More than half of Brits want to lose weight in December – so they can indulge in as many snacks, festive feasts and trimmings as they want to at Christmas.
The study of 2,000 adults, commissioned by The Chilean Blueberry Committee, shows that for more than half of us, food and eating together is the most important element of Christmas.
But this comes at a cost, as many would like to lose up to half a stone in weight beforehand, with six in ten admitting they are likely to overeat during the festive period.
A fifth simply want to have a massive blow-out on lovely food, while 26 per cent know they’ll drink more than they should.
Two thirds of those questioned say they’ll have more courses at dinner time over Christmas, and on the day itself they’ll be tucking into alcohol and chocolates by the early afternoon, shunning healthy options such as blueberries.
Fifteen per cent of those polled want to look good for their office Christmas party, while 35 per cent know they are likely to put weight on before the New Year.
Commenting on the research, Dietitian Dr Carrie Ruxton, spokesperson for The Chilean Blueberry Committee, which carried out the study via OnePoll.com said: “Christmas is a time for getting together and enjoying festive food but overeating is a major problem. Studies show that, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, the average adult puts away an extra 174 calories a day. That’s enough to land you with a couple of pounds of unwanted weight by the time you get to New Year.
“Christmas promotions encourage us to buy more cakes, biscuits, sweets, alcohol and soft drinks but it’s important to keep a balance by switching some of your high calorie treats for healthier snacks, like blueberries, avoiding binge drinking, and taking more exercise, such as walking, to burn off the extra calories”.
In addition to curbing unhealthy eating, almost four in ten adults are determined to do more exercise in the lead up to Christmas – with 73 per cent conscious of the fact they’ll put on around five pounds when the celebrations kick in.
Sadly, eight in ten adults say it is always difficult to lose the weight they pile on over Christmas, with the average person taking two months to burn off the pounds gained from extra alcohol, cakes, chocolate and mince pies..
Forty three per cent of adults admit they’ll basically eat all day long on Christmas day, simply because they can.
As such, 48 per cent will suffer tummy ache after dinner from eating too much, and by 3:30pm in the afternoon, many will take themselves off for a snooze on the sofa.
In the three weeks leading up to Christmas, 36 per cent of adults will be actively dieting, cutting down on the likes of chocolate, sugar, takeaways and fatty foods.
The change people would find easiest to make in order to feel a little healthier in the build up to Christmas, would be to swap sweets, chocolates or biscuits for berries such as blueberries, according to 20 percent of those asked.
While 21 per cent will be replacing fizzy drinks with water and 14 per cent will lose weight easily if they cut out carbs.
Dr Carrie Ruxton added: “It’s no surprise that fresh fruit is considered a simple swap to curb sweet cravings, yet despite the increased availability of blueberries throughout the winter, only 4 per cent of consumers would consider snacking on them during the festive season.
“Snacks, such as blueberries, are an excellent choice as they are naturally low in calories and rich in antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins which have been linked with heart health and cognitive function. Blueberries are also high in vitamin C which supports your immune function – just what we need in winter when colds and flu are everywhere”.