Christmas is here and the inevitable happens. You eat too much and you put on weight. Then you think you might as well carry on as the New Year is round the corner. I often hear people saying that they put on the weight because they eat too much and drink too much, so when they eat less and drink less, they will lose the weight. Wouldn't life be simple. I think you can tell from my tone that there as bit more to it. Here are the major differences to your diet over the Christmas period.
Drink. Alcohol is the worst kind of sugar we can have. Not only does it screw up insulin regulation which turns off fat burning and switches on fat storage, it also increases your estrogen levels which makes any attempt to diet feel like you are trying to swim up stream. Work parties, mulled wine and festive drinks send your average sky high.
Sugar. As mentioned above, sugar is a menace. Not only do we get an increase in sugar from alcohol but sweets, mince pies and cakes are slowly being drip fed into your body to keep your insulin levels nice and high all day long.
Carbohydrates/protein balance. Sugar is a carbohydrate so in essence the amount of overall carbs has gone up. People may then find they eat less protein (except at Christmas dinner). Again, this just turns you into a fat storage machine. Also, it increases your carb craving. Ever munched down a packet of crisps and wondered where it went??
Overall calories. I left this to last as the important thing to remember is that it is the amount of dead calories people eat that is the important thing. You can eat garbage less often and still put on weight more than someone who eats more food from usable calories. It is the changes in your hormones not just the total calories eaten that makes you get fat.
It's not all doom and gloom. I am here to say you can have your cake and eat it by following these simple steps.
1. Don't forget about your protein intake. Have some every 4 hours or at least have some before you have something sweet.
2. Start with a good breakfast. Break the fast with a low refined carbohydrate meal. High protein ideally.
3. Have water with every alcoholic meal and try not to drink on an empty stomach.
4. You don't have to starve yourself only to gorge on your main meal. Have a small (protein rich) snack before.
5. Supplement your diet with fish oils. They help you to prevent what you have eaten from being turned into fat.
6. Lastly, if you truly want to minimise the effects of the sugar rush over Christmas, short circuits or workouts are the key. 10-15 minutes will do it and help your muscles absorb some of the circulating glucose rather than sending it to your fat cells.
Enjoy the festive period and see you all next year.