Why do we overindulge?

Indulgence is often a result of people trying to improve their mood. When we’re stressed or anxious we sometimes ‘binge’ on food or drink to make us feel better. Christmas overindulgence is often a case of too much temptation ‒ allowing ourselves to let go and eat what we want.

festive season overindulgence

We all feel guilty about overindulgence after Christmas but there’s no need, it’s only once a year for a week or so and, providing you don’t persist with overindulging, you won’t do yourself long-term harm. However, it reaches a point where you have to stop.

How to get back to normal:

a) Don’t be too drastic: Think of it as a series of small tweaks to build up cumulatively rather than being on the wagon, starvation rations and 10-km runs.

b) Keep track of food and drink: Try keeping a food/drink diary or use a phone app. It will help identify any bad habits.

c) Plan meals and write a shopping list: This takes away stress and pressure because you know exactly what you’ll be eating every day, and therefore less tempted by ready meals or takeaways.

Swap some food choices. You can cut calories and reduce saturated fat and sugar with some simple swaps. Just cutting out a teaspoon of sugar from four cups of tea a day will save 60 calories a day, 420 a week, 21,940 a year. To lose 544g in weight you need to cut 3,500 calories – over a year you could lose 2.7 – 3.2 kg just cutting out sugar in tea. It is also highly recommended to swap sugary drinks for low calorie drinks or water and switching to lower sugar cereals and lower fat cheeses and spreads.

Cut back on booze. A glass of wine can have the same calories as four biscuits and a pint of lager is the calorific equivalent of a slice of pizza – it’s not just your liver that suffers from drinking too much but also your waistline.

Christmas overindulgence

Tips for reducing alcohol consumption:

a) Go for lower-alcohol drinks: Try a spritzer or low-alcohol beer or wine.

Try alcohol-free days: “Start cutting out some week nights and gradually increase them. It gives your liver a rest and cuts calories.”

b) Pour smaller glasses of wine: 250ml glasses can hold around three units of alcohol and nearly 300 calories. Add ice to your glass.

c) Stop binge drinking: The recommended allowance is for men to drink no more than 3-4 units of alcohol daily and women no more than 1-2 units – bear this in mind at weekends.

d) Find other ways to unwind: People often use alcohol to unwind. Instead, ring a friend, take a shower or bath or go for a walk.

Eat smaller portions. If you’re smart this doesn’t necessarily mean eating less – fill your plate with 50 per cent vegetables, restricting carbohydrates and protein to 25 per cent each – you’ll still feel full but consume less calories.

Don’t skip meals. Skipping meals means your blood sugar will dip, you’ll feel hungry and just grab the nearest thing – usually high sugar/ high fat snacks. Eating breakfast is proven to help lose weight. Try eggs (protein) and wholemeal toast (carbohydrate) to help you feel fuller for longer or porridge, which has a low glycaemic index, releasing energy slowly over a longer period.

Get more active. You need some aerobic activity which raises your heart rate and leaves you slightly out of breath – working towards 30 minutes a day five times a week. This helps burn calories and boosts your sense of wellbeing. Add some resistance work, using free weights, going to a class or working with your own bodyweight by doing press ups. This will create more lean muscle mass, boosting your metabolic rate, so you burn more calories even when at rest. As a registered biokineticist, Glynn Moolman, can assist you with designing the perfect workout for you that will help you reach your 2017 goals.

Write down three (realistic) goals for one, three and six months, then a year: Try committing to a weekly exercise class and/or three 30-minute brisk walks at lunchtime. Over four to six weeks you’ll notice the difference in your breathing and your waistline.

Enlist some moral support: Meeting a friend to do an activity together is great for ensuring you turn up, as is booking (and paying) for an exercise class or signing up for a charity walk or run.

Build up by going faster and working harder: Even if you are just walking, set goals to walk faster and go further. It’s amazing how quickly you’ll improve, for example, walk fast for one minute, five times in week one, and by the end of the month increase this to two minutes, six times. A 65kg person will burn 75 calories strolling at 2mph for 30 minutes but 150 calories walking at 4mph.” There are also plenty of apps to try.

Source: AXA PP Healthcare  https://www.axappphealthcare.co.uk