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How to avoid putting on those extra pounds this Christmas

Christmas cakesThe Christmas party season is upon us; a crazy few weeks of office parties, family get-togethers and an obsession with buying foods that you wouldn’t normally eat.  During December most people also see their exercise routine fall by the wayside as they get caught up in the whirlwind of the holiday season so it’s hardly surprising that most people gain somewhere between 7 and 10 pounds between now and January.

Now I’m not against a little over eating every now and then and I shall certainly be indulging myself – cheese & biscuits and those little bake in the oven canapes are my favourite Christmas foods.  The trouble is most people ditch the healthy food completely and celebrate for the whole of December and often into the New Year too!

So to help you prevent the dreaded winter weight gain, I thought I’d share with you some of my top tips that will keep you moving towards your fitness and weight loss goals while still enjoying all the festivities.

Don’t drink alcohol on an empty stomach

One of the biggest mistakes people make is to skip meals all day in an attempt to ‘bank’ some calories that they can then consume as alcohol in evening.  Unfortunately this tactic will trigger a hormonal response causing you to crave sugary and starchy foods and will leave you with a stinking headache the next morning.

Alcohol is pure sugar and is quickly absorbed through the stomach and into your blood stream.  This causes your blood sugar levels to soar which in turn triggers your pancreas to release plenty of insulin.  Insulin’s job is to remove the sugar from your blood and transport it around the body to the cells that need energy.  However, this surge of insulin is going to result in low blood sugar levels which causes you to crave more sugar and carbs – this is why you get the ‘munchies’ when you’ve had a good night on the town.  As most people overeat carbs anyway, all this extra sugar is going to be stored in your reserve fuel tank; namely your fat stores.

The digestion and elimination of alcohol places a massive amount of stress on your body and liver.  Alcohol is also a diuretic which means you’ll lose more liquid than you’re putting in – this is more stress on your body and dehydration will leave you feeling tired, hungry and craving more sugar.

Drink plenty of water

Drinking plenty of fresh clean water will help your body eliminate the toxins that have built up in your system.  It will help to prevent dehydration and headaches associated with alcohol consumption and will also help to keep the ‘hunger pangs’ at bay.  So if you do drink be sure to alternate water with alcoholic drinks and drink a pint of water before you go to bed after a night of partying.

Aim to drink a litre of water for every 50lb of body weight.  If you don’t enjoy plain water, add some freshly squeezed lemon or a slice of ginger but stay away from the flavoured bottled waters which usually have artificial sweeteners added.

Eat lots of fibrous vegetables

Not only will eating lots of veggies help to fill you up but they are packed with nutrients which will help to reduce cravings and help your liver detoxify any alcohol that you will consume.

Continue to exercise

For lots of people exercise takes a back seat during the festive season.  There are increased demands on our time what with shopping for presents, writing cards, decorating the house etc., so finding an hour to go to the gym or to a class can seem almost impossible.

But you don’t have to give up on exercise completely.   Set your alarm clock 30 minutes earlier than normal and exercise in the comfort of your own home.  Try one of my home workouts;

Home Kettlercise Workout

Home Pilates Workout

So there you go, 4 simple and practical tips that you can use to help prevent those extra inches creeping onto your waist this Christmas.

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