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    Christmas dinner sorted! And setting your weight target for the festive season – how much is too much?

    Only 13 days until the main event! My Eatwise Christmas Dinner Countdown with tips and recipes will help you make a memorable meal step by step. Christmas might not seem like the best time for setting weight targets but actually, most healthy lifestyle habits are determined in our head by planning and making decisions BEFORE being presented with the goodies at a party or the box of Roses being passed around… the flesh is weak!! When faced with temptation, the brain clocks the chance of a dopamine hit (provided by sugar, rich food, alcohol…) and caution tends to go swiftly with the wind. However, if you’ve had a chat with yourself beforehand and visualised resisting temptation, you will find it easier to pass on the things that you know you find difficult to stop eating and the next time they come around it will be  much easier to say no.

    If you’re fearful of putting on too many extra pounds over Christmas, try looking at it in a different way… shifting your focus away from food and drink -and try to avoid all those gorgeous goodies and offers in the shops at the moment and decide on a few homemade treats instead. Whether you’re out partying or at home, enjoy being with the people around you: dance, play a board game, charades, cards or whatever but make the most of the company, sharing time with those we love is what Christmas is really about.

    Remember – YOU are the gatekeeper to your fridge and kitchen (and mouth!)! Check out my tips, recipes and step by step countdown for a memorable Christmas dinner And remember, you will probably receive presents of chocolates or biscuits from somebody so keep your purchases to a minimum. If you are a parent, you are responsible for your children’s eating habits; it’s a big one as they are bombarded with advertising for sugary food and drink but it’s up to you to keep your kids at a healthy weight – don’t set them up for a hard time as an overweight teen. There are loads of fun things to make with kids to help keep sugar to a minimum… like these cute Santas from

    Get active

    As long as you’re able to walk there’s no excuse for not getting out and about over the holiday season. There are lots of organised walks / runs on around the country so get onto a friend or your partner and make a date to do one – there’s always a great buzz and all shapes and sizes of people will be there so don’t be shy! Don’t use the weather as an excuse either, just dress right for it – plan to get out every day for at least 20 minutes fresh air and everyone will feel the better for it!

    Decide on your target

    Make your decision and stick to it, you’ll feel so good when you are in control and after Christmas you can keep going to maintain a healthy weight or lose more if you need to. Choose which option suits you best:

    I want to make sure I don’t put on more than a couple of pounds

    It’s very common for people to gain 5 or 6 pounds over the Christmas period but with a little bit of care you can cut that in half… be mindful is the main advice. If you have around 500kcal extra  every day, you will gain approximately a pound a week, so try to keep to your regular pattern of regular meals and healthy snacks and have a look at my top ten list below to choose your Christmas treats, remembering that moderation is the key!

    I want to stay the same weight

    This is realistic for most people with a bit of thought and planning. The idea should be to save calories when you can for the times when you’re out or have visitors over and you want to have those extra treats. Eat plenty of vegetables, salads, soups and cut down on bread, potatoes and fried food. Always have some protein with your meals (meat, fish, eggs, soya or dairy products). Snack on small amounts of unsalted nuts and 2 pieces of fruit a day. Keep treats and alcohol to a minimum and only when you’re in company. See my Christmas top ten for foods and drinks to watch!

    I want to lose weight

    I remember a client who stunned everyone by losing over 10lb in the three weeks over the Christmas period! If this is your wish, then follow the guidelines above and restrict your treats from my Christmas top ten to two or three days over Christmas / New Year week, and then just two of those treats – I’m not saying you’ll lost 10lb but you should lose one or two!

    Christmas top ten foods to watch  

    Average calories in some of our Christmas favourites are shown below so watch the portions on these.

    Mince Pie 260kcal (plus 50kcal if you add a dollop of cream)

    Glass of wine 100kcal (red or white, 150ml, 1/5 of a bottle)

    Pint of beer or cider 220kcal

    Stuffing 60kcal (1 tablespoon)

    Roast potato (1 medium) 200kcal

    Roast parsnip (1 medium) 180kcal

    Mixed nuts (30g / 1oz / small handful) 180kcal

    Christmas pudding and brandy butter 450kcal

    Fresh cream trifle 350kcal

    Chocolates 50kcal each