You don’t have to lose weight over Christmas: just maintain your weight.
You don’t have to lose weight over Christmas: just maintain your weight. Contributed

Leave big belly to Santa Claus

'TIS the season to not be sloppy.

For many seasoned partygoers, a New Year's Eve resolution beckons after the bad end of a holiday hangover, or gaining a few centimetres from indulging in one too many Christmas roast dinners.

But after swearing off holiday parties, the dreaded cycle continues as we welcome yet another Christmas silly season of excessive eating, drinking and merriment.

We love to celebrate Christmas each year, but without putting a dampener on the festive season, is there a way to get through the next few months in one piece?

Sunshine Coast naturopath Vanessa Nunn said the festive season often meant overindulging on guilty pleasures such as snack foods, desserts, and alcohol at parties and gatherings.

"I must admit, post-Christmas is when you see people coming in regarding weight loss and intoxication," Vanessa said.

"This may relate to people wanting to start their New Year's resolutions on healthy living.

"But over December, people go to lots of parties and overindulge, and people would then make sure to try and get back on track."

Vanessa believes that rather than cutting out all bad foods and alcohol, moderation is the key.

"I'm actually all for enjoying these things," she said.

"The benefit of being with family and all the emotional benefits that come with celebrating Christmas are just as important for good health.

"The problem is when we over- do it over multiple days.

"The trick there is to decide on the days we really want to celebrate, and try to be more moderate rather than overindulging at every single celebration."

Old-fashioned home-cooked meals with natural ingredients such as fresh fruit and vegetables, and lighter meals made with turkey, seafood, or salad are healthier options for Christmas dinners.

Vanessa also said rethinking dessert portion sizes and mixing wine with sparkling mineral water all helped to reduce fat and sugar intake.

"Those are the things that make a difference for weight gain and feeling sluggish," she said.

"Extras like alcohol, snack foods and sweet foods always tend to be the problem, so keeping fats and sugars to a minimum is a good thing to focus on.

"Enjoy yourself, but try to look at different strategies when sitting down for a meal and look for healthier options."

Coast celebrity cook and author Annette Sym said she enjoyed hosting and attending her fair share of Christmas parties.

"It's such a difficult time at Christmas. We gain weight and we lose the plot," she said.

"Christmas really starts in November, since that's when all the Christmas parties are starting.

"We're eating food we don't normally eat and eating a lot of it.

"Because of the lots of functions to go to, we eat a lot of finger food, food that's not super healthy, and copious amounts of alcohol."

In her newest addition to her Symply Too Good To Be True series of weight loss cookbooks, Annette's Christmas Survival Guide shares 12 healthy Christmas-themed recipes.

The free e-book also provides tips for a healthy and happy Christmas, from hosting and cooking for holiday parties, to serving drinks, and making edible gifts.

"It's all about maintaining weight over the holidays," Annette said.

"You don't have to lose weight over Christmas, but just to maintain your weight is a big enough goal. Don't eat like it's your last Christmas, and make wise choices with your meals. Let's leave the big belly to Santa."



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