Beat the Christmas bulge

Monday 19 December 2011

Beat the Christmas bulge

Cancer Council Queensland is encouraging everyone to beat the bulge this Christmas by serving healthy food options and smaller portions throughout the silly season, to help cut their risk of bowel cancer, and their waistline.

With work and family functions, friendly get-togethers and social events, it’s easy to overindulge in Christmas cheer and abandon usual healthy eating and exercise regimes.

Cancer Council Queensland’s Community Services Co-ordinator, Rachel Hull, said there is evidence that increased body weight and limited physical activity can influence a person’s risk of developing bowel cancer.

“Bowel cancer is among the top three most commonly diagnosed cancers in Queensland men and women and we know that having a healthy diet and being active can reduce the risk of this common disease,” she said.

“It’s easy to eat and drink more than usual at this time of year and exercise less because of Christmas celebrations and other festive commitments.

“However, it’s better in the long run to put in a bit of effort now and maintain exercise throughout the festive season, rather than having to start from scratch in the New Year.

“There is nothing wrong with enjoying a bit of Christmas cheer, but people shouldn’t make the mistake of giving up any attempt at healthy eating or exercise,” she said.

Cancer Council Queensland has these tips for a healthier festive season:

  • If you’re hosting a party, serve healthy dishes and limit the amount of less-healthy options.
  • When attending Christmas functions, take a plate of healthy food to share.
  • When organising a catch up with friends, why not have a healthy picnic? Salads are easy to prepare and are affordable for large groups. Pack a frisbee or ball and get active at the same time.
  • Avoid going to a party hungry – you’re more likely to overeat and eat less healthy foods.
  • If you know that you are going to eat a big meal, don’t skip other meals, instead have lighter meals during the day.
  • Try to avoid snacking and limit yourself to smaller portions of light, healthy foods at meal times.
  • If you drink alcohol, it is very important to do so in moderation. Alcohol not only contributes to weight gain but it can also increase your risk of developing several types of cancer. Enjoy sparkling mineral water between alcoholic drinks.
  • Maintain your regular physical activity routine or take advantage of the extra time with loved ones and swap watching TV for a family walk.
  • Be realistic and don’t try to lose weight during this period. Instead aim to maintain your current weight.

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