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As most of us know, it’s almost impossible not to over-eat and drink during the Christmas period!

It’s not just that there’s lots of food and sugary drinks around, there’s lots more occasions to indulge.

And, whilst it does no harm to eat and drink too much at one Christmas dinner – it’s the days and weeks either side you have to worry about!

So it makes good sense to try and have some guidelines.

That’s why we’ve come up with 10 of them.

They’re really simple and easy to do – and, if followed, will ensure that you emerge out into 2020 without hurting the weight scales!

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Over the holiday season, most of us will over eat and drink…after all it’s the festive season right? Eat, drink and be merry!

There’s lots of TV ads showing very happy families sitting down at tables laden with glorious looking food and drink and we all start eating stuff which we wouldn’t normally even consider throughout the rest of the year!

No wonder the first week in January hits us like an express train!

So is there a way of having a great Christmas and New Year to minimise the effects of the January hangover?

You bet there is – just follow these simple tips and you’ll be able to indulge in all your favourite treats with a smile on your face!

1. Drink lots of water – everybody says it but nobody does it! By all means have a small juice and coffee at breakfast but then stick to water instead of fizzy drinks. Aim to have at least 5 glasses per day and definitely drink one just before, and during, a meal. If you’re having alcohol as well, make sure you drink water in between. And cut out all sugary soft drinks.

Why it’s good: Water is the best drink for your body, bar none. Drinking it will stop you feeling hungry, will make you feel fuller and help flush out all the toxins from the alcohol.

2. Have a good nutritious breakfast everyday – you’ll probably be eating treats for the remainder of the day, so no need to start off every day with a cooked and fat-full breakfast! What’s a nutritious breakfast? See our article here for some great suggestions The top 10 ingredients for the perfect breakfast.

Why it’s good: Having a good, balanced breakfast will set your body up for the day and leave you less tempted to start snacking early on.

3. Eat smaller portions of EVERYTHING don’t deprive yourself of any favourite treats, just eat a bit less of all of them. Start off with less on your plate to begin with, and don’t let anyone else serve you – they have no idea how much you should have! Don’t be tempted to finish off the last roast potato “because it’s there” and never have seconds of anything – particularly if you’re feeling full. Stop eating halfway through your meal for a few minutes to let your mind catch up – invariably you’ll feel full earlier.

Why it’s good: If you think that we probably eat up to 50% more ‘stuff’ at Christmas, then reducing the actual amount you eat by the same percentage will let you indulge to your heart’s content. Start off the meal by having literally half what would be your normal portion. Finish that and see how much more you really want!

4. Go for lots of brisk walks – we’re not talking about hour long, all-the-family-have-to-come-too rambles, we’re suggesting quick 10 minute walks by yourself (or with a conspiratorial partner) up and down the road. Do one after every meal if you can and halfway through the inevitable TV marathon in the evening. It’s easy to do, doesn’t require any special exercise gear and no one will miss you for 10 minutes!

Why it’s good: Increase your breathing and heart rate and brisk walking is one of the most effective exercises you can do. A 10 minute walk won’t burn off a Christmas lunch but it will help the body metabolise the food and drink much more efficiently, stop you grazing on those after-dinner treats and make you feel human again.

Oh, and it’s good to have a quick break from the celebrations – you can nip out when the cold turkey is brought out of the fridge!

5. Eat healthy snacks as well as the unhealthy ones – wherever you are, make sure there are plenty of plain nuts and fruit readily to hand. At those ‘grab a mouthful of something’ moments, make sure it’s one of these, rather than chocolate or another mince pie – and try and delay the first mouthful as long as possible because once you start grazing on snacks, it’s much harder to stop. Save up your favourite treat for a certain time of the day and then really enjoy it!

Why it’s good: You’ll probably put most of your unwanted calories into your body by “grazing” on fat-filled treats over Christmas. If you can swap out 50% or even more with healthy ones, then you’ll be that much better off.

6. Brush your teeth gently after every meal – and as many times in between. It’ll make your mouth feel fresh again and will stop a binge run in its tracks. Make sure you don’t scrub hard though – this is more of a mouth refresh than a morning and night thorough brush.

And if you combine this will a few deep knee bends and stretches, so much the better!

Why it’s good: As well as creating a taste barrier, teeth cleaning is a great cue telling the body that eating time is over. Most drinks don’t taste so good after either! Even if it stops you wanting another snack or drink for an hour or so, the process will have done its job.

7. Use a positive mantra – decide on an expression like “I just don’t need that“, “I know I’m not going to have a second helping” or “Don’t even think about it” and say it to yourself whenever temptation rears its head – not just once, but lots of times. And when the temptation passes, give yourself a huge mental pat on the back. Some people find a physical cue works as well – try putting an elastic band on your wrist and giving it a quick flick when that second mince pie is making eyes at you!

Why it’s good: Doing something like this may sound silly, but positive self-talk is extremely effective at directing your behaviour. Do it enough and it will become self-fulfilling.

8. Keep a mental food diary – we’re not talking about calorie counting, but visualising a big food plate. Imagine putting everythingyou’ve eaten on one plate and see how it piles up during the day. Keep it in your mind’s eye and slow down, or stop, the food intake when the pile gets too high.

Why it’s good: There’s a reason why all these diet reality TV programmes pile someone’s weekly or monthly food intake up on one table. Actually seeing how much you eat can be truly scary. Use this technique to help keep in control.

9. Try to stop eating when you feel a ‘bit’ full – difficult with all the tempting food and drink on offer but crucial in keeping the calorie intake down. Never let yourself get into ‘stuff’ mode – push your plate right aside if necessary or excuse yourself from the table for 5 minutes. Never let someone force ‘seconds’ on you.

Why it’s good: One of the main causes of being overweight is eating when you don’t need to. Let your body tell you when it’s had enough and if you feel stuffed, you’ve definitely had too much.

10. Try not to eat after 7pm – have a small treat and a fruit tea but avoid the late-night binge on the leftover turkey, roast potatoes and spirits bottle.

Why it’s good: Going to bed on a full stomach is NEVER a good idea.

Recent research has shown that the average Brit can consume as much as 6000 calories on Christmas Day! Whilst a one-off binge won’t do you any harm at all, doing it for several consecutive days will certainly hit the waistline.

But if you follow these simple tips and you’ll emerge out the other side in the New Year relatively unscathed, ready to face the challenges of 2020.

Happy holidays!

Jean Ann Marnoch and the New In 90 Team

This Guide is brought to you by the team at New In 90.

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