Charlie’s Christmas Nutrition Survival Kit

Personal Trainer Charlie Fardon

How to Avoid An Expanding Waist Line This Christmas - Podcast Transcript

Hi, I’m Charlie from iOme Fitness. I’m a personal trainer, motivator and posture correction coach. I love cooking nutritious colourful tasty food. Every week I lead a small group of clients in the art of fun movement, eating for goal achievement and planning for fitness goal success.

In following the fitness and nutrition advice I give, you can go on to achieve anything that you set your mind to.

I don’t believe in dieting and this Christmas survival kit is not a diet. Diets have a begin and an end,and if at the end you go back to eating as you did before, then in no time at all you’ll be back to square one.

My nutrition advice is practical, allows you to enjoy your social life and is based on methods that have consistently helped my clients to achieve their goals.


It’s that time of year again, Christmas parties are fast approaching and the thought of clothes feeling tighter may be making you dread the month ahead.

In this Christmas nutrition survival kit I will teach you how to:

Prevent weight gain over the festive season.
Enjoy what you eat when you’re eating out without feeling guilty
Get through Christmas Day and the following days without feeling bloated.
1- Preventing Weight Gain

Now you may or may not need to drop a few inches, but for the majority an increase in inches around the tummy , thighs and arms are definitely what we want to stay away from this Christmas.

The suggestion of putting on pounds or inches over Christmas as a nation has been a message that has been embedded in our minds for decades. You’ll hear people say things like ‘Oooo It’s Christmas. Don’t worry about what you eat‘ or ‘Eat as much as you want and then think about losing it in January.

This is the first task . Change your mindset.

Erase everything that anyone has ever told you about food at Christmas. Erase those thoughts such as it being a natural time to gain weight, or a time for sitting down and doing absolutely nothing for days on end. Replace it with the conscience decision that Christmas is a time that you will enjoy but also a time that you won’t be going up a clothes size.

So how exactly are you going to do you this? I’m now going to give you the 6 step process of preventing weight gain over the festive season.

Step 1: Make sugar your enemy. There is hidden sugar everywhere. In Alcohol, sauces, yoghurts and bread just to name a few.

Did you know that in a glass of sweet white wine you could be consuming up to 15g of sugar? If you’re wondering what that looks like it’s the equivalent of approximately 4 teaspoons of sugar and if you want a quick way to say yes or no to food products or drinks containing sugar just remember that 4 grams of sugar is equal to one teaspoon of sugar.

So why is sugar so bad?

Firstly Eating a lot of sugar will chronically raise the insulin levels in your blood. This will then encourages the energy from the food that you eat to be deposited into fat cells. Secondly, Consuming fructose in large amounts. (Fructose being one of the most common types of simple sugars you’ll find in foods and drink) will make you ridiculously hungry more so than glucose. It can also wreak havoc on your hormones. Specifically the hormone Leptin which is very important as it is the hormone that controls hunger levels and also the hormone that tells you when you’ve had enough to eat.

For this reason be very very weary of sugary drinks. They simply won’t satisfy your hunger, They’ll raise your blood sugar levels and they’ll also give you a large dose of liquid calories with zero nutritional benefit and a free ticket for an expanding waist line.

So is fruit bad for you?

There is a lot of confusion around the consumption of whole fruit. You’ll here advice from the government telling us to eat fruit every day. You’ll hear some personal trainers telling you to cut out fruit completely and you’ll also here others who go a step further in suggesting specific times that different types of fruit can help you achieve your fitness goals. I won’t go into the specifics of each of these views during this podcast but I will be discussing this in a future podcast.

Back to whether fruit is bad for you. Yes fruit contains fructose and as I mentioned before in large doses fructose can make you hungrier and wreak havoc on your hormones; however there is simply not enough fructose in whole fruit to consume a large dose. (For example you’d need to eat at least 8 apples a day to see the negative results of fructose intake from fruit). Furthermore fruits’s longer digestion process and the fact that it’s nutritional density (I.e fibre, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and plant compounds) is substantially higher than fructose from other sources means that when fructose from fruit arrives at your liver, it does so slowly and in small amounts making it significantly easier for the body to process. High fibre along with the polyphenol content of fruit in fact reduces the rise in blood sugar caused by glucose and sucrose. Keep in mind that with all foods there are some that are nutritionally superior to others. The same principle applies to fruit.

Steer Clear of Dried Fruit and Juices

Consuming fruit in the form of dried fruit or fruit juices is definitely a bad idea. Dried fruit is very high in sugar and easy to overeat. It is also more likely to have added sugar.

Look at the label of most fruit juice cartons and you’ll find that most of what’s inside is not real fruit juice. It’s likely to be a mix of water, concentrate and lots of added sugar. Even if you do manage to find 100% real fruit juice, consuming it in liquid form is not the best. The lack of fibre and chewing resistance as well as the increased amount of sugar that you will consume in one small glass compared for example to say one whole apple, means that you will easily be having a much larger sugar intake than you should. Not only this but the fructose in a glass of fruit juice will be processed by your liver much quicker than eating fruit in whole form.

Bottom line is: whole fruit is not bad for you but if you’re trying to get into ketosis (which is a metabolic switch from burning carbohydrates to burning fats for energy) or if fruit makes your your sugar cravings worse then cutting it out may be a good plan. Also if you’re not happy with your weight loss then yes try cutting out fruit. There is no study in existence or evidence that I can provide that is better than your own experience.

Step 2 – Don’t eat to the point that you feel sick

The average human stomach can handle between one and one-and-a-half litres of food before you find that you feel sick. The stomach can also stretch to accommodate approximately 4 litres before it ruptures. At Christmas food is plentiful and it’s likely that you won’t keep track of how much you’ve had to eat. It’s safe to say that for the majority, most of what’s consumed will be high in fat, sugar and carbohydrates. Whenever you eat a meal high in these things you might find that you feel sleepy. This is by no means a coincidence. The reason behind this feel of lethargy is that your parasympathetic nervous system is telling your body to slow down and focus on digesting the meal. If you don’t listen to your body and continue eating you’ll find that you run into more problems later on down the line.

What problems ? Your fat cells produce the hormone leptin, which binds with receptors in the brain to tell you that you’re no longer hungry and if you regularly eat more than your body needs you’ll produce more leptin as leptin levels are directly related to your body fat percentage. As you continue to overeat over time you will build up a resistance to leptin, which will then disrupt your brain’s ability to recognise when you’re full, leading to regularly overeating and inevitable weight gain. This clearly won’t happen overnight but say for instance your entire month of December is filled with daily over consumption of fats and sugars you might well find yourself constantly feeling hungry when you arrive in January which will lead to dramatic weight gain.

On a final note regarding over eating if you’d like to stay awake and alert this Christmas instead of drowsy and drained you will also need to beware of over eating. As your food is digested, cells in your pancreas kick into action producing a hormone that you’ve most likely heard of. This hormone is called insulin. This increase in insulin in turn leads to an increase in melatonin and serotonin which are also hormones. When these increase you’ll find yourself feeling satisfied but alot drowsier.

Step 3 – Eat when you feel hungry but not when ravenous.

We all know that feeling. You’re out, you’re super hungry and you could eat anything…. So you do. It could be crisps, chocolate, chips or dare I say it a dreaded fast food meal.

You eat so quickly that when you’re finished you still feel hungry, so you tell yourself…’Oh it’s ok if I eat a bit more because I really was hungry and I absolutely need a it more to fill the gap.’

This is the mindset that you need to change today. Begin by making sure that you always always have a high protein low sugar snack on hand. If you’d like to learn a bit more about healthy snacks and which are the best head over to the iOme Fitness blog.

The rule of thumb is that over the festive season you should generally limit your snacking as much as possible especially on the days that you’re eating out or partying . You’ll also need to and try to limit sugary snacks or desserts to one per day and at other times if you feel the urge for something sweet go ahead and eat a piece of fruit.

Your next step is that you’re never going to wait until you’re ravenous to eat. Hungry Yes, ravenous no. If you’re at that point where you feel you could eat absolutely anything chances are you will and it’s not likely that you’ll reach for something nutritiously dense. It will instead be a high sugar, high carb snack to give you that quick hit of glucose. That same hit that will cause you to feel hungrier and lacking energy later on.

On your party free days increase the nutritional density of your meals. Visit the iOme fitness blog for a list of superfoods. These superfoods will provide the most nutrition for a lowest calories intake compared with other foods. By increasing how nutritious your meals are it will help prevent overeating. It will also help with recovery from alcohol(which is essentially poison for your bodies) . You want to do everything you can make your party free days recovery days. Get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water and get some sort of exercise in whether that be a brisk walk or a session at the gym.

Step 4 – Change your exercise habits
Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean boring. When it’s the festive season and things quieten down at your local gym get up and move! You could arrange a night out dancing or you could go for a hike in the countryside. Failing that if the weather is bad and you’re stuck indoors there are lots of apps that will get you out of your chair.

Step 5 -Make sure you get enough sleep – Yes it is party season but if you’re trying to prevent weight gain then you’ll want to make sure you schedule time to sleep. Sleep is essential. Not only during Christmas but for your entire life. On going research has shown that A lack of sleep is linked closely to overeating as well as onset of chronic illnesses, low productivity levels and an early death.

Step 6 – Keep reaffirming your plans. Tell yourself out loud every day what you’ve promised to doKeep a diary. It doesn’t need to take a lot of your time. Just jot down what you’ve had to eat and drink and what you’ve done to keep moving that day. You could even opt to use one of the popular fitness food tracking apps.

Part B -Enjoy what you eat when you’re eating out without feeling guilty.

This next section of your survival kit might seem a little too good to be true but in reality it’s not. Eating out is a very daunting experience for those who are trying to lose weight or if you simply don’t want to put weight on.

The key here is in a bit of pre planning. You can pre plan in various ways :
1. On the day of your meal out aim for your other meals that day to be considerably smaller than usual
2. If portion sizes are generally big at the restaurant ( all you need to do is glance over at someone’s plate when you arrive at the restaurant) ask for a smaller plate or starter size
3. If you’re having a desert and it;s gigantic share with someone on your table or go for something smaller but just as tasty.
4. Don’t wolf down your food Take your time to chew if and enjoy it. It will last longer and you will also feel more satisfied.
5. Have a drink but don’t go over the top. Head over to the iOme blog to see what drinks are best to consume to avoid too much sugar this Christmas.
6. If it’s creamy it’s going to be energy dense
7. Go for skin on herby potatoes over fries or chunky chips – go for chunky chips over fries and avoid fries where possible.
8. Don’t feel obliged to eat all of the sauce
9. Limit yourself to one piece of starter bread (if served)
10. Skip the end of meal chocolates

It’s as easy as that. Following my above tips will help to make your festive eating outing season a success.

Part C – Christmas Day

The big day is here and the smell of delicious food is the air. You think to yourself I can eat absolutely anything I want today and not feel guilty. Think again. On this one day of the year the population consumes on average 6000 calories per person which is 3 days worth of food in one day!

This as you don’t need me to tell you is far beyond more than you really need to enjoy Christmas Day.

Here are a few tips to make your Christmas Day tasty without eating more than your body wants or needs.

Think Protein – Yes feast on that turkey – protein is great at kurbing hunger levels and for making you feel fuller for longer.

Eat your starchier carbs as early as possible – potatoes, pasta, bread

Portion control your desserts or sweet treats

Choose your alcohol wisely – go for low sugar options – see the iOme Fitness blog for more info on low sugar alcoholic drinks.

Dance or organise some party games which involve lots of movement

Let’s be honest. Today it’s likely that you’ll come across sugar in a variety of forms but yes it’s one day so even if you have eaten things you don’t think will help you to keep the inches of then DO NOT beat yourself up about it. A day of failure doesn’t mean that you’re doomed for eternal failure and it certainly doesn’t mean that there’s no point in trying to get back on track tomorrow, Too often I hear stories of people doing so well with inch loss efforts only to jump ship down to one weekend of everything going pear shaped. Giving up will not get you results you want and it will only make weight gain inevitable.

You’ve now reached the end of my Christmas survival kit. Follow the instructions above and Christmas will be a time to enjoy without piling on the pounds.

If you’d like to come and see me in January for more support in getting you the body you’ve always wanted head over to the website

I’m available for personal training, corporate events and courses and I also travel throughout the UK.

Thank you for listening and have a very Merry Christmas!

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