Chances are, you’re probably starting to feel a little out of shape right now.
The festive season has begun. You’ve been saying yes to mid-week wine nights and second helpings—why not? It’s Christmas, right? The past few weeks might have been a write-off altogether. Too much fun, too little willpower.
But just because you feel like you’ve gained 100 kilograms doesn’t mean the scales agree. That being said, your skinny jeans don’t lie.
But how long does it actually take from the time the chocolate hits our lips for the evidence to show up in exactly the wrong places?
Unfortunately, there’s no absolute answer. Everyone’s body is totally unique and many things factor into how quickly we gain weight, such as our age and genetics—two things we have zero control over.
But, dietitian Samantha Cowan tells us that in general, most people only need to eat an extra 250 extra calories per day to gain half a kilogram each week. Likewise, if you’re trying to shed a bit of holiday over-indulgence, she recommends aiming to cut 250 calories a day from your diet.
Annoyingly, 250 calories don’t take long to add up. A few naughty afternoon snacks or light grazing throughout the day and BOOM! you’re already there. Even if you live like a nun during the week, those extra calories can hit you all at once when eating out, and enjoying a few drinks come the weekend.
Related article: How to choose the healthiest cocktail on the menu
So what can you do?
No one wants to live like a nun for seven days of the week and this time of year, you’ll be lucky to last one. Plus, life’s all about enjoying great food from every section of the pyramid. So instead of restricting food and making yourself miserable, why not start by being a little more conscious of what passes your lips? A great way to do that is to write down everything you eat and drink for a week (and I mean everything!)
There’s nothing more startling than the cold, hard truth-bomb a food diary can drop. You’ll be surprised at how quickly that seemingly insignificant picking mounts up. Take coconut oil, for example: using just a spoonful of it in your cooking a day is adding an extra 120 calories alone. It pays to be sceptical of health claims on labels. Most times, if your gut instinct is telling you it’s too good to be true, chances are it probably is.
Next, pay attention to food labels and be sceptical of health claims. More often than not, if your gut instinct is telling you it’s too good to be true, chances are it probably is. By being a little more discerning when it comes to food labels and minimising unnecessary snacking, you can still enjoy all the good stuff that makes life fun while losing those extra kilos.
But for now, enjoy Christmas.