beforehand will counteract the amount of calories you're about to consume. Actually, this isn't the case, for arriving hungry will only encourage you to consume more calories. Have something healthy to eat before arriving; this could be a piece of fruit or a small sandwich to ensure you aren't overly hungry.

When you begin to fill your plate, remember that two thirds should come from whole grains and fruits and vegetables, the remaining third can include sauces, meat, high calorie and high fat foods. Using a smaller plate is also beneficial for discouraging you from piling it up.

Everything in moderation!

There's no way around it: if you want to avoid gaining weight or feeling terrible post-Christmas, you need to stick to this golden rule! This doesn't have to mean missing out, though. For example, if you have a large meal, just have a small slice of cake or a couple of chocolates rather than a large slice or half the box.

Read the full story on the NZ Herald.