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5 smart ways to keep off the festive kilos

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It's that time of the year again - you know the one where you just throw your diet out the window and indulge like you are trying to become a sumo wrestler?

Yes, the festive season is upon us and retailers have upped the ante with delicious looking Christmas food displays sure to leave even the most hard-core health nut's mouth-watering.

And don't get us started on that brandy tart with pecan nuts. *drool*

With so much temptation during the festive season, it's not easy to avoid falling off the wagon.

But lifestyle and wellness expert, Lisa Raleigh, says you CAN keep off the kilos and enter January as svelte as you were pre-festive season.

She shared some of her tips with us.

1. Create a deficit a week before your holiday: Or two weeks if you can! The extra weight loss will help your return weight dramatically! Eliminate caffeine, wheat, dairy, meat, salt, processed/refined foods and sugar and increase your water intake by 500mls a day. Add in one or two extra workouts to your weekly routine for killer progress.

2. Scrap the all-or-nothing attitude: You’re going to fall off the bandwagon often, so don’t throw in the towel! The most valuable healthy habit is to get right back onto the straight and narrow after a cheat. Don’t binge eat bad foods, and simply correct your eating with your very next meal.

3. Balance it out: Got an indulgent dinner planned for later? Keep your eating immaculately clean the rest of the day. If a few drinks are on the cards – cut the carbs. Treat meals just need to be factored into the week and a deficit created elsewhere, in order for you to strike a healthy balance.

4. Stock up on protein: Even if it hasn’t been prepared in the healthiest way, upping your usual ratio of protein to carbs means fewer calories and cravings overall. Meat proteins in particular take the body longer to digest, meaning you’ll eat less and be fuller for longer.

5. Drink your veggies: Maintaining your figure in the holidays is also about preserving your health. Juice your fruit and veggies first thing in the morning to take in some important nutrients. Whatever else happens during the course of the day, you will have still taken in your 5 a day without the added calories of eating them in their solid form.

It's hard enough dealing with all the mouth-watering food on offer at every turn but you also have to resist the temptation at the end of year work party, late night dinner with the girls and the seemingly never ending cocktail parties.

Lisa says it is possible to make the right choices while eating out. She says you can plate your own portion to avoid over eating.

"Even if it’s only a snack or you’re all sharing tappas at the dinner table, dish up your helping every time you eat. This will help you tally up all you eat in a day, and will prevent you from overeating as you would if you were picking straight from a huge assortment of food options," she says.

Halving your portion size could also help.

"If you don’t feel like healthifying your pizza or swapping your pasta from creamy to tomato base, simply halve your portion. Cutting your meal in two immediately and serving the adjusted portion with a side of roasted veggies and salad is a great way to enjoy your favourite meal without overloading on calories. As a general rule, your plate should be 50% veggies/salad, 20% carbs and 30% protein," says Lisa.

"No matter how disciplined your eating, drinking your calories will undo your hard work. Cocktails are a huge caloric expense, and normal alcoholic drinks range from between 110-220 calories a pop. If alcohol is a must at dinner time, factor it into your eating plan. Treat each unit as one carb allocation, and restrict your carbs both on the day and after the event for a more balanced intake. This goes for non-alcoholic drinks too! Soft drinks, iced teas and fizzy fruit juices are packed with non-nutritive calories. As a general rule, if it’s not alcoholic – stick to water."

Another tip is to make sure you do not leave the house hungry.

"If you’re on your way to a festive function, snack healthily beforehand. Arriving hungry to an indulgent dinner often means over-dishing and over-eating. Curbing a ravenous appetite beforehand with a piece of fruit or some raw nuts means a more rational approach to the dinner table," she says.

If all else fails wear a tight dress. Yes, putting on that 'freakum' dress will not only make you look good but also remind you to steer clear of that chocolate dessert.

"Wearing something form-fitting is one of the easiest ways to make sure you don’t overindulge. Opt for clothes that are tight around the midsection and you’ll be more inclined to skip seconds," she says.Read more at:prom dresses london

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