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It’s the Christmas season, the weather has got colder and wetter, our social calendars are fuller and the goods are on the shelf at the local supermarket. There is a slowing down of exercise regimes which are replaced by movies in front of the fireplace and pigging out on all the snacks stocked up in the cupboard, making it unsurprising that the average Brit gains over 1/2 a stone over the Christmas period. From turkey, roasties and vegetables, to wine, chocolate and pudding, on Christmas day calorie consumption becomes the priority. Here are some bad habits as a nation around the festive season, and how to overcome them…

Social Events

When attending work Christmas parties, catch ups with your friends and family gatherings as a nation we tend to go overboard on the drinking and eating. Just because you are being offered food at these events, it doesn’t mean you have to eat every single thing. You have been working hard to lose weight to look good in your New Year’s Eve dress. Why spoil it now!? The laws of weight gain do not change over the festive period.

TOP TIP: Eat healthy snacks before attending events, this way you are not going on an empty stomach so you will be less inclined to eat everything that is offered.

Alcoholic Consumption

Learn to control your alcohol intake and know your limits! In the average glass of red wine there are 158 calories, 182 calories in a pint of Carlsberg and 120 calories in a single Smirnoff with coke. Along with the high calorie content, alcohol also …

  •  Keeps your liver working overtime
  •  The body takes a long time to process it
  •  Lowers your inhibition which means you are more likely to pig out on those fatty foods.

The Average Christmas Dinner

The average calorie intake on Christmas day according to BBC food is approximately 6,000 calories. With the daily guideline of calories being 2500 for men and 2000 for women, on Christmas day the average person eats 3 days’ worth of calories. The average salt intake on Christmas day is double the daily recommended allowance at 8.87g. and Just the average Christmas dinner alone has 48g of fat (not including your breakfast ,snacks and drinks during the day). This calorific intake on Christmas day alone would take the average man 10 hours and 20 minutes of jogging and the average woman 12 hours and 20 minutes of jogging to burn off !


  •  Replace half of your alcoholic drinks with soft drinks, everyone deserves a glass or 2 of wine on Christmas day but by replacing a few glasses can dramatically reduce your calorie intake and your headache in the morning.
  •  Avoid snacking on that big box of chocolates placed temptingly in front of you – In one celebrations sweet (8g) is 36 calories! These chocolates are small and without realizing you can easily eat half the tin.
  •  Take the skin off your Christmas turkey – This can reduce the fat content in the turkey by 50% (USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory – Turkey
  • Use a little bit of oil on your roast potatoes and avoid using goose fat (although it does taste amazing) or even better, replace your roasties with boiled new potato.
  •  Use larger vegetables rather than small ones as they will absorb less fat and give you more nutrients.
  • Use custard on your pudding instead of brandy butter sauce.

Don’t Stop Exercising

With the social calendar full up and the weather getting worse, many people stop exercising all together during the festive season. Considering the increase in calorie and alcohol consumption, now is the most important time to burn those burdens off!

By Kiri Norton (Sport and Dance Therapist)

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