Saturday, 9 October 2010

Lazy Way to Avoid Weight Gain over Christmas

It is a sad fact that Christmas shopping does not aid radical weight loss, but there are sneaky ways of avoiding getting fat over Christmas, which involves simple strategies of maintaining protein intake and abstaining GI index, but in a way that suits a grumpy and lazy Christmas gift buyer.

Foods to Avoid over Christmas

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Actually, I hate the word “diet,” but love the duo, “lazy diet. You don’t need to weep over the salad bowl or sweat it out at the gym to slow or stop the fat from creeping on the waistline over Christmas. However, a Christmas eating plan will help keep the fat at bay.

Slimming Christmas Foods

Some festive foods promote weight gain more than others, and the culprits are not necessarily the ones you’d expect. Foods containing lots of fat (although best checked) are not as fattening as high carbohydrate foods. High carb foods are those that contain lots of sugar. And remember, sugars come in many forms including sucrose, starch, fructose and maltose. And sugar exists in savouries as well as puddings.

Christmas Foods with High GI

Sugar and carbohydrate are really synonymous, as both provide energy. Surplus energy is eventually stored as fat unless it is burned off. Foods that proclaim “no fat” or “low fat” could still cause fat gain if it has lots of sugar and is not burned off. A general rule of thumb is, food that contains around 60g of carbohydrate or more per 100g or more (60% or more) is high carb food. This describes foods with a high GI index (Glycemic Index) which means that sugars enter the blood stream quickly. This creates a peak in blood sugar levels and then a trough, causing sugar cravings.

Christmas Food that Makes you Fat

High sugar foods include mashed starchy vegetables such as potatoes, parsnips, turnips and carrots; dried fruit, Christmas pudding, fruit cake, dates, mayonnaise, pasta, ice cream, bread, fruit drinks and alcoholic drinks.

However, this does not mean you should abstain from carbohydrates. You need some carbs to be healthy. The secret is how you eat your Christmas food. To do this, you have to know your low GI foods, or Christmas foods that help you lose weight. Generally, these are proteins. In the context of Christmas, these might be: turkey, beef, salmon, lamb, pork, soya, nut roast, nuts, cream, cheese and soya. Some low protein foods are low GI too, including sprouts, peas, beans and tomatoes. High protein foods are usually low carb and therefore keep you full for longer.

Slimming way to Eat Your Christmas Dinner

I love Christmas dinner, but you can still enjoy it without worrying too much about your waistline. Simply eat your proteins (or more of it) first. Tuck into your turkey or nut roast, add a few sprouts or (boiled) carrots into the initial part of the meal. Leave your spuddy bit for the latter part. This will leave you feeling full before eating too much of the carbs. Sipping fluids with the meal will make you feel fuller quicker. Sip boozy or soft drinks with the meal rather than on its own, as the protein in the meal will dampen the sugar rush.

Slimming Christmas Pudding

Look for Christmas puddings with more nuts than fruit, as it will be higher in protein. If you make your own, a blend of Brazils, almonds and walnuts make a nice combination. Add some oats or buckwheat with the usual ingredients to make the pudding higher in fibre. Prefer cream to custard as a pour-over.

Low Calorie Christmas Snacks

Snack on cheese and nuts rather than lots of sultanas, dates and white crackers. High fibre foods will also allay those nasty sugar cravings. Enjoy chocolate treats around the same time as a high fibre snack. Chocolate and nut mouse are tasty and high in protein. Chocolate soya mousse is also delicious and high in protein.

Lose Weight over Christmas the Lazy Way

Of course, as with any diet, some exercise will help weight loss over Christmas, but eating in a certain way will make it easier. Eat proteins and fibre before the carbs. Combine carby foods with high fibre and protein to dampen the sugar rush. Watch out for soft drinks and booze. Many of them equate to fluid sugar. Water it down with some spring water or sip with a meal. Avoid also white floury foods such as pasta, white rice, bread and crackers, as these have no fibre.

And so endeth the grumpy gift buyer’s guide to a less grumpy Christmas.

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