When it comes to Christmas, it is all the various parties that are notorious for causing us to gain unwanted weight.
From the office to our friends and families, everyone wants us to have a good time and in Singapore, that means feeding us lots of yummy snacks and treats. Add on the Christmas lunches and dinners, and before you know it, you are about to burst out of your clothes.
This is where the sometimes derided action of calorie counting can actually help you keep on top of what you are actually eating and drinking while having a good gossip.
Dr Soh Lea Sar is a medical doctor who really knows what she’s talking about when it comes to helping you keep off the weight.
Dr Soh has an MBBS from the National University of Singapore, a Grad Dip FP in Dermatology and a Graduate Diploma in Geriatrics Medicine from the National University of Singapore; she is also the medical director and founder of the Healthsprings group of clinics.
“We can reduce weight gain by counting the calories that we take in at a party, taking into account the calorie requirements we need in a day,” explains Dr Soh.
Counting Christmas calories
According to Dr Soh, it is a good idea to work out how many calories you really need to eat each day. You can access the Health Hub Calorie Calculator to check what you need, it is based on your weight, age and activity level.
“For example, if you need 2000 calories a day, you can allocate about 700 to 800 calories for Christmas dinner,” says Dr Soh.
“Three slices of the roast turkey may count for about 300 calories and a slice of a Christmas log cake may set you back about 300 calories. Checking what you eat and the calories of each food item will help you gauge how much to eat and when to stop during the dinner.”
Reduce Christmas Carbs
Dr Soh says you should cut down on carbohydrates like rice, potatoes and pasta. “Take more vegetables and fruits instead. Fruits high in antioxidants like strawberries, berries and cherries are preferred to improve your health and help keep the weight off.”
Eat fewer cakes and chocolates as they definitely add to your calorie count says Dr Soh.
Pick Healthy Options
Choose fish and vegetables over sweet desserts and chips.
Small Portions and eat slowly
Often during the Christmas party period, we tend to rush from event to event grabbing whatever looks good. Make an effort to sit down and eat a proper meal at one of your events, then just grab fruit at the other ones. “Eating slowly and choosing a small portion on a small plate will allow you to count the calories and reduce your intake. As you eat slowly, you will feel full faster and reduce overeating,” explains Dr Soh.
Drink more mineral water or plain still water and fewer soft drinks, juices and wine suggests Dr Soh. “Wine and soft drinks contain calories which contribute to weight gain. A glass of wine can set you back by 150 to 200 calories. Water will also make you feel full, reducing your calorie intake.”
Don’t Stop Exercising!
Dr Soh says you should maintain your regular exercise routine during the Christmas holidays so that you can burn off all those extra Christmas calories. “If you have eaten more than your daily required calories, you can increase the exercise to burn off more energy to offset the extra calories taken in,” says Dr Soh. “For example, you can exercise for an extra 30 minutes to burn off the extra 200 calories that you have eaten during the party.”
So there you go. Count your Christmas calories to help stave off the dreaded Christmas Party paunch.
Dr Soh Lea Sar is the founder and medical director of the Healthsprings Group of five clinics consisting of Medical Aesthetics clinics and GP clinics in Bukit Panjang, Orchard and Bidadari Estate, as well as a medical spa in Orchard Road.