Scoffed 1 too many mince pies? Wine sitting heavy on your tummy? You aren't alone. The festive bloat makes us feel uncomfortable, full and feeling pretty darn bleaugh!
It's no wonder that we feel like that, on Christmas day alone, a lot of us can eat and drink up to 6000 calories and as Christmas food and drink is usually quite rich, the excess sugars we eat can get stored as fat or glycogen. This can leave us feeling tired, sluggish and lazy.
A lot of festive food is quite stodgy and comforting. This can play havoc with our digestive system and can lead to constipation or a trapped wind feeling (NOT NICE)!
However, if you are experiencing that uncomfortable bloated feeling, then look no further. Here's my fail proof tips to banishing that bloat
Sip some warm water
Trapped wind is the number 1 cause of a bloated stomach. If you are experiencing that painful trapped wind feeling, then try sipping some warm water (slowly). It helps move undigested food through your body.
Have a cup of tea
Peppermint tea is great for that bloated feeling or trapped wind. It helps to relax your muscles which in turn helps to release gases from your body.
Go for a walk
I always go for a boxing day walk. It helps me clear my head and gets me off the sofa and feeling active again. All that festive food can make me feel abit lethargic and although it's nice to relax over Christmas, the movement can help relieve any painful bloating. Alternatively, do some stretches. The stretching movements will help encourage your body to release any trapped wind that has accumulated.
Replace your meal(s)
I know that come new year, a lot of us will embark on a Meal Replacement plan such as SMLDiet to help us lose weight and get healthy. However, if the idea of going 100% full on VLCD fills you with fear at the moment, that's ok! What you can do to kick-start your new healthy regime, is maybe replace 1 meal with 1 meal replacement. If you do this for the next 3 days, then up your meal replacement intake to 2 meal replacements per day (with less meals and snacks). Within 24 hours of embarking on this regime, you'll notice a difference in your bloat. I would recommend you start with replacing your dinner (last meal) as that's normally the most calorific meal of the day but if you still have relatives or functions to go to, you can always replace lunch or breakfast instead.
Cut out the fizz
All of those bubbles in the Champers or those sugar laden fizzy drinks can play havoc with our digestive system. Try cutting back or replacing them with water instead.
Grab a hot water bottle
Painful trapped wind? looking like you're having a food baby? grab yourself a nice hot water bottle. Not only does it help you feel cosy when snuggled on the sofa watching Christmas movies but the weight on your stomach and the heat of the water bottle can help remove some trapped wind from your body. (heat pads work just as well).
Eat Little but often
A great tip is to snack instead of having larger meals over the festive period. Usually over Christmas, we over eat and fill up very quickly. If we eat smaller meals or eat snacks instead, you're less likely to eat until you are uncomfortable.
Everything in balance
We all know that we need to have a nice balance of food types in order for our bodies to remain happy & healthy but that can go out of the window at Christmas. We often have a small window of which to enjoy ourselves (with food) so alot of us adopt the 'Go on it's Christmas' mentality (don't worry i've been guilty of that before). So we tend to reach for the biccies, the cakes, the carbs and sugars without even paying attention to the proteins and veggies on our plates. Before you reach for a turkey sandwich, Why not replace that bread with salad instead? Don't go for those chocolates, reach for some fruit instead - you'll still get that sugar sweetness but the fruit will help you feel better about the bloat than choccies would.
8 hacks to beat the festive weight gain
The festive ads are on the tv, X factor and strictly are nearly finished for the year and It's dark by 5pm. It can only mean 1 thing - it's nearly Christmas!!!
Christmas can be a time of over-whelm, over-indulgement and hang-overs <--- Lots of overs there so it's no wonder that slimmers can start to fret about the smallest of things from fitting into that party dress to how they're going to manage their VLCD around the festive activities. Don't worry we've got you sorted with our top 8 hacks for helping you beat the festive bloat (whilst still staying focused on your VLCD).
1. Be realistic over the festive season
I was chatting to a client last week about how she can manage her weight from December to January. She not only had Christmas functions to go to nearly every weekend but she also had a skiing trip from Boxing Day until after January. I asked her to realistically look at whether she thought she could stick to a VLCD plan 100%. Her answer was no so we decided to look at a plan she could do instead. This alleviated most of her concerns and she knew it was a plan she could stick to 100%. Instead of feeling bad that she wouldn't stick to VLCD, she felt confident that not only will she lose a few lbs over the festive period, she also felt that she'd had a weight lifted off her shoulders.
Ally's tip: If you have a lot going on, then sit down with a calendar & look at the days you have plans. Make an action plan mapping out the days you are able and wanting to stick to VLCD & the days you are eating at functions. What can you do on those days instead to support yourself
2. Don't use it as an excuse to eat
We're amazing at creating and believing our own excuses.It's easy to say 'Diet starts January' but so much work could be done between now and Christmas to help you lose some weight and feel better about yourself. It's also very easy to put on weight between now and January if you go completely off track.
That tin of quality street may be calling your name now but once their eaten, you'll replenish them and do it all again.
Ally's tip: Don't do your Christmas food shopping too early. I usually do mine around the 20th to avoid those 'ooh lets just open this whilst watching a movie' moments.
3. Plan and prepare
Going shopping with the besties? maybe that office party is around the corner? ensure you have a fail safe action plan for those days. There's no reason why you cant have 2 or 3 of your foodpacks on those days
Mammoth shopping trips can take it out of you. You can take a bar or 2 on those days to still stay on plan or if you do eat lunch whilst shopping, have your pack as usual in the evening instead. When you stop for a coffee or hot choc (which usually contains about 400 cals), choose a cup of tea instead.
Office party or dinner out somewhere? still have your packs as usual during the day.
Ally's tip: Before going out make shopping for the day, make sure you have bars in your handbag. If going for a Christmas party meal, look at the menu see which options best suit your diet. It's not the end of the world for your diet if you do eat off plan but remember to go straight back on it next day.
4. Make a list
Boy do I love my lists!?! I have a to do list for everything. In fact, I would be lost without my to do lists. They organise me and keep me focused. It's so easy to have a lot going on in December. Create a list of what needs doing and trust me when i say you'll feel so amazing when you see lots of items crossed off that list. BYE BYE OVERWHELM!
Ally's tip: I generally have a few lists on the go at Christmas time.
1 for presents i need to buy, 1 for work things that need to be completed before we close for Christmas. 1 for general day to day items and 1 for house work things that i need to do. I use an app called Wunderlist to help me get organised for any event. That way if i'm on the go, i can easily add it to my app.
5. Don't forget yourself
As they say 'You can't pour from an empty cup'. Make sure you take time out for yourself in December. Whether it's having a day off from your daily grind or just catching up with a cuppa and a mag. It's easy to put others before yourself but you should be the number 1 priority in your life. If you start to put yourself down the pecking order, it's easy to feel overwhelmed, exhausted or unwell and when you feel like that the last thing you want to do is focus on your VLCD. In what ways do you like to look after yourself? Schedule time out ideally once a week to ensure you don't get burnout and lose focus on what YOU want for yourself.
Ally's tip: When stocking up on the Christmas pressies, don't forget to add one to the basket for yourself. Don't feel guilty about it either. You've been working hard on losing weight, it's important to give yourself a (non-food) treat once in a while.
6. Make exercise a priority
Some of us can groan at the thought of exercise but incorporating exercise into your daily life doesn't necessarily mean high energy impact such as HIIT or slogging it at the gym. There's some incredible people to follow on youtube such as Amanda Miller - i love her exercise videos as she doesn't always use exercise equipment or the ones she does use are easily brought - such as kettlebells (my fave). You can work out at home to videos and set your own pace. You can also easily turn those everyday chores into fat busters by walking up the stairs more, parking further away when going to the shops. Turn it into a challenge for yourself and you'll be amazed at the difference it makes to your weight.
Ally's tip: I have a list of what exercises i need to do on what days (what is it with me and lists)?! On those days, i complete the exercises as soon as i wake up that way they're out of the way for the day and they help set me up mentally for a healthy day.
7. Drink your water
I feel like a broken record when I say drink your water but it really does make such a difference to your weight, your hunger and how you feel. It can help with concentration and reduces boredom eating and therefore reduces your weight.
Ally's tip: Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up. Then aim to drink a glass on the hour every hour. Set reminders on your phone. You'll see an amazing difference to your skin and wellbeing after just 21 days of drink 2 litres of water a day.
8. Set up your January
I've had people asking me what i'd like for Christmas and I've asked for items that I know will help kickstart my new year on the right foot. Ask for health minded gifts - there's some great subscription boxes that are full of amazing goodies. I usually buy Tilli (it's a non-subscription gift box) and I'm never disappointed with the goods i receive in it. The packaging is divine and every month when it arrives, It feels like my day! There's some amazing mental health gift subscription boxes such as buddy box by Blurt. They concentrate on self care and mental health. It's really worth a look. If not, why not ask for a gift hamper filled with herbal teas, pamper sets, workout items, books - anything that would make YOU feel amazing instead of something practical. PS - NEED TO SAY WE HAVE NOT BEEN PAID OR SPONSORED TO MENTION THESE BRANDS. THEY ARE JUST PERSONAL RECOMMENDATIONS BY MYSELF AFTER USING THEM (Tili) OR FROM SEEING REVIEWS (BLURT).
Set yourself up & remember to put yourself first in everything you do!
P.S Do share these hacks with friends who are slimming with you.
PPS If you have any of your own hacks, please do mention them in the comments. We all love some extra inspiration.
Ally is a Life Coach and weight management counsellor with the SMLDiet.
The SMLDiet is a leading weight loss plan in the UK. Specialising in VLCD (Very Low Calorie Diets), TFR (Total Food Replacement products and meal replacements.