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The one occasion that strikes fear into the heart of every dieter across the land is Christmas.
It’s not necessarily the day itself that does the damage – even an all out Christmas food-fest binge will only lead to a couple of pounds of fat gain, which can be remedied within a week, but the fact that Christmas seems to go on for so long makes it many dieters’ ultimate pitfall.
The holiday season can run from the end of November right the way through to the middle of January, and no matter how much you convince yourself you’re going to be disciplined, you’re bound to give in at some stage. It’s difficult with so many temptations at hand – cupboards full of sweets, refrigerators bursting at the seams with holiday-related junk, and enough sugar in your house to keep Willy Wonka in business until the next Millennium.
The key is to implement a few simple tricks to help you avoid these temptations, stick to your diet and maintain your physique. Not only that, but you may even be able to get slimmer over the holiday season, while those around you pack on the pounds and start the New Year with a sense of misery and despair.
3 Dieting Tricks
Find Lower Calorie Alternatives
This may sound obvious, but it’s amazing how many people throw their dieting principles out of the window come holiday season. They general thought being “If I’m going to put on weight, I won’t bother with any type of diet.”
This is pretty short sighted though. Even if you’ve resigned yourself to weight gain, you may as well practice damage limitation at the very least. There’s no need for you to go the whole hog and choose the highest calorie options of everything, just because it’s Christmas.
- Opt for low sugar cranberry sauce (or add stevia to it) over regular,
- roast your vegetables in a low calorie spray, rather than cooking them in a vat of oil,
- eat only white meat from the turkey, rather than the legs and wings.
The same goes for holiday snacks and other meals too, not just Christmas dinner.
- When making sandwiches with your leftover turkey, use light mayo or Greek yoghurt as dressing,
- stock your bowls with fruit rather than chocolate,
- choose light beer or red wine when drinking alcohol.
Strategically Plan Your (Ch)Eating
One popular dieting method is “cheating.” It may sound bizarre, but the theory goes that when you’re in a calorie deficit on a weight loss diet, your metabolism boosting hormones start to drop. The more you diet and reduce your calories, the lower these hormone levels go, making your metabolism slow down and your progress stagnate.
This can get pretty frustrating, and in the end, simply cutting calories further doesn’t cut it. What you can do however, is introduce cheat meals.
Ideally your cheat meals should be five to seven days apart, which could give you three or four days to eat higher calories over the Christmas period.
These aren’t an excuse for an all out binge, but it does give you the chance to relax your boundaries, eat foods you wouldn’t usually and go to town on the carbs, safe in the knowledge this could actually be boosting your weight loss.
It may be boring and uncool, but it works.
The simple fact of the matter is that if you consume fewer calories than you burn, you’ll lose weight. While you probably won’t be wanting to be in a calorie deficit every day, if you count calories every day over the holiday, then over a period of two to three weeks, you should still be able to come in under your calorie maintenance.