6. Using Alcohol to Unwind

You Think: ‘That champagne is really giving me a nice buzz after weeks of stress. I’m going to help myself relax by having a few more.’

The Fallout:

Because it’s a drink, we often completely ignore that alcohol can pack a powerful kilojoule punch. “Beer, wine, spirits and cocktails are all high in calories and devoid of any good nutrition, so there is no nutritional benefit gained from consuming them,” says Gawthorne.

“While I don’t think there is too much of an issue with consuming small, safe amounts of one to two standard drinks of alcohol on social occasions, it’s important not to look at Christmas and New Year’s as an excuse to drink to excess. This will lead to weight gain and could cause potential health issues (such as hangovers and stomach irritation).”

Remember, alcohol often comes alongside foods like salty nuts and chips that may be harder to resist once we’ve had a few. “And if you’re feeling worse for wear the next day, you may also indulge in a big fatty breakfast,” Gawthorne adds.

Christmas Comeback:

» Make a trade-off: Decide how you are going to spend your kilojoules before each function. “If you want to indulge, for example, in a slice of your favourite Christmas cake after dinner, then you won’t want to be drinking lots of alcohol,” Gawthorne says. “Or if you want to enjoy a few alcoholic drinks, then you might need to forgo the dessert or avoid the high-kilojoule cheeses after dinner.”

» De-stress without alcohol: Not only is the lead-up to Christmas rushed and stressed for many people, but being with family is often super stressful too. So take time to stop and recharge your batteries. That may mean you engage in daily meditation, a morning swim or time out to read a book from cover to cover. The less stressed you are and the more enjoyable your Christmas holiday, the less likely you are to use food as a Christmas feelgood crutch.

 

NEXT: Beat the Christmas snacking blowout with these top tips.