Christmas is renowned for good times, fun, family and friends – and unfortunately weight gain too due to all the food and drink regularly on offer.
It is common for most people to overeat at Christmas and then on Jan 1 get on the weight loss bandwagon to try and shed the weight they have gained over the festive period.
But what about when you are already on the path to weight loss with the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge, and have already done a fantastic job over the previous weeks and months of losing your baby weight and then over indulge at Christmas which sets you back a few pounds – or worse? Not such a great Christmas present!
So this Christmas as you have come so far with losing your baby weight, we wanted to give you as much ammunition and support as possible for you to keep that weight off over Christmas and not let you undo all the good work and results you have already achieved.
So as much as weight loss is a very tough goal to set over Christmas – the primary goal that we are setting for you all is to maintain your weight so that you can still have some indulgences but with some rules in place so that things don’t spiral out of control and you don’t start piling on those pesky pounds that you have already kissed goodbye.
The Christmas Survival Plan will cover the following;
- Diet – what to eat
- Recipes – low fat recipes over Christmas to keep your family and your waist line happy
- Coping tips at parties
- Presents you need to be bought!
So let’s get into it……………
Weight loss survival
We are surrounded by food and drink over the Christmas period so if we are going to put off any weight gain we need to plan and be prepared for all of those moments of temptation. Firstly – it is worth noting that not all foods at Christmas are unhealthy and there is usually a healthy and low fat alternative to every Christmas traditional food. Why not try this Four Ingredient Fruit Cake.
Secondly it is worth being realistic and accepting that it will be hard for you to lose weight over Christmas but with some planning and preparation maintaining your weight and your current weight loss will be easy to do.
The 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge meal plans cover the Christmas period and encourage you to still enjoy all the festive fun but with Healthy Mummy tweaks to make them a bit healthier.
Healthy snacking is still essential over Christmas and maintaining your weight will be all about making good snacking choices – here are some good ones over bad ones plus some other food tips!
- Choose unsalted nuts NOT dry roasted nuts
- Choose baked pretzels NOT fried crisps
- Choose dark chocolate with mint or orange NOT full cream and full fat milk chocolate
- Choose some of our homemade Chocolate Bark NOT a Mars Bar
- Enjoy the Snickers Mousse from the challenge, NOT a Snickers bar
- Choose bananas or strawberries dipped in dark chocolate NOT Quality Street
- Choose a low fat cheese NOT full fat Brie
- Choose a platter of fruit NOT a bag of sweets
- Choose a spritzer with 50% light white wine and 50% sparkling water NOT a straight white wine or champagne
- Choose homemade Mince Pies NOT the store bought ones
- Choose a sorbet with raspberry coulis NOT full fat ice cream with chocolate sauce
- Choose sticks of raw carrots, cucumber and cauliflower with hummus NOT full fat cheesy sauce
- Choose slivers of fresh salmon on rice cakes and light cream cheese NOT slabs of salmon on normal crackers and sour cream.
- Choose wholegrain and brown rice/pasta/bread NOT white processed carbohydrates
- Choose to add veggies to as many meals as possible NOT chips, white rice, crisps and bread
- Choose a digestion soothing tea like peppermint tea or lemongrass tea NOT a full fat coffee
- Choose a smaller plate to serve your meals on NOT a stylish huge dinner plate (that you will fill and will eat!)
- Choose to eat slowly NOT wolf down the food – it takes 20 minutes for the brain to signal to the tummy that it is full
- Choose to have a salad as your starter NOT a high fat starter
- Choose to have a vinaigrette dressing NOT mayonnaise – a tablespoon of mayo has more fat than a Mars bar!!
Get to know your favourite weight loss foods
Being on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge or monitoring your weight does not mean all enjoyable foods are out. It is very possible to make all the treats that are a normal part of Christmas festivities very healthy and not have you gain weight.
Also – all weight loss foods are not horrible – in fact most are delicious and when you find out what you like you can have a field day. Especially if you’re a member of the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.
Here are some that come to mind:
1. That Christmas turkey is not off the menu in most cases; lean white meat is high in protein and very lean.
2. All the vegetables that go with the turkey can be delicious if you buy good quality and cook them well (i.e. don’t over cook them or drench them in oil if roasting).
3. Fresh salmon is great for Christmas and provided you eat it in moderation it won’t hinder your weight loss. And if you want to try something different go for trout which has less calories and fat than salmon but the same goodness.
4. Experiment with your own salad dressings, and try different olive oils. Salads with a difference can be healthy but still a treat.
5. Aim to have plenty of fruits around the house during the Christmas period. Want to indulge as it’s Christmas? What about your favourite fruits dipped into a bit of melted dark chocolate?
6. There are a variety of nuts which make healthy and tasty snacks. Keep a stash of unsalted nuts in the cupboard – but remember they are high in fat so limit your consumption to a few at a time.
Read more tips here about healthy eating at Christmas time.
Exercising over Christmas
With all the extra food and drink on offer over Christmas it is essential to build as much exercise into your daily routine as possible to ensure that the energy output is higher than the energy in from the food and drink we are eating.
But as per the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge philosophy this does not have to mean daily gym sessions! With most of us having family and friends around over the Christmas period, you need to get creative about squeezing workouts at home in wherever possible. Use the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge app to help!
Exercise is the real friend to you during this excessive holiday period, so don’t be tempted to put off your regular exercise until after the holidays if you can help it. Yes, we all have less time at Christmas but remember even if you only do a percentage of your normal exercise some is better than none, so do less or shorter sessions rather than knocking them off altogether. You can also throw yourself whole heartedly into the dancing at any parties you attend and work off a few of those calories!
Here are our top ways to get exercise in over the Christmas holidays;
Take a Walk
Build walking into your routines. Walking part of the way to the local shops, or taking the dogs on longer walks, walking with the family – all these things can contribute to your weight control, and make you feel better. If you feel better, coupled with your mental strength, keeping your weight down over Christmas will not be as difficult as you might have thought.
Shop ’til You Drop
Turn a leisurely cruise around the mall into a power-walk and you reap the same fitness benefits you would out on a hiking trail. Hit stores at off hours to avoid crowds (or else treat that zigging and zagging you’re doing as extra aerobic output). And don’t forget to take the stairs and park in the far end of the lot. Those extra steps add up too. How about walking a lap around the parking lot before you go home? Extra points if you’re carrying heavy bags!
Create Family Holiday Fitness Traditions
Treasured rituals are an important part of the holiday season for most families. Add or adapt yours to include fitness! Consider:
- An all-ages Christmas party complete with games such as rounders, garden/beach cricket, musical chairs, pin the tail on the donkey, charades, egg and spoon race (eggs painted in Christmas colours of course!), three legged race or sports tournaments on Wii
- Walk, instead of driving, to view holiday lights and decorations
- A kids’ talent show during family get-togethers
- Cutting your own Christmas tree
- Baking your own healthier gingerbread biscuits
- Musical statues to your family’s favourite tunes
Fit in Holiday Fitness, Cut Out Fat
An unpredictable, extra-busy schedule can easily derail your usual exercise routines. Try working out early in the morning, before you’re interrupted for the day. Have a backup plan, so that in case you miss your usual exercise routine, you take a bike ride or do an exercise video instead. If you have house guests, invite them to join you on your daily walk or trip to the gym.
Socialising over Christmas
1. Don’t Feel Obligated
Being a gracious guest doesn’t mean eating hearty portions of everything that’s offered. Don’t feel the need to eat foods you’d normally avoid, or take seconds, just to please the hostess.
Regardless of the occasion, you need to be the one who is in control of what and how much you eat. If you find refusing food awkward – or have a relentless relative who’s always begging you to “Eat! Eat!” – try the broken-record technique: Continue to simply say “No, thank you,” with a smile.
It’s impossible for your hostess to argue with a gracious but firm “No,” and if you don’t make complicated excuses, you’re less likely to cave in to pressure.
2. Don’t Fast Before Big Events
To prepare your body for the big feast later in the day, you may be tempted to ‘save’ calories by skipping breakfast or other meals – which is not a good idea.
While eating every few hours is always important, it’s essential before a holiday party or big dinner because it keeps your metabolism high, allowing your body to continue burning calories, instead of sending you into starvation mode, in which your body hangs on to them.
Eating something from the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge meal plan beforehand also prevents you from becoming so famished that you devour junk foods at the event. In fact, it might be smart to eat more than you normally would that day.
So never go to a party starving, even something small, like a banana or a bowl of cereal, will take the edge off your appetite and allow you to make smarter food choices. And if you’re not sure whether healthy items will be available, suggest to bring a platter of veggies and low-fat dip. Or why not bring some of these delicious Onion and Brie Yorkshire Pudding Bites.
3. Don’t Overdo Alcohol
Do you find sipping a celebratory drink makes you lose your willpower? You’re not alone. Alcohol tends to lessen your inhibitions, and you may find that you have less control over what you eat.
If you must indulge in a holiday cocktail, consider diluting your drink with water or soda, and alternating each alcoholic beverage with a glass of water in order to keep control of your eating and prevent dehydration. Also, remember to count those liquid calories. A mixed drink, like a daiquiri or margarita, can have 500 calories per glass
4. Don’t Forget to Start on a Positive Note
Take 30 minutes and go for a walk the morning of your holiday get together. By getting your exercise done early in the day, you are ensuring that you’ll actually do it. And the mood-boosting hormones that are released with exercise provide the added benefit of easing family holiday stress and making you feel calm.
5. Office survival
If you work in an office you know that junk food ALWAYS seems to make its way into the workplace at Christmas – be prepared for this temptation by always having healthy snacks in your bag or desk so that you can join in the snacking, but in a healthy way.
6. Office parties
Then there are the dreaded parties! Don’t worry, you can party and still be good! When it comes to the buffet table, look out for the healthy options, the cooked meats, plain chicken and fish, the salads, fruits etc.
You can still participate in some of the less healthy options but if you are already filled upon the healthier choices you’ll have a lot less room for the poorer food choices and won’t feel that you are missing out by not eating them
7. Prepare your appetite
When attending any function over the holidays it is always best if you try to eat well before you go; eat all your normal meals as you would on any day and then you won’t be tempted to eat everything in sight when you get there as you will be pleasantly full already.
So many people starve themselves all day because they are saving themselves for the function, so that when they get there they are that hungry they are ready to devour anything, and everything, they see
And finally here are a list of present ideas that you could start dropping hints for so that you have all the ammunition possible to lose your baby weight and stay fit and healthy next year;
- A blender – you can get a great one from KitchenAid
- Ankle weights – GREAT for extra leg toning and they’re not too expensive
- An exercise bike – so that you can exercise whatever the weather
- Dumb bells – you can get good 2kg ones at sports stores
- Exercise DVD – perfect for mums and easy to fit into your life – plus burn up to 550 calories per hour!
- Not a challenge member yet? Why not ask for a 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge membership for Christmas?
Hopefully this survival guide and tips will help you manage to stick to your diet and exercise program while you still manage to join in and enjoy all the fun of Christmas.
Have a great Christmas!
Stay on track this festive season
Our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge is a family-friendly, breastfeeding-safe program designed FOR MUMS to help them improve their health and lose the baby weight.
Every week you are given a different meal plan to follow and each month we add NEW recipes to our Challenge Recipe Hub. That way, you’ll never get bored and stay on weight loss track while digging into healthy, yummy recipes. Some mums also choose to add in Healthy Mummy Smoothies to their meal plans, but it’s totally up to you.
Learn more about our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge HERE.