How to Shift that Post-Christmas Weight Gain

By Sue Wilby - Naturopath and Nutritionist

The festive season has come and gone and for some that dress or pair of jeans are just a little bit tighter than they were at the beginning of summer. Time for a plan to lose a couple of kilos’ or maybe you are already struggling with your weight loss goals?

Weight loss

A number of factors can make any weight-loss plan that little bit more difficult to achieve including:

Long-term Stress

The adrenal glands release the hormone cortisol which increases appetite and the impulse to eat. Stress can also affect our food preferences, including the desire for ‘comfort’ foods, i.e. foods high in fat, sugar, or both.


While we are concentrating on completing work during lunch or watching TV over dinner, and our mind is not focusing on eating, it can often miss the critical signal from the hormone leptin which indicates satiety. This can then cause us to eat more.

Lack of sleep

Reduced sleep time is linked to a decrease in leptin and an increase in ghrelin (another hormone) which stimulates hunger. Additionally sleep-loss seems to increase cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods which are energy dense.

Medical conditions & certain medications

Some medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, PCOS and sleep apnoea, as well as certain medications, can escalate weight gain, making it so much harder to achieve our weight goals.

How might your food choices help?

1. After eating, the body has to expend energy to support the ingestion, digestion and absorption of nutrients and in doing this the production of heat or ‘Diet-Induced Thermogenesis’ occurs.

The amount of energy expended is determined by the composition of the meal as follows:

  • Fats - 5-15% of the energy consumed

  • Carbohydrates- 5-15% of the energy consumed

  • Protein - 20-35% of the energy consumed

2. Protein also regulates satiety, the signal to the brain that our stomach is full; and reduces the cravings for sugar and the desire for snacking. Therefore, it is essential that adequate protein is a component of every meal to help your weight-loss objectives.

3. Eating wholefoods can improve wellbeing and help regulate our appetite. Starting a meal ‘from scratch’ ensures we are minimising the intake of processed foods that may be stripped of essential nutrients and/or laden with sugar, salt and unhealthy fat.

4. Eat more plant-based foods including: Fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and small amounts of nuts and seeds.

5. Start the day with a health-giving breakfast, and don’t skip the protein at breakfast!

6. Support the liver if doing a detox. An overburdened liver can hinder weight loss and even contribute to weight gain.

Combine this with commitment, motivation, regular physical activity and a strong support network, and you can make 2019 a year of achievement on the health-front.

The staff at Barangaroo Pharmacy are available to assist you with all your weight loss goals, so come in to see us!

About the Author

Sue is an experienced health care practitioner specialising in Nutrition and Western Herbal Medicine. She has spent the past 15 years providing consultations to clients to improve their health and lifestyle, with a proven record in the assistance of weight loss, stress reduction and general well-being treatment plans. Sue is known for her passion about nutrition, its impacts on health, and the benefits of herbal remedies and is a member of Australian Traditional Medicine Society.