The idea of gaining weight over the festive season is so ingrained in the Christmas culture of food and drink that we almost take it for granted. Of course we all indulge in December a little more than we normally would during the other eleven months of the year, but does this really mean we are all in danger of gaining unnecessary weight in the run up to Christmas and New Year’s Eve?

The short answer, according to the stats, is yes.

In fact, as a population the UK is more likely to gain weight now than at any other time of year. The average person will gain an extra 1.3 pounds during the holiday season, and in the case of extravagant eating and drinking sessions like Christmas dinner we may even consume a day’s worth of calories in a matter of hours. And although it may seem like a single month of excess isn't a big deal, it can be incredibly difficult to shift that weight again in the New Year.

In many cases, a poor diet in December only causes us to crave fatty and sugary foods and drinks in January - something a couple of weeks in the gym in January won't tackle effectively. Over time, a poor diet can have health implications such as poor heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even impotence.

But fear not, preventing weight gain at Christmas is easier than you might think.

5 tips for preventing weight gain at Christmas

There are no quick fixes for preventing weight gain at Christmas. It’s all about knowing how to stay healthy in December and keeping these measures in place throughout the festive period. But this doesn’t have to be difficult, and certainly doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the festivities.

3 square meals

Research from the University of Massachusetts suggests that people who eat three or more times a day tend to weigh less. A main factor behind this is the simple fact that when we eat three hearty, balanced meals, we feel less inclined to graze throughout the day on all the sweets and chocolates lying around at Christmas. Breakfast is particularly important — options like porridge can help you feel fuller throughout the morning.

Everything in moderation

Simply put, the secret to knowing how to stay healthy in December is to take everything in moderation, especially food. Remember, research shows that it takes twenty minutes for your body to register when it is satiated. So have a breather at dinner time before heading up for a second helping, and think: “am I really hungry?”

Winter walks

As well as improving your mood and increasing your creativity, walking for thirty minutes a day can also help you lose weight or just keep the pounds off by improving your body’s response to insulin. That’s why, as well as being a delightful festive activity to do together, winter walks in December are a great and simple way of preventing weight gain at Christmas.

Know the risks of booze

Alcohol promotes weight gain in several different ways, making it particularly dangerous if you’re trying to stay healthy over Christmas. Alcohol supplies you with excess calories, promotes a higher appetite, increases your impulsiveness and reduces your willpower. It also increases feelings of lethargy the next day, making you less likely to take part in anything remotely active.

Of course a few festive tipples at Christmas is nothing to be ashamed of, but, like food, it’s important to moderate your intake for a simple way of preventing weight gain at Christmas.

Consider medication for preventing weight gain at Christmas

If you are overweight and feel your health is suffering as a result, NHS-approved medication like Xenical can help you lose weight in a way that’s healthy. It works by preventing your body from absorbing the fat from the food you eat, meaning you are far less likely to put on increasing amounts of weight over the festive season.

In clinical studies, almost two thirds of participants using Xenical lost at least 5 per cent of their body fat. Other clinically proven options include Mysimba: a weight loss medication which acts within the brain to reduce appetite.

For advice, treatment and support about how to stay healthy in December, contact the team at Express Pharmacy today. Give us a call on 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet online Live Chat service.