Who doesn’t love the holidays, right? It’s a time full of celebrations, gifts, and of course delicious food. Unfortunately, all that scrumptious food can lead to some unwanted weight gain as you well know. All those Christmas cookies have to go somewhere.
So if you’re not jumping on the “New year, new me” bandwagon – I’ve managed to dig up a guide that will help you keep off the weight through Christmas. Hopefully, this will make sure you don’t look at yourself in the mirror in January and ask “What the hell?”
Julian Gaine, the managing director and founder behind MealKitt, wants to combat those extra pounds through portion control. Not the kind you do when you tell yourself “I’m only going to have one slice of cake”, and take the entire thing because it’s one whole slice – but proper portion control.
Gaine recently released a series of photos that show how much food you should eat during a typical Christmas dinner, depending on if you’re looking to lose, maintain, or gain weight over the very hectic and festive holiday period.
As to make it as accessible as possible Gaine has factored in recommendations for three courses of a Christmas dinner. For starters, it’s your typical smoked salmon appetizer.
When having an appetizer, there’s an urge to gorge on everything you can fit on your plate; the same can be said for each course, but this one is particularly important. Whilst it’s mostly protein (and good protein at that), it’s important not to have too much, so you don’t feel stuffed or bloated during and after the other courses.
Now, onto the main course. The photo below depicts how large an entrée you should have if you’re looking to lose weight. Gaine said that this photo, and the ones that follow, were created under the assumption that a Christmas meal is going to account for around 60 per cent of your calories for the day.
Next is for those that want to maintain weight. Gaine said the photos are geared towards an average man who’s between the ages of 20 and 50, is anywhere between five foot six inches and six feet tall and weighs between 200 to 220 pounds.
However, he adds that a man and a woman’s daily caloric needs aren’t all that different, so these photos can apply to women as well.
The average man, according to Gaine, who gets around 30 minutes of brisk exercise per day, needs about 2,500 calories per day to maintain weight, whereas the average woman needs around 2,000 calories per day to maintain weight.
The portion pictured above is broken up into about 30 per cent protein, 30 per cent fat and 40 per cent carbohydrates, the ideal ratio for weight maintenance, Gaine says. Gaining weight, whether we want to or not at Christmas, also makes for a good case study.
The difference between weight maintenance and weight loss or gain is around 600 calories per day, according to Gaine. The main culprits behind weight gain are carbohydrates and sugar, and as a result, upping the number of potatoes is key. It’s Christmas so feel free to give yourself extra veggies too (gravy and stuffing as well if you must).
The thinking behind the carbohydrate and sugar theory, as well as the portion theory, are also applied to dessert.
Gaine says: “There are loads of diets out there, but portion control is the easiest, most fundamental thing you can do, because it means that we can enjoy what we love to eat just in the right amount.”
Portion sizes are one of the primary factors in the obesity epidemic that is taking the UK and US by storm. This guide and tips from other nutritionists are key in the battle against it.
Stress mindfulness when it comes to eating. You don’t have to cut foods out entirely, but eating foods in moderation can go a very long way. Try also not to assume that a food is healthy and you can eat as much of it as you want – like this famous person once wrongly said: “I have never seen a thin person drinking Diet Coke“.