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14 December 2017

The festive season is a time of indulgence. None of us want to deprive ourselves over this glorious season of family time, beach holidays and lazy days. But none of us want to return with 5kg of extra weight come January. Chanelle Retief, Registered Dietician, helps with some tips on how to enjoy yourself, without the weight gain.

1. Don’t skip breakfast (or any other meal for that matter)

It’s very easy to skip breakfast when on holiday, because we are not in our normal routine and our sleep patterns are definitely not the same. If possible, try your best to not skip this important meal of the day. Breakfast is the only way that you can “wake-up” your metabolism. It is also very important to not skip any other meals in order to “bank” some calories for later, unfortunately out bodies don’t work like this. Continue to eat small, frequent meals.
2. Try to stick to portion sizes
Stay away from “portion distortion”. You don’t need to add any extras to your meal at the restaurant, so don’t order a starter, main and dessert. Order one meal.
3. Stay active
This does not mean you have to run 10km every single day. Rather indulge in some fun activities, such as hiking, with friends and family. Try and exercise in the mornings, before your day gets too busy (or you get too lazy) and before you can think of any excuses. Rather walk to the restaurant, beach or shop than taking the car. Remember, half a workout is still much better than no workout.

4. Stay away from empty calories and don’t drink your calories.

Empty calories are most prevalent in sugar and alcohol. Let’s face it, you are going to have a drink or cocktail now and again, but the secret is to not consume too much extra sugar and alcohol. Moderation is key.
-       Do not add sugar to your coffee and tea
-       Try and opt for cold drinks that don’t have sugar in 
-       Save sachet cappuccinos for a special occasion
-       Alternate you alcoholic beverages with a glass of water
-       Dilute your alcoholic drink, by adding more water
-       Do not drink fruit juice, rather make your own fruit-infused water

5. Read your labels and make healthy decisions

Fact: ice cream and snacks are part of holidays. If possible, always read your food labels when buying these. If you are going to have an ice cream, rather have the water-based option than the milk-based option. Read your labels and look out for foods that are high in carbohydrates (sugar) and fats. Always compare the labels of different foods to make sure that you are opting for the best option.
6. Weigh yourself
Not everyday, but regularly. Try not to become obsessive about your weight, but still step on the scale once or twice a week, just to make sure that you are still on the right track.
7. Check out the options first
Do a walkabout around the table if you are eating with friends and family and then decide what you would like to dish up. If you don’t, you might end up piling everything onto your plate.
8. One good meal VS One bad meal
Always remember that one healthy meal doesn’t make you healthy, and one unhealthy meal doesn’t make you unhealthy.
9. Know when you had too much
Know when you are going to overindulge, and then make sure that you don’t consume any liquid calories with that meal.
10. Support team
Have a support team – tell at least one person that you are trying to not gain weight over the festive season and ask them to help you.
11. Pick protein and fill up on fibre.
Try to eat more protein and fibre as it keeps you fuller for longer. Often protein has less fat and sugar added than carbohydrates. If you have to snack on something – pick protein. Eat foods that are higher in fibre such as fruits, veggies, brown rich instead of white rice.
12. Veggies should dominate your plate
Never ever skip your veggies. Make sure that you fill up your plate with at least 50% of veggies. Choose the veggies that don’t have added cream, sugar etc.
13. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Make sure that you drink enough water. In South Africa, December is one of our hottest months, which could lead to dehydration. Keep in mind; many times our bodies get confused between hunger and thirst.
14. Eat and chew slowly
Enjoy all the food over the festive season; enjoy the flavours and the tastes. Do not eat while you are watching TV, rather saviour each bite and chew slowly.
15. Eat from a smaller plate
Use smaller plates when dishing up. Remember we eat with our eyes.
16. Try not to go for seconds
Try not to go for a second round of food – although this is very difficult. Very few of us are still hungry when we go for a second round. Listen to your body!

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