11 tips to avoid getting fat this Xmas

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1. If there’s a buffet, turn up late. An untouched buffet table looks so tempting. But once everyone else has taken what they want, the food looks far less tasty. And make sure to stand as far away from the table as possible. If you stand too close, it’s easy just to reach down and grab a few extra bits of food while you’re talking to your friends.


2. Don’t get there hungry. Many people starve themselves during the day in an attempt to compensate for the massive number of calories they know they’re going to eat in the evening. But it hardly ever works. When you arrive at a party or barbecue feeling hungry, you’ll just end up eating more. Instead, have a piece of high fibre fruit (such as an apple) about 15-20 minutes before the meal starts. You can always eat it in the car on the way. This helps to fill your stomach and you won’t be as hungry.

3. Have soup as your first course. Studies show that soup (broth-based rather than cream-based) curbs your appetite, reducing your calorie intake during subsequent courses.

4. Fill your plate with vegetables like broccoli, artichokes, peppers or carrots. Vegetables are relatively high in fibre, which helps to delay hunger and leaves you feeling fuller for longer. Foods high in fibre also take longer to chew and eat. By the time you’ve finished eating, hopefully everyone else will have eaten all the “bad” stuff!

5. During the main course, eat protein-rich, lean foods, such as chicken, turkey, fish (salmon) and meat, first. Protein triggers the release of a gut hormone called PYY3-36, which sends the “full” signal to your brain. The result is that you’ll eat less without feeling like you’re depriving yourself of the food you love.

6. Avoid stepping on the scales for a few days after indulging yourself. That’s because it’s possible to gain several pounds in weight without actually gaining fat. How does this happen? When you consume more calories than you burn, the body stores the extra energy, but not always in the form of fat. Although excess carbohydrate calories can be turned into fat, your body also stores carbohydrate in your liver and muscles in the form of glycogen. Carbohydrate also stores between three and four times its own weight in water. So when you overfeed on carbohydrate calories (such as cakes, sweets, potatoes and cookies), much of the weight you gain will also be in the form of glycogen and water.

7. It’s almost impossible to offset ALL the extra calories you’ll be consuming over Christmas with exercise alone. But if you want to minimise the impact that Christmas and New year gluttony has on your waist line, here’s what I recommend.

A few hours before eating, perform an intense cardio or weight training workout. This could involve 45-60 minutes of steady-state cardio or a 20-30 minute bout of high-intensity interval training. This will boost your metabolic rate so you’re burning calories at an accelerated rate for 24 hours or more. If you have the time or can plan it properly, why not work out, shower and get dressed up before the Xmas party or family function, this way all those extra calories will be used to refuel your body and muscles with much needed lost carbohydrate and amino acids and actually help speed up recovery. You'll also feel far less guilty.

8. So, the nights over and you're feeling really stuffed and a little bit tipsy? Why not use this as a good excuse to walk home or the long way to the taxi or bus stop. You'll feel much better and get to burn of those greedy Xmas calories. If you were at a Xmas lunch, why not go train? You'll probably need 3-4 hours to digest the food. This could be a moderate cardio session of 60 minutes, a 2-3 hour walk or some weight training if you have access to a gym.

9. Don't let the gym is close excuse stop you from training - you can go out for a run, a super long walk or a ride on your bike (and if you don’t have one or you need a warm jumper to keep the cold away, now you know what to tell people what to buy you for Christmas!) If it’s too cold, you can do a bodyweight workout at home or if you were lucky enough to get one of those Jane Fonda or Jade Goody workout videos, now could be a good time to actually watch and follow them. Even just getting out of the house and going for a walk serves two purposes - you’ll be burning extra calories and you won’t be tempted to snack on the nibbles.

10. Why not try a carb and fat blocker to reduce those Xmas calories? A product called Fattack contains an ingredient called Phaseolamin - an extract from white kidney bean, which has been shown in research to be effective at blocking complex carbohydrate calories. Fattack also contains a patented form of the supplement chitosan. Derived from shellfish and called Absorbitol it can reduce the absorption of fat in your meals. 3-4 capsules of Fattack taken just before a classic carb and fat dense Xmas meal could reduce a considerable amount of the complex carb and fat calories. I often have a bottle in my car, as a ‘cheat aid’, when invited to parties or out for dinner.

11. My personal tip is to invite everyone over; friends, family, grand parents, kids and all to my house for Xmas. It's the ultimate workout. I never get to sit down for a minute with everyone wanting drinks, food, kids spilling food and drink on the carpet, walls and curtains, arguments and tons of stress and then 6 hours of cleaning it all up afterwards; washing up, hoovering, etc… I never get a chance to eat anything and actually lose weight – little do they know – it's just another gym workout

Summary.. It's your choice, this Xmas can be a time for getting seriously drunk, lazy, gluttonous and lethargic or having a great time, getting merry, eating well, training and dancing. If your new years resolution is to start training seriously again or lose that belly hanging over your trousers, following the sensible route will allow you to start without the 10lbs gained over Xmas.

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Sean   |.
I use Christmas as a time to take a natural break from training. If you train
hard up til the last minute then rest for a week and eat it should aid your
Fran   |.
Lighten up everybody.. Xmas is a time for fun! Have some drinks.. but just
dont go too mad. Use the time away from the gym to grow by gettin some r&r
and some excess calories. Then hit the gym harder than ever in the new year.
Fred   |.
Don't make public what you do to train, eat and generally look after yourself.
Everyone else will think you are some sort of freak and start to find fault and
pull your motivation to pieces. Keep your own counsel and have a quiet life.
Tom   |.
Think of Christmas as a reward for that hard work you had put in over the year!
Its only one week out of a whole year!
Neville   |.
Eat well and as sensibly as is reasonable, considering that it is a festival.
After training hard for three months or so, 7 or 8 days off is beneficial, then
you can go back leaner, meaner and keener. Fran and Sean are right.
Jonas   |.
Fred's spot on, as i've learned the hard way.
Chris   |.
You need a break from training to recover & grow. 10-14 days every three
months is a MUST. What's 40 odd days out of 365? At the end of the day, if
you've been training properly & had your diet in order it will be almost
impossible to eat too much & get fat in 10 days; the human body isn't THAT
inefficient! Just relax and get ready to hit the weights in January!
Ronnie   |.
Why the big fuss. Xmas is a time to relax and enjoy life. The gym will be there
on the 2nd of January!
sue lesley   |.
Good tip about not gettint to the buffet table first for it won't be so
appealing after everyone else has attacked it, will trying that tip.
James   |.
I don't think the diet over Christmas is that much to worry about high carb and
protein which is what i eat all year. Will defo make time for a run or two. Its
the drinking i have to watch!!
Colin   |.
I try my best to eat about 5-6 small meals a day.
At christmas have your usual
cereals and fruits. At dinner eat that prawn cocktail full of protein and low
fats and a small meal. Later have another small meal. Keeps that bloated look
liam palmer   |.
Listen my fellow athletes, you've eaten properly and trained hard 4 the year.
Your body is a machine, it will appreciate the rest, and a week or so of
drinking and eating off key will only make you want to get in the gym a.s.a.p.
Merry xmas
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