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Fighting festive fat

THE festive season is upon us again and for many that means a diary full of Christmas functions.

It’s a time for attending countless corporate functions and eating something deep-fried from every tray that passes within arm’s length of your mouth.

It’s also a time when a hectic social schedule and plays havoc with your exercise regime.

According to food and body experts, there are indeed a few tricks to beating the bulge in the next month or so.

“You don’t need to gain a lot of weight if you watch the quantities of what you’re eating,” said Diana Osler, consultant dietitian at the Perth Diet Clinic.

“What people tend to do at Christmas, if you’re at a corporate dinner or a corporate party, is eat everything that’s there.”

But Michael Towey from All Seasons Catering believes this is less true than it used to be.

“In years gone by people were keen to get their monies worth, in other words, ‘Right good on you we’re getting free food and free drinks, time to hoe into it’.”

“Nowadays people are holding back, and when food is being passed around, they may skip on two or three things and come back in on the fourth and fifth item.”

Ms Osler also recommends you keep a keen eye on the type of foods you eat at functions.

“Have small quantities of dips, with vegetables rather than biscuits.

“Make sure you have small serves of things like Christmas pudding, mince pies.

“Have much more in the way of fish (rather than roast pork) when you’re looking at the Christmas dinner.”

Beware the hidden calories “coleslaw dressing, your tossed salad would have a lot of dressing in (oil and vinegar)” and the deadly desserts, “pudding, trifles, cheesecakes.”

Instead eat, “fresh fruit salads, ricotta cheese, yoghurt cheese, fruit dips, with low fat yogurts or diet yoghurts.”

She also suggests that if you can have a hand in the ordering of the food, take the opportunity to order low fat.

Mr Towey added that we are taking heed of this type of advice.

“There is less emphasis on fried food and movement towards lighter dishes.”

“For example, 15 years ago, you would never see sushi at a cocktail party on St George’s Terrace. But now, we do a lot of sushi.

“The movement towards white meat is phenomenal. The chicken has replaced red meat in many ways. And fish of course.

“We do a lot of low fat fillings. At least 20 per cent of all the food we put out is vegetarian.

Ms Osler also recommends that you keep an eye on your glass.

“The alcohol intake is a very important thing. People have to learn to sip drinks.

“Go for a wine spritza - a small amount of wine in the bottom of the glass and soda water.”

A glass of wine is just as bad as a gin and tonic in the long run, but both are better than a creamy or sugary cocktail.

And, of course, she also strongly recommended that normal exercise routines don’t vanish into not-so-thin air: “If you’re having all these extras the exercise is very important.”

Tino Lena, manager of the CBD Health Spa agreed, saying that rather than doing less exercise, you should probably do more.

“It means that it you’ve got a function coming up, you’re aware of it, lets do that little bit of extra exercise coming into it.

“People in the city become more aware that they need to exercise, however there are time restraints around that time of the year because there is just function after function.

“More than anything that’s what stops them (from exercise) it’s not basic laziness or anything like that. It’s just that they’ve go too many things on. There’s no chance for moderation.”

You’ll be glad to hear there are a few sneaky ways to exercise.

“Incidental exercise is probably the most important thing, like taking the stairs instead of the lift.

“Now these (types of exercises) account for a massive amount of calorie burn over the course of a week.”

So what does he recommend?

“Make December stairs month, don’t take the elevator all month, because you know you’re going to be pigging out.

“Don’t send out for your lunch, get out of your chair, and walk down and get it.”

So there you have it, it is possible to stop you’re waistline exploding like so many discarded Christmas-crackers.

Eat - just don’t eat everything put in front of you. Drink – but wine spritzers not pina coladas. Be merry – exercise with a smile.

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