Thursday, September 16News For London

Don’t be afraid to treat yourself this Christmas

Health professionals and obesity experts support Nigella Lawson’s claims ‘sweet things’ can be part of a healthy diet.

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Source: Keiran Dudden

Food is a huge part of the Christmas period. Traditions ranging from mince pies to stollen mean those struggling with their weight are finding it difficult resist the temptation of festive treats.

Nigella Lawson has said those who attempt complete abstinence often end up gorging later on: “The people who always say, ‘oh no I don’t eat sweet things’ are always the ones who are left hunched over the cake with a fork eating more than anyone.”

The comments, reported in the Sunday Mirror, were made during a sold out at speech at JW3, a Jewish Community Centre in Finchley Road. The talk was part of the “Speaker Series” that features presentations from “leaders and experts in their respective fields”.

Tam Fry, spokesman for the National Obesity Forum said to Westminster World: “Nigella must know that people who say that they don’t eat sweet things and get stuck into cakes will not realise that they are already consuming twice the amount of sugar than they should daily.”

He added: “A moderate slice of cake as an occasional ‘treat’ is not a bad thing and can have its place in a healthy diet but cake-eating occasions should be just that – occasional.”

Christmas temptation is also a difficult period for health professionals who must advice dieters on how to handle the season of gluttony.

Melissa Smith is a Health Trainer at Cheetham Hill Medical Centre in Salford. She advises patients on weight loss, diet and exercise. She said:

“Nigella’s comments reflect the idea that weight loss has to be part of a lifestyle change. Crash diets lead to weight yoyo. Small treats are an important part of maintaining self control particularly over the Christmas period.”

In smaller surgeries, GPs act as the front line advice service for those who need to loose weight. Dr Steve Clayton has been running a family-based GP practice for over 23 years. While accepting that most people need to “cheat” he maintained treats can be counterproductive:

“Obviously it’s all very well eating healthy items but rewarding oneself with treats on a frequent basis is counterproductive. However, we are dealing with people who’s willpower can be low. I encourage one ‘bad’ day a week when they can treat themselves.”

Weight Watchers, a diet club that uses calorie counting to aid weight loss, has released a series of Christmas recipes exclusively to it’s members:

When asked what to do about extra temptation over Christmas Weight Watchers said: “Make it a priority to maintain gym, regular walks to compensate for the extra food eaten. Try to have a nutritious snack beforehand.”

Obesity: A big issue

Obesity made headlines last week when it’s “national risk” was likened to terrorism by Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies. The comments were made as part of report that revealed over two thirds of British men over overweight. The reports predicts that by 2034, 70 per cent of adults are expected to be overweight or obese.

Dr Clayton added: “Obesity has become more prominent even in my small surgery. We have had to buy special bariatric scales as at least 5 of our patients weigh over the 150kg. We have also bought bariatric chair (254kg) in the waiting room and an oversize examination couch to accommodate them.”