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Happy Healthful Christmas

Friday, December 18, 2015


Studies have shown that 50% of the annual weight-gain is most likely to be gained in the six weeks between mid-November and Christmas day. This six week eat-a-thon culminates in the day’s festivities itself where anything from 3000 – 6000 calories can be consumed in just one meal (that’s at least three times the daily guideline amount of calories for a female).Obviously no one wants to put a Scrooge-like downer on the festivities but is the price we pay for stuffing our faces worth the pain in January when we feel bloated, overweight, tired and ill from all the over indulgence?

  1. Remember Christmas is just one day – overeating on Christmas day is just what we do! It’s going to happen. In fact, our ancestors probably ate this way. At times of feast and festival people ate what was there an available in times of plenty which probably meant overeating at times. However, at other times food of course could be very scarce. The trouble is with modern eating in Western Countries (and fast becoming a world issue – there are more obese people in the world currently than starving people) is that we are surrounded by food every day, all the time. So overeating at Christmas without there being a counterbalance to that means that the famine never comes and we are constantly on feast mode. I don’t approve of diets (just eat real food in a normal way) but there may be value in a 5:2 type regime. Five to is the concept of having semi-fast days on two days a week (Dr Michael Mosely highlighted the research in a TV documentary on the subject). There are many variations on this way of eating. Even taking one day’s “fast” (a lighter day) could be beneficial or eating within an 8 to 10 hour window is said to work better with our release of blood sugar balancing hormones and other “hunger” hormones (ghrelin and leptin).
  1. British psyche? I am going out on a limb here because I don’t know this, but is going completely mad with our food and drink something to do with our national characteristic? We are working hard all year round. We put in some of the longest hours in Europe – but Christmas time is a time when we can let our hair down – and we do! Once the demon drink is in the picture all self control can disappear quicker than a half of Baileys. Again, drinking too much is going to happen on Christmas day but it’s the rest of the Christmas period where we don’t have to go quite so potty. Moderating how much we drink leading up to Christmas is one way to limit that price we have to pay in January for over indulging all throughout the holiday season.
  1. Just eat a totally normally big “Sunday” like roast on Christmas day and enjoy it – don’t feel guilty but don’t let the festivities last until 4th Jan and go back to work feeling rubbish. Get outside for walks, move! See Christmas as just a blip and then get back to your routine as quickly as possible.
  1. Bonus Tip: Don’t make any New Year’s healthy resolutions for January do them for the Chinese New Year which gives you a little extra time to actually mean it!

Happy and Healthful Christmas!

About the Author

Kate Cook is a Corporate Wellness Expert specialising in Nutrition for Optimum Performance.

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