How to manage your weight over Christmas

Christmas is known to be a time where people let themselves go.  With the new year approaching and New Year Resolutions people are more likely to indulge over this period and start again in the following January.  With Christmas parties and family get togethers the food is plentiful, and the drinks are flowing.  Many people embrace this time and allow themselves to get caught up in the moment. Is this wrong? Well, that depends on the individual person and their personal goals.  In this blog I will be highlighting how to eat healthy, track your calorie intake and create new positive habits.

The Eatwell Guide to maintain a heathy diet all year round

One of the tools I love to use around this time is the Eatwell Guide. This Is a great guide to portion size and includes a variety of vitamins and minerals for a healthier diet. The guide explains how to maintain a heathy diet all year round.  I feel that this is a great help over the Christmas period because it helps us make the right choices when we are doing the Christmas shopping, when we are at social gatherings and when we are enjoying the break at home. It shows how much of what we eat overall and what should come from each food group.

Eatwell Guide Per day 2000kcal - 2500kcal includes all food and drink.

This guide is direct form Public Health England and I have referenced the government website link to this information below.

How to lose or maintain weight - Energy Balance

Once we can understand that food is a fuel for the human body to function and we get into the habit of using the Eatwell Guide, we can start to pay attention to our energy balance.  Most of us know that to lose weight we need to eat less and move more.  So, in theory if we are going to eat more over the festive season, we should aim to burn off more calories than we would do normally.

To lose or maintain weight we should be either equalising the number of calories taken in to the amount of calories burned or ensuring that the amount burned is higher than the amount we intake.  There are complex ways of estimating what calories each individual needs each day on a case-by-case basis.  The average estimated intake of calories for a male is 2500 Kcal and for a female is 2000 Kcal.

How many calories are we eating and burning off?

Fitness Tracker

One of the best ways of calculating this is to use a calorie counter and a fitness tracker.  I personally use a watch which shows me how much energy I have burned off each day.  These are great to record any exercise we may be doing and are a great motivator. 

Using a calorie Counter

There are many different calorie counting platforms which enable us to record the food we eat daily and calculate the calorie intake.  The more advanced platforms allow us to scan labels and search for food types which are already programmed into their system. 

Burning off energy without going to gym

Christmas is a time for relaxing with family and friends.  We don’t really want to be thinking about creating a new fitness regime.  However, if we are willing to eat and drink more and wish maintain our weight, we will need to burn off more calories.  There a several options we can take without having to go to the Gym or start any excessive training.  Some examples are below: 

  • Home Work Outs
  • Dog Walking
  • Walking
  • Not taking the car on short journeys      
  • Using a bike instead of public transport

Creating Positive Habits

With the new year approaching most of us want to create more positive habits.  It is famously known that one of the main new years resolutions is based around health and fitness.  More gym memberships are bought in January than any other month for example.  Having the knowledge of how to eat healthy and burn off more calories is not effective on its own.  Acting on this knowledge and building consistency will enable us to keep these positive habits daily.

To create a new habit, we need to start a new action consistently over time to enable the action to become locked in to our sub conscious. Take driving for example.  None of us knew how to drive a car until we took action and started to learn how each part worked individually.  We then practiced consistently until the sub conscious took over and we didn’t need to think about doing the actions needed in detail. The human mind will always want to take the easy option.  This is the reason when things get hard most of us will want to give up.  Its working though these thoughts that create a habit.  When losing weight most of us will want to see instant results.  If we see results it motivates us more to keep going.  This is a great way to encourage us to keep move forward, however when we are goal setting, we should be realistic on the expectations.  If for example, we want to lose a stone in a week we are going to be hugely let down and want to give up.  If we set a more believable goal of 1-2lb a week this is more achievable.

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