No ones needs to get fat for Christmas if they think smart. In the run-up to Christmas, many of us are looking forward to sitting down with loved ones for a festive feast – and gaining a few pounds in the process.
But there is no inevitability about gaining weight at Christmas as long as women (and men) spend a little time calculating what they need to do to maintain their current waist circumference.
In the first instance, people need to be committed and determined to reach their therapeutic goals. No one can make you get off that sofa and swap the brandy butter for crème fraiche.
But success will come to those who make a plan – deciding in advance what to eat, and what is off limits. If you love a glass or two of bubbly, keep that on the menu but cut out dessert, or have fruit instead of Christmas cake. Tuck into the full festive fare, but make sure that there are piles of fibre-rich vegetables in the mix. Fibre, as well as making you feel fuller, helps your digestive system to mop up toxins and get rid of them fast. My own trick is to eat a couple of green apples before lunch itself. This will help to slightly stretch your stomach, feeding back a sensation of satiety to the brain and you will find yourself eating less of the main event.
Nobody wants to experience the disappointment of climbing onto the scales in January and finding they have put on an extra half stone.
Gaining weight is particularly difficult for women in the middle of their lives who may struggle to lose the pounds again. Women in their 40s often notice incremental weight gain which can be hard to shift. This happens for a variety of reasons including the fact that metabolism gradually slows down over the decade as they approach menopause and women start to lose muscle mass. Pregnancy can also result in weight gain which is never completely lost.
When it comes to eating meat, I suggest that women follow a standard formula of around 0.8-1 gram of protein per kilo of bodyweight per day. Any less and you risk not covering the essential requirements for muscle regeneration and overall health. Much more and you may elevate a growth hormone called IGF which actually encourages weight gain. For reference, 1 egg has around 6-7 grams of protein and 100 grams of lean beef (the size of a playing card box) has around 30 grams of protein.
Refined table sugar can be cut out completely since it is empty calories that actually rob your body of essential nutrients including potassium, calcium and zinc. Use honey instead to sweeten foods – no more than 2-3 teaspoons a day. On an empty stomach, honey has powerful medicinal properties and is a potent anti-viral agent. It can help ensure smooth motions because it acts like an emulsifier of gut contents.
I also advise women against constant detoxing and cleansing. This can actually strip your body of essential nutrients. Instead of detoxing, I would like women to think about how they can nurture their bodies instead. This means eating what you need in the correct amounts and balancing energy input with energy output through regular exercise.