Dec 08 2014
On the lead up to Christmas, the media (and the fitness industry) tend to swing between two extremes….”Don’t get sucked into the excesses of Christmas and gain ten pounds” is the message some people cry! Others take the opposite approach; “Relax, chill out, have a drink. Have a mince pie;…
On the lead up to Christmas, the media (and the fitness industry) tend to swing between two extremes….”Don’t get sucked into the excesses of Christmas and gain ten pounds” is the message some people cry! Others take the opposite approach; “Relax, chill out, have a drink. Have a mince pie; have 5 – you’ve earned it, we can worry about the consequences later!”
But which is it to be? The sad fact of the matter is this; one of the leading factors in the obesity problem we have in the UK is the fact that people simply do not lose the weight they gain over the holiday periods, whether it’s sipping cocktails at a beach resort in the Maldives, or guzzling down sparkling wine and nibbles at the work Christmas party.
My article today is not about telling you that you cant enjoy Christmas. It’s about helping you see how you can juggle the balance of indulging in your favourite foods, whilst not reversing the habits you’ve built. This way, you wont completely sabotage the results you’ve worked so hard for.
1) Eat the foods you enjoy and NOT the ones you don’t
This may sound obvious, in fact some people would call it common sense! But when there’s lots of food on offer, it’s easy to sucked in to wanting a bit of everything – or eating things you wouldn’t normally choose, just because they are in front of you. Eating the last piece of cake, just because its the last piece; canapés at a friends party, just because they were dangled in front of your nose.
Sift out the things you really and truly enjoy. You’ll save yourself a lot of calories, and all of the guilt that goes with it. Christmas should be about enjoying yourself, spending time with friends and family – not about lying in bed feeling fat, bloated and ill!
2) Continue to exercise
Again, this could be placed in the ‘common sense’ category, but you’d be surprised how many people adopt the approach of “Stuff the exercise, I’m eating badly so whats the point?!” Ultimately how much weight you gain over a period like this is a factor of calories in, and calories out. It’s really simple – if you burn more calories exercising, you’re less likely to gain weight. If you know you have a big party at work coming – hit the gym that morning. A point from Sal: “A walk does not constitute exercise, it is just locomotion! Exercise you need to do must increase your heart rate.”
If you’re short on time, still get to the gym, but do a short strength session (where you focus on less exercises, less reps and sets) but lift heavier weights instead. Then go to the party and enjoy yourself, because now you’ve earned it!
3) Don’t slide between two extremes
Often, if you have had a particularly heavy day of eating or drinking, one of the great temptations to rectify the situation is to almost starve the next day. Unfortunately this can backfire, and you end up caught between two extremes – pigging out one day, starving for a few hours, then losing willpower and caving in to all the naughty treats that are lying around.
If you had a bad day of eating or drinking, just go back to normal. Don’t try to do anything fancy! Focus on getting your protein in for the day – as much lean meat, eggs or fish as you would normally. As many veggies as you can, and don’t try to undercut your calories too drastically. Your overall calorie count will be lower across the board anyway.
So, try these tips and you can still enjoy the Christmas festivities without having to cry into your coffee come January!
For all you having your Christmas Party this week: My final tip: If you’re going to drink alcohol, don’t eat any carbs that day. This will reduce the number of calorie dense foods you consume i.e. puddings and chocolates.