By Ross Holland
’Tis the season to be jolly, but that does not mean the festivities should result in the bathroom scale swinging the wrong way. FORBES AFRICA reached out to two professionals to find out how to keep the holiday weight off, whilst partaking of every joyful activity.
Persuade Makore Kudenga, a public health nutritionist and freelance nutrition consultant, and Chandre Engelbrecht, a sports scientist and personal trainer, both from South Africa, weigh in:
1. Never go to parties hungry or thirsty
Try and eat at home before you leave for that Thanksgiving meal, Christmas lunch or dinner. Also drink plenty of water. This will ensure you are already half-full and will end up eating less.
2. Practice mindful eating
Watch your portion sizes when eating sweets and/or cakes and servings and try not to have more than 1 piece/1 serving. Avoid eating all your favorite foods at the same time and try and be mindful of what you consume.
3. Avoid overeating
Food is readily available during this season, it’s easy to continue eating even after one is full or have reached your recommended calorie intake for the day. Download a calorie counter app and keep track of calories to avoid overeating. An alternative can be increasing your protein intake so one can feel fuller for longer periods of time as protein is more difficult to digest. This will also allow you to stay fuller for longer and that you are less hungry for your next meal.
4. Don’t skip meals
During the festive period, most people skip meals like breakfast to eat a bigger lunch and/or buffet. Skipping meals slows down one’s metabolism and also when one skips a meal, the body stores the previous meal as fat to fuel the body and instead of food being used as energy, it’s stored as fat as one’s body goes into starvation mode. Skipping meals also makes you crave more junk food and you are left with less energy, which means less energy to train and stay active.
5. Stay active/don’t stop training
Most people don’t train during the holiday period due to lack of motivation, time and not being in their hometowns or close to their respective gyms. When away, one can try home workouts as well as hikes, runs or walks with the family. Staying active will help fend off any weight gain and not have one starting the new year with guilt.
6. Don’t skip meals
During this time most people will skip meals like breakfast to eat a bigger lunch and/or buffet and skipping meals slows down your metabolism and when one skips a meal, the body stores the previous meal as fat to fuel the body and instead of food being used as energy. Stored fat will cause the body to go into starvation mode and will result in weight gain as the body thinks that it’s not getting enough food. Skipping meals also makes one crave more junk food and leave you with less energy which results in less energy to train and stay active.
7. Control the alcohol intake
When one drinks alcohol, the alcohol becomes the body’s first source of fuel and stores the carbohydrates as one’s body is trying to get rid of the alcohol (toxin); try opting for a lower carbohydrate meal if you plan on having alcohol and try drinking alcohol with less calories such as gin or silver tequila.
8. Drink plenty of water
Not only do people ditch their daily water intake during the festive season, but they also replace it with alcohol. Drinking water flushes the toxins out of the body and boosts your metabolic rate;
drinking a glass between alcoholic drinks can also help reduce a hangover. Having a glass of water before a meal can make one fuller and less likely to overeat.