Overindulging at Christmas: How to Avoid it

Christmas is usually a difficult time when it comes to controlling our weight. For that reason, in this article we'll share some recommendations with you to help you avoid overindulging at Christmas.
Overindulging at Christmas: How to Avoid it

Last update: 23 February, 2021

It can be difficult to avoid overindulging at Christmas, as it’s a time where we celebrate by eating and drinking. If we don’t manage to control ourselves, we’ll likely regret those extra few pounds later on.

For that reason, we’ve provided some recommendations we think will help.

How to avoid overindulging at Christmas

Specialists have calculated that on average, we gain almost 9 lbs. during this time. At Christmas dinner alone, we can easily consume over 1,500 calories. If we multiply that by several days because it’s not just Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve, but Christmas celebrations with work or friends, etc., it’s easy to see that we’re substantially overindulging.

A study compared two groups: one wherein the subjects were asked to weigh themselves at least twice a week and record their findings, in addition to being advised on how to control their weight during Christmas and physical activity guidelines.

Whilst the other group only received information on how to lead a healthy lifestyle. As such, those from the intervention group didn’t gain any weight, whilst the other group did. What can we do so that this doesn’t happen to us?

Plan your meals

One piece of advice that we can give you is to make a calendar with all holidays on them and mark the days where you have Christmas meal plans with friends or family. On these days, allow yourself to overindulge, but don’t on the other days. By this we mean: on those other days, you should follow a healthy diet.

woman with a notepad to plan and organize; how to avoid overindulging at christmas
First of all, we need to know on which days we’ll potentially be overindulging. That way we can try to maintain a healthy diet the rest of the time.

Avoid overindulging at Christmas: Buy and cook the right amount

If you want to try something sweet at Christmas, only buy for the days that you know you’ll be eating at home.

If you don’t have an excess amount of food at home, then you can’t eat it. Additionally, if you buy loads of sweet treats for Christmas, you’re going to still be eating them in January until they’re all gone.

Remember that sugar is one of the enemies when it comes to weight gain, as an article published in Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences confirms.

On the days where you’re going to be eating Christmassy meals at home, it’s best to cook a reasonable amount rather than a large quantity, otherwise, you’ll be eating the same leftovers for the next few days.

Eat normally on the other days

On the days where no big meals are planned on your calendar, follow your normal eating routine; you don’t have to stop eating, nor follow some kind of detox plan.

Simply prioritize foods like vegetables, lean meats, fish, and pulses. Have fruit for dessert and limit your intake of soda and alcohol. You can also reduce the size of your portions a bit if you feel you’ve overindulged the day before.

Don’t forget about fruit and vegetables

Even during the holidays, you can eat fruit and vegetables; introduce mixed salads, roasted vegetables, or crudités into the mix. Cook them and present them well, and they’ll go down a storm!

In addition to any desserts, you may bring out, also try bringing out a tray of sliced fruit: pineapple, strawberries, kiwis, blueberries, mandarines, mangos, etc. If it’s cut up and ready to eat, people will eat it.

There’s also an abundance of ways you can decorate fruit and give it a Christmas flare. The little ones in the house can even be in charge of this.

bowl of chopped fruit: how to avoid excess food at Christmas
There are many ways you can ensure you eat enough fruit and veg over the festive period. Although you can make a fruit salad, you can also offer them sliced at any festive event.

Choose a plate to avoid overindulging at Christmas

When it comes to the meals, even if you’re sharing, choose a specific plate to load your food onto. This way you’ll be aware of how much you eat.

You should do the same thing when it comes to desserts; choose a small plate, look at everything on offer, and then choose whatever it is you like the most. Eat it slowly to avoid snacking later in the day.

You may also be interested in: Why You Eat When You’re Not Hungry

Don’t stop doing exercise

Sometimes, during the holidays, some of us forget about going to the gym or doing sport. Stick to your routine. If you don’t do sport regularly, go for a walk or a hike. If you spend all day eating, you should try to increase your physical activity the following day.

Remember that when it comes to maintaining or losing weight, high-intensity interval training is the most effective, as an investigation published in Sports Medicine states.

At Christmas, exercise and be aware of what you’re eating

In conclusion, you should enjoy Christmas in moderation and don’t forget to look after yourself. Although it’s easy to be seduced by the many temptations, you must be aware that overindulging yourself doesn’t do you any good.

If you look after yourself with a certain level of flexibility, you won’t only enjoy the festivities, but you’ll also feel a lot better when January rolls around. For that reason, take advantage of the advice that we’ve given here and to find the winning formula!

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  • Stanhope KL., Sugar consumption, metabolic disease and obesity: the state of the controversy. Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci, 2016. 53 (1): 52-67.
  • Maillard F., Pereira B., Boisseau N., Effect of high intensity interval training on total, abdominal and visceral fat mass: a meta analysis. Sports Med, 2018. 48 (2): 269-288.