Study looks at how to stop the pounds piling on at Christmas!!
We all love to forget about diets and exercising and healthy living around Christmas time and after the tough year every one has had we all deserve to take a well-earned break from the daily routines of our lives. This is all very well but we all know that the over-indulgence of Christmas can come back to bite us in the New Year.
A study carried out by the University of Birmingham and Loughborough highlighted some of the areas where we should be careful around Christmas time, when one extra mince pie can make a difference. Research has found that regular weighing at home and simple tips to curb excess eating and drinking can prevent people from piling on the pounds at Christmas.
The participants in the study were given 10 top tips for weight management along with a list of how much physical activity would be needed to burn off calories found in popular food and drinks consumed at Christmas.
Frances Mason, of the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Applied Health Research, said: “On Christmas Day alone, an individual might consume 6,000 calories – three times the recommended daily allowance. On average people gain a weight of up to 1kg (2.2lbs) each year and Christmas eating is responsible for most of this annual weight gain. This weight gain is not subsequently lost and, although these gains are small, over 10 years they would lead to a significant increase in body weight.
Research shows that being overweight or obese is a cause of 12 different types of cancer. This fact cannot be ignored. Ireland is getting heavier and we have to look at this seriously.
|SO HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO BURN OFF YOUR FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS TREATS?|
|Festive food||Calories||Walking (mins)||Running (mins)|
|1 thick slice of roast turkey (60g)||100||16||8|
|5 pigs in blankets||70||12||6|
|3 large roast potatoes (100g)||161||27||14|
|Brussel sprouts (100g)||35||6||3|
|1 mini sausage roll||53||9||4|
|1 mini pork pie||370||60||32|
|5 Roses chocolates||240||39||21|
|1 slice Christmas cake (60g)||213||35||18|
|1 bag dry roasted peanuts (100g)||740||122||63|
|1 mince pie (65g)||245||40||21|
|5 tbsp gravy (125g)||50||8||4|
|1 small Christmas pudding (450g)||1280||210||110|
|Small glass of mulled wine||192||33||17|
|Pint of lager||180||30||16|
Tips to reduce calorie intake over Christmas.
- Try to eat roughly the same time each day, whether this is two or five times a day.
- Chose reduced fat foods (e.g. dairy foods, spreads, salad dressings) where you can. Use high fat food sparingly (e.g. butter and oils) if at all.
- Walk 10,000 steps each day (equivalent to 60-90 minutes moderate activity).
- If you snack, choose a healthy option such as fresh fruit or low calorie yogurts instead of chocolate or crisps.
- Be careful about food claims on labels. Check the fat and sugar on labels when shopping and preparing food.
- Do not heap food on your plate, except vegetables. Think twice before having second helpings.
- Break up your sitting time. Stand up for ten minutes of every hour.
- Think about your drinks. Choose water or sugar free squashes. Unsweetened fruit juice contains natural sugar so limit to one glass a day (200ml). Alcohol is high in calories so limit to one unit per day for women and two for men. Try diluting drinks with water, soda or low calorie mixers.
- Slow down. Do not eat on the go or while watching TV. Eat at a table if possible.
- Eat at least nine portions of fruit and vegetables a day (400g in total).
As well as eating more healthily, I think the Christmas season can also offer us a chance to wrap up well and get outdoors. Kids need to run around and expend energy. Perhaps offer screen time after they have done their physical activity. We all benefit from moving our bodies and listed below are 7 benefits of regular physical activity. From boosting your mood to improving your sex life, find out how exercise can improve your life. The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age, sex or physical ability.
- Exercise controls weight
Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn. Regular trips to the gym are great, but don’t worry if you can’t find a large chunk of time to exercise every day. Any amount of activity is better than none at all. To reap the benefits of exercise, just get more active throughout your day — take the stairs instead of the lift or rev up your household chores. Consistency is key.
- Exercise combats health conditions and diseases
Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent high blood pressure? No matter what your current weight is, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol, and it decreases unhealthy fats. Regular exercise helps prevent or manage many health problems and concerns, including:
- Metabolic syndrome
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Many types of cancer
It can also help improve cognitive function (ie brain power) and helps lower the risk of death from all causes.
- Exercise improves mood
Need an emotional lift? Or need to blow off some steam after a stressful day or too much family over Christmas? A gym session or brisk walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier, more relaxed and less anxious.
You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
- Exercise boosts energy
Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores.
- Exercise promotes better sleep
Struggling to snooze? Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster, get better sleep and deepen your sleep. Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too energized to go to sleep.
- Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life
physical activity can improve energy levels and increase your confidence about your physical appearance, which may boost your sex life. But there’s even more to it than that. Regular physical activity may enhance arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don’t exercise.
- Exercise can be fun … and social!
Exercise and physical activity can be enjoyable. They give you a chance to unwind, enjoy the outdoors or simply engage in activities that make you happy. Physical activity can also help you connect with family or friends in a fun social setting.
So take a dance class, hit the hiking trails or join a soccer team. Find a physical activity you enjoy, and just do it. Kids mimic adults and with rising child obesity in Ireland, adults must take responsibility for the physical health and fitness of their own children. If kids see you exercising, then it’s a natural step for them to copy you. If they can’t see it, they can’t be it!
The bottom line on exercise
Exercise and physical activity are great ways to feel better, boost your health and have fun. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health recommends:
- At least 150 minutes (that’s 2 hours and 30mins) a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes (1 hour 15mins) a week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread this exercise throughout the week. Examples include running, walking or swimming. Even small amounts of physical activity are helpful, and accumulated activity throughout the day adds up to provide health benefits.
- Strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. Examples include lifting free weights, using weight machines or doing body-weight training.
Spread your activities throughout the week. If you want to lose weight, meet specific fitness goals or get even more benefits, you may need to ramp up your moderate aerobic activity to 300 minutes or more a week.
Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any concerns about your fitness, haven’t exercised for a long time, have chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis.
On that happy note! – Perhaps the message to take home might simply suggest we are more aware of what we are eating and how we are exercising over the Yuletide. Maybe then, the New Year will be full of achievable resolutions.
Covid 19 may change how you spend your Christmas and it may be different than normal but wherever you are I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers and customers in Grant’s Pharmacy a very Happy Christmas and a healthy New Year. See you all soon. Drop into any Grant’s Pharmacy and speak to your Pharmacist for free and in confidence. Every Grant’s Pharmacy has a private consultation room where you can discuss any personal ailments in private and without embarrassment. Grants Pharmacy, Wexford, Enniscorthy (Duffry and Rafter Street), Gorey and Arklow. Find us on Facebook and Instagram.