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How to avoid overindulging this Christmas season

Tuesday 21 December, 2010 by Laura

Ah, Christmas! The time of plum pudding, mince pies, roast meat, cold ham, chocolate ... all washed down with a few glasses of wine. And that's just the day itself - to say nothing of Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, New Years and all the pre-Christmas work functions. It is terribly easy to overindulge at this time of year. After all, ‘tis the season to eat and be merry. But overeating and drinking one-too-many sherries can leave you feeling far from festive. But here's the good news, it is avoidable.


1. Saying ‘no' to the chocolate you just don't need. You've probably already had pudding. You wouldn't eat until you are fit to burst on a normal day. Christmas really shouldn't be an exception.

2. Have a sensible brekkie. Don't skip breakfast just because you've got a big lunch planned. Stick to your routine and have a normal breakfast. Then when it comes to lunch or dinner you won't be as tempted to gorge yourself on high fat, high sugar, Christmas treats.

3. Don't forget about your exercise routine. During a working week you manage to squeeze in the gym/yoga/running, etc. Although Christmas is busy, you'll feel far better about having that slice of Aunt Mary's Christmas cake if you've been on your regular run that morning.

4. Think about your alcohol consumption. You don't have to abstain from drinking over Christmas, it is a special occasion after all, but do try and limit your alcohol consumption. Don't be the one drunkenly singing Gloria Gaynor's I will survive in front of your in-laws on Boxing Day.

5. Learn what constitutes a standard drink. Just as a reminder, that's 285 ml of beer (one glass of full strength beer), 100 ml of wine (one small glass of wine), 30 ml of spirits (one measure of spirits.) Check out how many standard drinks are in your beverage of choice. Keep in mind that the recommendation for men and women is to consume no more than two standard drinks per day.

6. Avoid eating high fat and high sugar foods, and try and get in your five food groups each day (fruit, vegetables, dairy, meat/fish/poultry, breads/cereals). Sometimes this won't be possible but most festive feasts have a varied spread. Pick the things that you know you won't regret eating later.

7. Drink lots of water. Keep hydrated, the weather is often hot and it is particularly important when you are drinking alcohol. Also, pick water over other soft drink options. Did you know that a small bottle of cola has the equivalent of 8+ sugar cubes? That's a lot of sugar that's easily avoided.

8. Don't forget to be SunSmart. There is nothing worse than getting sun-stroke after a day of overindulgence in the sun. Drinking, overeating and not protecting yourself from the sun will leave you feeling dreadful. Burning and tanning is your skin cells in trauma, so stay protected.

So what's your guilty secret when it comes to overindulgence? How do you plan to keep the extra pounds off over the festive season? Tell us your tips and troubles...

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