It’s fair to say that Christmas is the arch enemy of dieters worldwide.

In the UK, the season “to be jolly” kicks off almost immediately after the kids go back to school in September. The dreaded sight of mince pies overtaking our supermarket shelves and the onslaught of Christmas cards swiftly followed by the influx of everything sparkly is just too much to bear so early in the proceedings.

Mince pies in abundance are just the tip of the iceberg; by the time November arrives, the shops are filled with enough processed festive crap that it makes me queasy just thinking about it!

Since when did it become okay to eat and drink ourselves into oblivion just because Jesus is born. He’s been born every year for thousands of years, we know his birthday is coming, year in, year out and yet the average person will pile on a fair amount of weight, routinely. “What’s wrong with that?” I hear you ask. Well, before I start getting accused of killing the Christmas spirit, let me give you some facts.

It’s estimated that on Christmas Day we can over indulge to the tune of anything between 4000 -6000 calories! We only need to consume approximately 2000 calories so you do the maths. The average person will put on approximately 7lbs over Christmas and New Year. This may not sound like much but for many, putting on weight every year at Christmas, means the cumulative effect can go on for years. Before you know it, three years down the road, you’re 3 stone heavier!

Here’s an example. Let’s consider the sedentary office worker. You are in the most danger. Being surrounded by well-meaning colleagues who think it’s ok to over feed anyone with a pulse. Unfortunately, the office culture of biscuits, cakes and chocolate being banded around as if lives depended on it, is a year- long affair. I know what you’re thinking. “I feel rude saying no” or “I just can’t resist a Battenberg” or “Sangeeta’s onion bhaajis are the bomb!” *Shaking my head in dismay* Do you really think Betty is going to hate you if you refuse her almond slice? I don’t think so but on the other hand, your expanding waistline is crying, believe me.

Winter months mean short days, long nights, hibernation and comfort food. This mostly equals no motivation which ultimately means not a lot of exercise! That summer body you so desperately wanted…. forget it because unless you get your shizzle together, it’s not going to happen. Shedding those extra Crimbo pounds in January is always tough. Research shows we rarely lose the extra weight gained.

The average British woman diets 2.7 times per year. Obviously, one of those times will inevitably be in January. However, there is evidence to say that most women who start dieting will give up within 5 weeks. I don’t advocate diets but if you need to be on one to get to a normal, healthy weight then just play the game!

In January, gym memberships soar but guess what? The average gym membership is unused after 3 months. It’s a fact that gym attendance decreases as time goes on and all those best intentions and new year resolutions fly straight out of the window. So, unless you know that you’re going to be expending more calories through exercise than you’re consuming, it’s best not to overdo the food and drink.

Can you see where I’m going with this? Don’t let Christmas be the precursor to that dreaded weight gain that, realistically you won’t be able to lose.

I’m not trying to spoil anyone’s fun but what’s wrong with some damage limitation. The secret is to eat and drink smart which basically means anything which passes your lips should do so in moderation. That way, you won’t end up drunk, disorderly and in a gutter on Boxing Day or resembling the stuffed turkey!

The moral of this Christmas story? You truly don’t need to eat your bodyweight in sausage rolls just because Jesus is born. Honest.

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