The Practical Nutritionist - Christmas


Tips to get through Christmas without piling on pounds.

Tips to prevent weight increase over the Christmas period.The Practical Nutritionist - Christmas

Christmas is always a busy time of year: present hunting, Christmas dinner preparation, work pressures, family arguments and so on. Then there are the specialty coffee drinks; peppermint mochas, eggnog’s, gingerbread lattes Irish coffee etc. To top it off,  there are additional parties with friends, colleagues, late nights and much Christmas cheer.

It can be stressful and, left unchecked, stress wreaks havoc on the body and packs on the pounds, especially around the middle. Cortisol is hormone released during times of stress. It’s job is to raise blood sugar levels to help you in fight or flight situations, however, more often than not we are not running or fighting but sitting, planning and worrying. Therefore, the sugar is not being used and it finds a place to be stored, which is around the stomach. Cortisol can suppress many areas of the body including the thyroid, so if you already have a suppressed thyroid this is only going to exaggerate the problem further.

No doubt there are going to be many high carb foods (pastries, pies, potatoes…) which will put your blood sugar on a roller-coaster ride – giving you highs and lows and that feeling of sleepiness after a huge Christmas dinner. Carbohydrates are an energy source and if you don’t use them you store them!

You may go on a alcoholic beverage binge at this time of year. Don’t.  Binging in any form is hard on the body and excessive alcohol consumption is only going to impact your health. That swollen beer belly, most likely inflammation, is nothing to boast about and that raging hangover – it is a concern. Here is a great article  that covers the effects of alcohol, some myths debunked and some tips to help recover. Tip: vitamin C and B6 are your friends on days like this.

Many alcoholic drinks contain a lots of sugar, a great way to add to your wasteline. Alcohol goes into the blood stream and it is distributed throughout the body. It places pressure on the pancreas, liver, on your bones, weakens the immune system, hormones, heart, in-fact it affects all parts of the body. All the stress and the alcohol consumption in the Christmas holiday season is only going to increase the pressure on your entire body.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a glass of wine at Christmas and I like to eat the things I would not eat any other time of the year but I do it in moderation. So here are some tips to prevent packing on the pounds and don’t worry, it is not all doom and gloom.


  • Eat before going to a party. This is one of my to-dos and I have had excellent results. Eat all the food that is not likely to be at the party: veggies for vits and minerals with a homemade guacamole (for those healthy fats) will give you the nourishment you need and the fat from the avocado will make you feel satiated, resulting in reduced “grazing” when you are at the party.
  • Be the designated driver: If you know you have to drive, it will keep you off the booze. Therefore, you won’t pile on the pounds and have all the other associated problems with alcohol.
  • Sleep in and relax: If you have time off work, make the most of it. Get your sleep, turn off mobile devices, have breakfast in bed. Stay home all day in your pajamas and have a guilt-free day. It is time to make the most of your Christmas vacation.
  • Drink water: Stay away as much as possible from the fizzy drinks. However, if you are drinking that night, then drink water in-between the alcoholic drinks so that you stay hydrated.
  • Exercise: Find time to exercise, even if you are away from home. Go for a walk, jog, do some yoga at home. This will help to burn off the carbs and relax you.
  • Don’t think calories in and calories out, it has been shown not to work. 100 calories of sugar is going to have a different effect on the body opposed to 100 calories of quality fat. We’ve moved on from that approach: You can read more here.

On a final note, enjoy Christmas with family, eat a mince pie, enjoy the turkey dinner but try not to over indulge.

Merry Christmas!




The Practical Nutritionist – personal, and above all, practical nutritional advice and services to help you improve your health.

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