We all overindulge at Christmas, however for lots of people you can come out the other side having gained half a stone, a clothes size and feeling terrible about yourself suffering with January Blues. Here’s my survival guide to help you maintain your body fat and fitness levels over Christmas.
What’s your strategy for the Christmas party season? Every January on the first Monday back to work I unfortunately get calls from people upset some even crying. It’s 3 weeks since they’ve tried on their work clothes and have binged on food and alcohol and as a result are spilling out of their clothes or cant close them. It can be quiet upsetting for someone thats worked hard all year in the gym to undo their good work, or for someone that struggles with their weight it can mean a very upsetting January.
My advice, is to plan to maintain your weight, body fat and fitness levels etc up to Christmas Eve, then do whatever for a few days over Christmas, then ease back into a good routine before the new year. Of course go to parties and have nights out etc up to Christmas, a couple of nights a week in moderation will help you maintain your current levels until Christmas. Binging 3 or more days a week on unrestricted food and alcohol could mean your health, mood, clothing and not to mention your wallet, are all adversely affected.
- Variations of vodka soda water & lime, or gin and slimline tonic are much better options (calorie wise) than beer, cider or stout. Or if you have to drink beer switch to the light beers after a couple of your regular ones. You’ll barely notice a difference. A pint of beer has about 240kcals, a vodka & soda water has about 90kcals. Multiply that by what you drink on a night out and you can see the saving. We all know the dangers of binge drinking however so try a bit of moderation.
- An easy place to pick up an extra 1000 calories that you’ll barely remember, is the takeaway on the way home. So resist where possible or just steal some of your friends instead. Don’t ask to share, steal instead, so you’ll be less likely to keep going back for more.
- 12 pubs of Christmas is far from moderation, fake every 2nd or 3rd drink with a non-alcohol version, or have a few drinks of water if you can. You’ll be the one left standing at the end of the night and not cringing in January after trying to snog your boss.
- Christmas day is once a year, so I for one wont be worrying about calories etc for the couple of days around it. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, eating out once a week shouldn’t be a problem, but for all the other family meals and dinners out, I’ll be focusing on filling up by eating the meats like turkey, chicken, ham and fish.
- I’ll be focusing on veg like cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, celery, onions, mushrooms etc.
- I’ll be avoiding the carbohydrates like bread, potatoes, stuffing, chips, pasta, rice, turnips and deserts etc…
- Portion size will be crucial if eating out more than once a week.
- Plan large starters of salads, prawn cocktails, fish, soup, melon, chicken skewers etc to help fill up on and drink lots of water too.
- Wine or ideally a white wine spritzer with sparkling water is a better option than beer with your meal.
- Set a strict limit on how many roses, quality streets, celebrations etc you can have and stick to it. Each sweet is about 60 calories. It would take an hour of intense interval training to burn off 10 sweets so bare that in mind… 6 sweets equals a normal chocolate bar roughly, would you sit down and eat 4 bars of chocolate in one sitting? Probably not, but its very easy to eat 2 dozen sweets in one go… Nowadays these sweats aren’t that nice, just sugary goo (imo) as chocolate is too expensive, so companies fill them with cheap sugar instead.
- Avoid sugary drinks when you can, they are packed full of sugar and calories. Set strict limits of one can or glass if you can’t give it up all together and stick to it.
- If your job requires that you entertain clients a lot, pretend you are on antibiotics for a chest infection, if you don’t feel like drinking each night out. It’ll instantly stop the “go on, go on, go on, just one” badgering. There is no such thing as “having just one” in Ireland, especially at Christmas.
- Keep exercising as best you can up to Christmas, even if it’s just sporadically it will help you maintain over Christmas. Don’t take a 3 or 4 week break and do untold damage. Be smart 🙂
- To help keep your metabolism high try get in 20minutes of interval training every 2nd day over the Christmas break with a hill walk or cycle. The difference will be enormous.
- Hit the ground running literally in January and plan your exercise and healthy eating in advance. Book your exercise classes, courses or workshops now. It may be too late if left until January.
- Most places will offer pre-Christmas discounts too if asked.
Please share if you think your friends would like this and don’t forget to “like” my Facebook page. I hope you find some of these tips helpful to avoid gaining too much weight over Christmas, a few pounds shouldn’t be any worry. My hope is to help people avoid gaining a clothes size or more.