A lighter Christmas

A classic roast Slimming World style

A classic roast Slimming World style - Credit: Archant

As the festive season approaches, piling on the pounds can seem inevitable. But Norwich Slimming World consultant Claire Utting has tips for healthy Christmas eating, as Judith Palmer reports

It’s the time of year when meals out fill the calendar, and nights in are spent indulging on chocolates, alcohol and anything that doesn’t require getting out from under our warm blanket. But how can you enjoy the festive build-up without building up your weight too, especially if you are watching the scales?

It’s possible to enjoy without over-indulging, says Claire Utting, consultant at the Thorpe Hamlet Slimming World group. Claire joined as a member in 2011, after having been unable to shed the weight she gained while pregnant, and also suffering from depression and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. “My life changed, instantly,” she recalls. “Less than a year later I was loving life, eating delicious home cooked food, off all medication and delighted to find myself pregnant again.”

Just four months after the birth of her son, Claire was back to her pre-pregnancy weight and was so delighted with her results she became a Slimming World consultant and started her own group.

So what are her secrets for a healthy Christmas without feeling like you’ve missed out? “Sticking with it,” says Claire. “It can be the difference between seeing a loss in the New Year or a gain of anything up to a stone.”

If you’re cooking the Christmas roast this year, Claire advises that just a few simple changes can make a big difference: “Removing the fat and skin from meat, roasting your potatoes in low calorie cooking spray and serving with plenty of vegetables, are the easiest ways to make your roast more weight loss friendly.”

If you’ve avoided the hosting duties, you can feel like you have to relinquish control, says Claire: “we start to feel it’s hopeless, so we give up before we start”. But don’t give up all hope. She advises: “The thing to remember is that this occasion is just one meal, on one day, and needn’t jeopardise your whole Christmas.”

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If a buffet beckons, she suggests looking for the lower calorie items - and if you’re really worried, take your own food. “Bringing a bottle isn’t unusual, so what not bring a dish?”

And when you’ve survived the Christmas feast, make sure you have saved enough willpower for the New Year’s party. “If you’re going out for drinks, then opt for a single shot of spirit (35ml) with a low calorie mixer, or go for a white wine spritzer with diet lemonade,” advises Claire.

“My motto to my members is ‘On plan when I can’ because we know there will be tricky times. But I remind everyone that losing weight is a choice and if they make the choice to stay on plan whenever you possibly can, they will find they can sail into the New Year in control and ready for more success.”

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