How to Have a Delicious Christmas and Never Gain a Pound

It may seem unlikely, but it can be done!


Looking for help in avoiding the almost inevitable weight gain over Christmas?

I always turn to an expert for advice, and Patrick Holford certainly qualifies with his many books on healthy eating so here are some simple tips so you can enjoy the pleasures of good food, drink and keep your weight in check.

1. Always eat protein

Combining protein with carbohydrate works because protein, being made of amino acids makes the digestive environment more acidic, and this slows down the breakdown of carbohydrates.

So, the food spends more time in your stomach, making you feel fuller for longer.

2. Add lemon juice and vinegar

If you increase the acid level of your food by adding lemon juice (citric acid) or vinegar (acetic acid) you get a similar effect.

In a study on diabetics two tablespoons of vinegar to a meal lowered its glycaemic load (as measured by plotting the rise and fall in blood sugar levels after the meal) by 20%. The vinegar resulted in less high blood sugar spikes.

This study provides some scientific basis for the old wives’ tale about cider vinegar and weight loss. In practical terms, this might mean eating a salad with a vinegary salad dressing, drinking a citron pressé (minus the sugar) with food, or adding balsamic vinegar for flavour to a meal.

For example, try ‘steam-frying’ Brussels sprouts and adding a little balsamic vinegar in the last few minutes of cooking. Research has also found that adding lemon juice or vinegar reduces the formation of ‘anti-glycation end-products’ (AGEs), the harmful oxidant compounds that are formed when food is cooked.

3. Load up on soluble fibre

Fibre is an important part of a balanced diet and soluble fibre, for example the variety found in oats, barley and chia, really fills you up and lowers the GL of a meal.

A study conducted by Dr Joseph Keenan of the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis, showed that eating barley makes you feel less hungry.

So make the most of the colder weather to eat lots of porridge or make a warming dish such as my Mushroom and Barley Risotto.  Also, have a teaspoon of my Carboslow (glucomannan) fibre with a glass of water before a meal.

4. Wait 20 minutes before dessert

This allows your ‘appestat’ (your internal appetite gauge) to kick in. Even better, go for a stroll after your main meal, then have your dessert afterwards, which also helps stabilise blood sugar levels.

If you eat immediately after exercise your body burns it off faster.

5. Drink ‘dry’ and limit juice

More and more evidence is linking regular consumption of both sweetened soft drinks and even ‘natural’ fruit juices with increased weight gain and diabetes risk.

The same increase in diabetes risk was not observed in those drinking grapefruit juice, which has a low GL, or orange juice. Even so, you need to be careful not to overdo the orange juice.

The best fruit to eat, and drink, are those high in a type of sugar called xylose, which means berries, cherries and plums. So, if you need to use a juice, maybe in a dessert recipe, use Cherry Active.

For alcohol, choose the driest drinks – for example, a dry red or white wine or Champagne or a neat spirit such as whisky.

Helpful information: 

One thing we do know about Christmas, is that it can be stressful for a variety of reasons and stress can lead to comfort eating – which won’t help your weight.

If you know you tend to get anxious around the holiday season, then that will increase your menopause symptoms so the following article will help.