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Controlling weight gain during Christmas

There is so much food during Christmas that we can be tempted to overeat and gain a lot of weight that can be difficult to lose. One of the secrets is if you don’t stock up, you won’t eat up.


Christmas, or the "silly season" as it is affectionately called, is not a good  time for those of us who want to maintain a good weight.


Various studies have been performed on the effects of the Christmas and holiday season on health. They have concluded that the health changes that occur during the Christmas and holiday season may not be reversed during the rest of the year and may have a long-term cumulative effect over a person's life, and that the risks of several medical problems may increase during the Christmas and holiday season.


Researchers (Yanovski et al.) investigated the assertion that the average person gains weight over the season. They found that average weight gain over the Christmas and holiday season is around 0.48 kg (1 lb). They also found that this weight gain is not reversed over the rest of the year, and concluded that this "probably contributes to the increase in body weight that frequently occurs during adulthood".


Another set of researchers (Chan et al.) investigated the increases in A1C and fasting plasma glucose in type two diabetic patients, to see whether these increases were steady throughout the year or varied seasonally. They concluded that the winter holidays did influence the glycemic control of the patients, with the largest increases being during that period, increases that "might not be reversed during the summer and autumn months".


There are tips to help us maintain our shape during Christmas:

• Reducing alcohol consumption because one of the reasons we put on weight during Christmas is because of increased alcohol consumption. 1g of alcohol contains around 28 kilojoules or 7 calories, therefore remember that moderation is the key.


• Don’t purchase very sweet and rich foods until it is near Christmas day or until you need to.


• Eat fruit and vegetables on an empty stomach in the morning before you eat your breakfast.


• Continue your normal exercise. This might just be walking every day, so if some festive activities compete for the same timeslot, you can make allowances for this by changing when you exercise and how you exercise.


• Send any leftover goodies home with guests so you won't be tempted to eat them until they're all gone.


• Make the bulk of your eating be on healthy foods like protein (chicken) and vegetables, rather than on cakes, biscuits, chocolates, ice-cream and the like.


• Give-away any chocolates or sweets we receive as presents.


• Drink plenty of water


• Do not skip meals, chew food slowly and stop eating as soon as you begin to feel physically full.


• Take small not large portions of each food served at dinners or parties.


Overeating at Christmas may result into weight gain that may be difficult to shed off in the new year, therefore you may follow the above tips to help maintain a good weight.  

The Healthy Wellbeing                                                                                                                                                                                  




1.Easy Diet Swaps, ‘7 tips to help you avoid festive season weight gain’,

Accessed: 15/12/2011


2.Harn-Shen Chen, Tjin-Shing Jap, Ru-Lin Chen, and Hong-Da Lin (February 2004). "A Prospective Study of Glycemic Control During Holiday Time in Type 2 Diabetic Patients". Diabetes Care 27 (2): 326–330. doi:10.2337/diacare.27.2.326. PMID 14747208

Accessed: 10/12/2011


3.Life tools for women, ‘Avoid weight gain this Christmas’,

Accessed: 15/12/2011


4.Yanovski JA, Yanovski SZ, Sovik KN, Nguyen TT, O'Neil PM, Sebring NG. (2000-03-23). "A prospective study of holiday weight gain". Nwe England Journal of Medicine 342 (12): 861–867. doi:10.1056/NEJM200003233421206. PMID 10727591.

Accessed: 16/12/2011


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