Weight Loss at Christmas

When you’re trying to lose weight, Christmas and Kiwi’s accompanying obsession with food, can be a challenge.  But don’t let your Ho Ho become an Oh No!!

With some planning and our weight loss strategies, you can enjoy Christmas without sabotaging your weight loss.

1.  Remind yourself of your goals before heading out

We can easily become distracted by the tinsel and trimmings of Christmas parties that we lose sight of WHY we want to lose weight.  Hopefully you have already determined your WHY.  When you have a firm grip on why you want to lose the weight, staying strong in the face of temptation is easier.

Every time you head out this party season, remind yourself WHY you are losing weight.  Write your reason on your mirror, or stick a Post-it note on your evening bag or by your car keys - so when you head to the function your goals are fresh in your mind. 

You could also try wearing a specific piece of jewellery or a rubber band on your wrist, or put a pebble in your pocket - something that will remind you throughout the evening of your weight loss WHY. Being reminded of why, should help you say no sometimes.

2. Practice saying no. 

Sometimes hosts can get a little pushy.   Mothers insist on the second helpings, colleagues get forceful about topping up drinks.  But it’s OK to say NO to things that will undermine your weight loss. 

It can help to actually practice saying no.  “No thanks, I’ve had enough”  “No thanks, I’m saving room for dessert”  or simply “No thank you”.   Practice graciously saying “no thank you” so it rolls easily off your tongue when the pressure ramps up.

3.  Offer to bring a plate

If you offer to bring something to the function, then you can make sure that there will be a yummy, healthy option for you to eat, even if it’s the only thing.  

4.  Offer to host

OK, it’s more work, but if you host the function, then you control the food.  That way you can choose a menu that is healthy, and you can avoid foods that tempt you.

If you are cooking, try chewing gum as you cook.  Nibbling on food as you cook can get dangerous, so having gum in your mouth will stop you from mindlessly eating the piece of bread roll (100 calories) or the handful of chocolate chips (70 calories).  Save those calories for the real thing, when you can truly enjoy it.

5.  Supermarket shop on line

If you can, shop on line.  You will be  less likely to make spontaneous, unhealthy purchases.  It removes the temptation of the bakery aisle or the confectionary at the checkout.  If you have to go to the supermarket, eat before you head out and shop with a list.  Don’t allow yourself to buy anything that isn’t on the list.

6.  Eat before you go to your function

Going to a party hungry makes it difficult to resist temptation.  It can be a good idea to eat a light, healthy meal before going.  A FastFx Meal Replacement is perfect because it has slow release energy, so it will keep you feeling full well into the evening. But only eat before hand if you can remember you have already eaten and that you therefore don’t need to eat much else.  Be honest with yourself and skip this strategy if you know you will find it difficult to resist other food at the function.

7.  Increase your exercise

If you know you have a party coming up, increase your exercise leading up to it.  Work out how many calories you have burnt and then allow yourself that many calories as an extra while you are out.  This way you can treat yourself without blowing it.  If you can incorporate some movement into the function, even better.  Could you walk to the party?  or suggest a family walk or backyard cricket after lunch?

Exercise not only burns calories but it also distracts you from overeating.

8. Weigh yourself daily

A daily check in can be especially helpful during this difficult season.   It means you can keep a track on how you are going and pull back on the treats if the scales begin bouncing up.  It avoids a 'head in the sand' mentality, which can lead to weight gain.  Better to be informed so you can keep in control of your eating.   Research has shown that people who weigh in every day and then act accordingly, (either by increasing their exercise or being stricter about their eating), are 82 percent less likely to regain lost weight than those who don’t weigh in as often.

9.  Control your environment

You need to be in control of food, not food in control of you.  A helpful way to do this is to stand away from the food table, or on the other side of the kitchen (where the canapés come from!).  It’s difficult to say "no" if food is within easy reach.  It’s impossible to overeat if food isn’t readily on hand.

If the function is seated, try and sit next to another healthy eater.  You won't be tempted by someone else's more unhealthy choices and you can help each other keep strong if pressure starts to be put on.  Safety in numbers.

10.  Eat slowly

We all know that the slower you eat the less you eat, and this is never truer than at a Christmas Function.  When food is plentiful, if you eat quickly, you could end up eating an immense amount of calories by the end of the evening.  Taking small, slow bites means that you eat less, you metabolise it better and you are much less likely to go back for seconds because you realise you are fuller, sooner.  

Try the 20-20-20 rule.  Chew 20 times - take 20 seconds between mouthfuls - stop 20 minutes after eating. 

11.  Eat mindfully

Christmas food should be savoured - when food is truly enjoyed, you eat less.  Try and stay in the moment of every mouthful.  Don’t become distracted and end up over eating without truly enjoying it - wasted calories.  Focus on the flavours, the textures and the smells.  The experience will be much more rewarding and you will eat less.

12. Choose your treats wisely

Having a few treats at Christmas is part of the joy of the season, but don’t fill up on boring, high calorie nibbles (like nuts, chips and bread).  Choose your indulgences wisely.  Save the calories for special, meaningful food (for example you may decide to pass on the chips before dinner so you can enjoy your mother's famous roast potatoes).  Summer brings with it a gorgeous option of healthy, beautiful food, so make sure you choose food that will truly bring you joy.

13.  Choose a small plate

Evidence suggests that we almost always finish what’s on our plate, so the larger the plate, the larger your problem.  Choosing a side plate instead of a dinner plate will mean you consume about 20 percent less.

In one study (at Cornell University), even nutrition experts served themselves 31 percent more ice cream when using oversize bowls compared with smaller bowls.

Once you have the plate, fill it first with as many low calorie foods as possible (eg salad) so you physically can’t fit too much high calorie food on your plate.

14.  Watch the Alcohol

Alcohol is often where we trip up.  It is filled with hidden calories and can easily sabotage weight loss at Christmas.  A glass of wine has 200 calories, cocktails and beer have even more, so over an evening, you could easily drink almost your entire calorie allowance.  A beer has about as many calories as a slice of pizza!

Offer to drive - this gives you an excuse not to drink, which seriously curbs your calorie intake, leaving some room for a few nibbles.  It also saves you money on drinks and a taxi!

If you are drinking, try to choose low sugar, low alcohol options.  Gin and diet tonic or low alcohol beer for example.  Also, try to alternate alcoholic drinks with a sugar free nonalcoholic drink (soda water or diet soft drinks).

Not only is alcohol full of calories but it also stimulates your appetite, as well as diminishing your ability to say no and make wise food choices.  So try to keep it to a minimum.  If you’ve decided not to drink, ask for your sparkling water or diet drink to be served in a wine glass.  You still feel part of the festivities but avoid the calories.

15. Avoid seconds

Especially when the food is delicious and everyone is on holiday, it can be easy to head for seconds without thinking.  A good tip is to  brush your teeth or pop a sugar free mint as soon as you have finished.  Mint is an appetite suppressant and it cleanses your palette, making you less likely to eat more.  Another strategy is to take your plate into the kitchen as soon as you have finished, or have a herbal tea or piece of fruit - these actions will send the message to your brain that the meal has finished.


We know that Christmas can be hard, but don’t let the festivities rob you of your goal.  You don't want to face the New Year having to undo the damage done over the holidays.  You are in this for a reason, that reason is important.  Feeling healthy and good about yourself is important. You are strong enough to resist the Christmas temptations.  Make it easier on yourself by using some of the strategies above. 

Remember to pay attention to what really matters - Christmas functions aren’t about the food - they are about the company.  You can enjoy the festivities, the people and the atmosphere without compromising your weight loss.  Keep reminding yourself that the conversation you are having is much more important than the canapés about to pass by.  Really focus on people and conversations, it will take your focus away from food.

And also, don't give up because of a slip up. If  you do make an unhealthy choice, don't let it totally derail you.  Just because you ate a biscuit doesn't mean you should eat the whole packet.  You can recover from a food regret by getting back in control with the next bite.  Don't wait until the new year or even tomorrow.  If you blow it, choose the very next mouthful to get back on track. 

It’s OK to allow yourself an occasional indulgence at Christmas. Just make sure you keep in control of what you eat - you decide what and how much.  If you choose what to eat and when to stop, you can enjoy the Christmas party without sabotaging your weight loss.  Enjoy the season and come out the other side, into a new year, filled with strength and determination.