So you have been eating well and training all year. You've been disciplined and your hard work in the gym has paid off. But now it's time to panic because the festive season is upon us! Everyone get's out of shape during Christmas, right? No! It doesn't have to be this way. We're used to using it as an excuse to binge for 2 weeks but it's time to change this mindset. Here are some tips to having a happy, balanced festive season without missing out.
Do not throw your exercise routine out the window, if anything we all have more time on our hands over Christmas. Go for a nice hike with the family, bike ride, head to the pool for a swim or just straight to the gym - whatever works for you; keep up that sweat routine for both your body and mind.
Major weight gain over Christmas tends to come more from mindless snacking than anything else. At this time of year your calories coming in tend to outweigh the calories going out. The biggest culprits are tins of sweets and biscuits, crisps, cheese and crackers. In small portions these foods aren't too calorific but it's tough to avoid eating a whole box of Pringles in 1 sitting once you get started.
Try stick to your main meals and allow for an occasional snack if you must - but don't binge. You will be less inclined to snack if you keep up the protein content in your meals as you'll feel more full. Eat lots of veggies and try not to leave big time gaps in-between meals as this can lead to 'I'm bored, let's see what's in the fridge'.
If there's one thing that the majority of us over consume on at Christmas it's alcohol. There's just too many opportunities to enjoy a few tipples. Between work parties, family nights out and annual friend get-togethers, this time of year is a recipe for excess calories in liquid form. Not only are you over consuming on booze but it also tends to lead to feeling low the next day which can have a negative effect on your gym and fitness goals. Hangovers usually mean "No way I'm going to the gym today". If you must consume, however, drop high calorie, high sugar beverages such as ciders, cocktails, alchopops and stick to spirits with either soda water, slimline tonics or low calorie soft drinks. Or even better - don't drink at all.
If you are going into the Christmas period with a plan of going on a complete blow out for 2 weeks with the intention of starting a quick-fix diet in January then you are setting yourself up for a big fail both mentally and physically. Take time to consider your nights out as well as what you consume on a daily basis. Plan what you intend on drinking, eating and make time for exercise. A little bit of thought will go a long way to helping you stay on track while still being able to enjoy yourself.
For example, eat a good meal that fills you up before you head on a night out. This will stop you reaching for the spring-rolls and goujons that are doing the rounds. Also plan out what you're going to drink that night - maybe allow for a few glasses of water in-between drinks. As the night goes on this can get harder but if you get into a habit of doing this it will become a part of your regular socializing routie.
Last of all try get in a good sweat session before your heading out in case you're too hungover the next day. You'll be so proud of yourself while you're in bed watching 3 seasons of Friends back-to-back.
In a nutshell - avoid the snacks by not leaving too much time between meals and have protein rich foods to keep you full. Plan what your going to consume on nights out and make sure you get your exercise in! Oh, and have an excellent Christmas!