With Christmas and the party season well and truly upon us, slipping into that New Year’s number may be beginning to look a little daunting, especially since research has shown most adults put on between half and one-and-a-half kilos over Christmas – but don’t lose it afterwards.

Accredited practising dietician Duncan Hunter – independent advisor to Atkins Nutritionals – says that needn’t be the case if we take a few simple steps to avoid the silly season spread.

  • Never go to a party hungry. Ever. Eat dinner beforehand and avoid the buffet bar completely, or have a light snack, such as an Atkins Chocolate Hazelnut Crisp Bar, and then only have a few healthy nibbles when you get there. Remember though, highly processed/ high carb crackers and dips are not a healthy snack!
  • Unless you have willpower of steel, aiming to lose weight over Christmas is probably unrealistic. So don’t. Just plan to maintain your pre-Christmas weight, and work hard to do it. If you set unachievable goals it will be way too easy to fail, and then to jump off the wagon altogether.
  • Size is everything. Use a small plate rather than a dinner plate and dish up half of what you think you’ll want to make sure you don’t overeat.
  • Trade low-fat for low-carb. There’s a growing body of evidence showing that restricting carbohydrates is a more successful strategy for long-term weight loss than opting for low-fat products that are often laden with added sugars instead. The New Atkins programme advocates limiting “bad” refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta and processed foods, instead choosing “good” carbohydrates, fromfresh fruit, vegetable, dairy, as well as sources of lean protein.
  • Whatever you do, steer clear of creamy dips, pastries, chips and cakes.
  • Hunter advises bringing your own plate of low-carb snacks to share to ensure there’s something at the party you know you can eat, such as veggie sticks with homemade hummus or beetroot dip, sashimi, meat and vegetable kebabs or fruit salad. Visit atkins.comfor some party season recipe ideas.
  • Too much alcohol will show up on the scales, plain and simple. Of course the best weight loss strategy is to avoid alcohol altogether, but if that’s not going to happen then go for small glasses, hide from diligent staff topping up drinks all night (finish one at a time) and for every glass of wine have a water as well
  • Try to find time to exercise. Take the kids for a bike ride. Ask for gym gear or personal training sessions as Christmas presents. Go for a long walk in the soft sand on holidays. Every bit you move makes a difference.

For some great recipe ideas visit www.atkins.com

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