Christmas Weight Gain: Enjoy the food without the guilt!

Warnings about impending weight gain over the holidays are as prevalent as eggnog, chocolates and Christmas cake. It’s true that tucking into a 6,000 kcal feast is not the best course for your overall health, yet an extra slice of dessert does not have to mean the death certificate for your annual nutritional goals.

But no-one should feel miserable about the heavier meals and parties that December brings. So pass the roast and let’s discuss navigating any growing anxiety about the holiday spread.

The Truth about Christmas and Weight Gain

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Although the festive season might cause for some weight gain scares. While headlines scream 1-4kg in weight gain, these figures, although undeniably scary, are dubious. Still, the approach to commence crash dieting is most prevalent around the holiday season; and though it might help you drop dress sizes, the results are short-lived, and can negatively impact your body and mind.

The drastic reduction of calories slows down metabolic rate and burns calories  slower, and breaks down muscle, is damaging for hair and skin quality, and most importantly weakens your immune system. Besides, crash dieting hinders the body’s ability to absorb healthy fats which are integral for the complete absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K by your body. You don’t need an expert to tell you that this doesn’t sound like an ideal solution to your overall health.

christmas festive weight loss wellness wellbeing gafencu lifestyle hong kong

So, are a few indulgent meals going to resign you to a life of ill health and bloating, or avoiding holiday weight gain is as impossible as Santa slipping down a billion chimneys on Christmas Eve? The answer is not all black or white.

A decade long independent clinical analysis on more than 120,000 healthy Americans carried out by the National Institutes of Health, found that a highly processed, junk food-heavy diet caused an average weight gain of three pounds in over four-year periods – clearly, fostering a balanced lifestyle for 364 days a year is more important than obsessing over one holiday that calls for a grand celebration.

Seasonal Variations in Weight Are Normal

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Our bodies have a remarkable ability to maintain a steady weight, or a set point weight, over the long term. A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that on average our weight fluctuates only 0.5kg throughout the year. It peaks in winter, due to the side-lining of a healthy lifestyle, but bounces back to normal.

80/20 Approach 

Eating fresh, natural foods, and shunning a high-sugar, high-salt, ultra-processed diet will provide long-term benefits for your health and your figure. Yet, it would be rather Scrooge-like to renounce all treats in December. Nutritionists recommend intuitive eating instead, which means careful selection of nibbles and an understanding of moderation and hunger cues.

The 80/20 rule diet weighs in here: eat ‘clean’ 80-percent of the time and allow yourself to indulge more freely during the other 20-percent. The knowledge that 100-percent compliance is not required is enough for most of us to stick to a balanced, healthy eating plan in the long term.

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Pick Your Poison Wisely

We know that alcohol is empty calories, similar to candy and soda, when mixed with syrups and juices it packs a heavy amount of carbohydrates, but now research has found it also slows the body’s fat-burning ability by nearly 30-percent. That doesn’t mean you have to quit cold turkey or deny yourself social situations because you’re obsessed about your weight and health.

The World Health Organisation recommends a maximum of two drinks per day in the festive week – anything over that amounts to binge drinking. A glass of beer can have 140 to 200 kcal, while a large whisky neat has 70 to 90 kcal, but once you top that with mixers or make a decadent cocktail, it will probably pack in more calories than a beer. Only Vodka Soda is a great option for the calorie-conscious drinker. It’s Hong Kong’s first zero sugar, zero carbs and premium vodka soda and comes in a can— no affiliation but perfect for those who want their tipples but not the carbs. 

Break a Sweat

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While sticking to an exercise routine is challenging during the busy days of December, workouts don’t have to be overly long or more strenuous to get results. An extra 30-minutes could help counteract last night’s office dinner.

If you’re pressed for time amid an influx of people and parties, split your session into short, doable bouts. Any extra steps you can get in are also better than slumping on the sofa. Keeping the load on your feet, and unnecessary worry about fleeting seasonal weight gain from your mind, results in a healthy body.

(Text: Nikita Mishra)

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Season’s Feasting: Christmas dining in the heart of TST

‘Tis the party, mulled wine and turkey season… If you’re still on the fence of where to gather with your friends and family for a mega Christmas feast or even planning ahead for a New Year’s Eve dinner – the hassle-free, spectacular spread at Savvy, a modern, social dining destination in Harbour City Mall, is a well-priced sumptuous option to book. This 240-seater restaurant offers a vibrant, hearty menu with plenty of instagrammable moments. Scroll below for all the details. 

Season’s Feasting

It’s not just classic turkey and trimmings here, an alternative festive meal at Savvy starts with a smorgasbord of sumptuous seafood and appetizers from the cold table. We’re talking snow crab, lobster brown, cray fish and black mussel followed by a Thai, Indian, Chinese, Western and wait for it… Indonesian main course. If you can still manage appetite for desserts (and you must, its Christmas after all!), the chestnut cake, earl grey tea and black currant cakes are a winter wonderland – sweet as the taste of holidays and indulgent as they should be…
Price: HK$ 888/person

Also Read: Best 2021 Christmas Menus in Hong Kong

Ring in the New Year

It’s never too early to plan how and where you’re going to roll into 2022. So, whilst you’re shopping for the latest decor items and still scurrying about to fix your last minute Christmas tree, let’s get your end-of-year plans more organised. Chef de Cuisine Derek Ng has designed a spectacularly heart-warming menu for your last dinner of the year! Warm up to the night with burrata, a 36-month Iberico, a zesty Tom Yum Kung. Mains include a huge variety of ayam goring kunyit, nasi kuning, turmeric chicken, yellow rice, north Indian chicken, baked naan, Australian Wagyu beef steak, served along with a Rose Champagne and lemon sorbet… This is not even the whole menu, the mains itself are a buffet feast to remember. 
Price: HK$ 888/person

Savvy Bar and Lounge Restaurant, 3209A, Level, Harbour City, GW, 3 Gateway Boulevard, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

(The post is in partnership with Savvy Bar and Lounge Restaurant)

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