Millions of people up and down the country will have enjoyed many meals, snacks and feasts this Christmas. Enjoying more food than usually consumed, combined with less physical movement can result in weight gain. Diet expert Dr Michael Mosley has shared a few tips for anyone looking to shed a few festive pounds.
Dr Michael said: “The winter months are when we put on the most weight, typically one to two pounds as we huddle indoors eating comfort foods.”
The first thing that needs to be addressed is the difference between hunger and appetite.
He explained: “Appetite is the sudden urge to eat, while hunger is a gnawing feeling that’s much harder to ignore or control.
“Our urge to eat, our appetite, is largely driven by spotting tempting treats, as well as by stress and other emotional drivers.”
For anyone looking to resist tasty treats this New Year, Dr Michael has some science-based tips.
Eat chocolate two hours before a meal
Not something most would traditionally suggest, but Dr Michael discusses the benefits of eating small pieces of dark chocolate before a meal.
He quoted a study: “In the journal Nutrition and Diabetes in 2008, volunteers who ate 100g of dark chocolate two hours before a meal consumed 140 fewer calories at the next meal than they did after eating milk chocolate.
“They also reported a big drop in the urge to eat other sweet, fatty or savoury snacks.”
TV and other screens turned off
Many like to do something while eating, be it reading a book, catching up on the online news or watching a television programme.
But the mindless attention can cause extra calories to be consumed.
Dr Michael suggests not staying “up late to watch TV” as a lack of sleep can also drive hunger.
He explained: “Lack of sleep raises your levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, and boosts activity in areas of the brain involved in viewing food, particularly high-calorie food, as a positive reward.”