Seven ways to Bant like a Christmas champ this season

The festive season is a time for unwinding after a busy year, but it’s also a time filled with celebrations with family and friends.

These celebrations can be a minefield of navigation, especially if you don’t want to undo any of the Banting success you’ve achieved this year.

Don’t stress; we’ve got your back. Our handy tips below will help you get through the festivities, without too much extra baggage.

Eat off smaller plates.

A study conducted by Prof Brian Wansink and Dr Koert van Ittersum found that changing the size of your plate from the standard 12 inch (30 cm) to a smaller 10 inch (25 cm) reduces the amount you eat without it having an effect on your perceived fullness or satisfaction. The study deduced that we serve ourselves in proportion to the size of the plate we are given as a result of the Delboeuf illusion. This leads people to serve more on larger plates and less on smaller ones. Logical really. Some of us do feel the need to finish everything on our plates, even when we know we’re full, by using a smaller plate you will be less likely to overeat and still feel satisfied at the same time.

Be polite at a dinner party, but know your limits.

Being a guest at a dinner party can sometimes be even more stressful than hosting the party. If you know the host well, explain your dietary needs beforehand, to give you peace of mind and so that you don’t unwittingly upset the host by not eating the food. If you find yourself in a situation where you have to eat the food to seem polite, take a tiny amount of the high carb food and lots of salad/greens, unless the food in question will make you feel awful, in which case politely decline, by giving a brief explanation. Another option is to eat before you go so that you aren’t too hungry and don’t feel forced (or tempted) to eat what you don’t want to (or what you will regret eating in the morning).

Take a plate of food.

If you are invited to an event, offer to take a plate of Banting–friendly snacks with you, that way there will definitely be something you know you can eat.

Ramp up the gut-friendly foods.

Your best line of defense against the festive season might just be to increase your gut-friendly foods. This can be in the form of broth, apple cider vinegar, fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, or all of the above. Every time you eat something “carby,” your gut microbiota changes to deal with it. By ramping up your gut-friendly foods, probiotics, and prebiotics, you will help to keep your gut health strong and hopefully stave away the bloating, and uncomfortable tummy woes.

Keep active.

When on holiday make keeping active fun - dancing, walking (on the beach, to the shops, etc.) or swimming can fit right into your schedule with little effort. Even a few bicep curls with the shopping packets could work. Keeping energetic is also an enjoyable family bonding experience. How about a game of “Marco, Polo” in the pool or Frisbee on the beach?

Find a balance between eating and not eating.

If you find that you have indulged a little too much – possibly gorged on turkey and stuffing and are now feeling pretty stuffed yourself. Don’t feel obliged to carry on eating at the next meal. Your body will actually thank you for skipping a meal and giving it time to digest all the food. Giving your body about 16 hours after a heavy meal to digest the food, will help deplete the glycogen stores in your liver, and it will start to utilise the glycogen in the fat stores, which can prevent you from putting on any unnecessary weight.

Increase your water consumption.

Dehydration from drinking one too many Kir Royals and eating a few mince pies might leave you feeling flat, with a fussy head and poor concentration. Drinking lots of water is your best bet to flush everything out of your system.

And the most important tip – if you slip up, don’t fall completely off the Bant-wagon so that you land up under the tyres, almost trampled to death. In other words, don’t let one cheat derail everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve this year. Brush yourself off and pick up your happy Banting ways from the very next meal.

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