You’ve been focused and motivated all year round to be your best, fittest and healthiest self…and then suddenly, Christmas & New Year come around again just like clockwork and the full-on month of partying and debauchery begins!
The average punter will gain somewhere between .8 and 1.5 kilos over the festive period. While this might not seem much, the bad news is that the majority will not lose this weight again.
Reason enough to try to avoid the Santa Belly this year?
Here are my top tips for getting to 1 January in just as good shape as you started on 1 December.
Avoid the “snowball effect”
Firstly, let’s get real….Christmas is ONE DAY people! If you are going to approach the month of December as a free-for-all to eat and drink what you like because;
you deserve it,
life’s too short
….then you should probably stop reading now.
So many people treat Christmas like the Last Supper over and over and over and over…you get what I mean.
If you want to get through to 2016 still being able to do up your favourite jeans or dress with self-respect intact, approach Christmas with the same self-control and discipline that you would any other month of the year. Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve can be considered a ‘cheat’ or ‘treat meal’ to enjoy without guilt because you are showing control and constraint for all the other days surrounding it.
Sure YOLO and life is too short – but it will be even shorter my friends if you continue to gain 1.5kg every December!
Don’t over-stuff your stocking
Continue with your normal daily routine for meal times.
If you are used to eating 6 small meals a day, try to stick to this habit.
Don’t skip breakfast and ‘save up’ your calories for big meals through the Xmas/New Year week. Usually you will hit the dinner table starving and consume way more calories than you planned.
And on this point, push your chair AWAY from the table as soon as you have finished. Or even better, set up a buffet in the kitchen that you serve from and then take your plate to the table in another room to enjoy. No one has the willpower to sit for hours in front of the delicious Christmas spread and not pick at the food in front of them.
Fill your plate with a little bit of everything, eat it leisurely, enjoy it completely WITHOUT guilt, and then GET UP! Head outside for a game with the kids, go for a walk with your family, jump around in the pool and get your body moving. Which leads on to the next point…
Have yourself an active little Christmas
The benefits of this tip cannot be stressed enough.
If you’re the type who takes up position on the sun lounge by the pool, or on the couch watching cricket from 24 December through to New Year’s Day, because it’s ‘Christmas’…then it’s time to create a new tradition.
The benefits of just 30 minutes walking every day are well documented as increased cardiovascular fitness, reduction of excess body fat, and protection against many lifestyle diseases.
Adding a daily walk during the Holiday period can also help you feel less bloated after consuming too much rich, calorie-heavy food and drink AND give you some much needed space away from the family to clear your head, reflect on 2015 and make some kick-butt plans for 2016!
Be the Christmas Star at parties (not the stuffed pork)
If you are typically a social butterfly over this period don’t use it as an excuse to ‘let it all hang out’, literally! Some ideas to reduce the damage of too many gatherings are to:
take healthy treats along to the parties (e.g. fruit, vegetable crudités with a healthy dip, nuts),
stay away from the fried party food,
choose protein based nibbles like prawns and chicken skewers,
If you’re hosting, give your guests the leftovers that you know will be calling out to you from the fridge during the middle of the night.
Another little tip is to wear something that you feel super confident in that shows off your hard-earned body. You will be much more likely to be mindful of what, and how much you are eating if you are not wearing your favourite comfortable Mu Mu.
Aim to be kissed under the mistletoe - not passed out under it!
And on the topic of parties…..alcohol.
Alcohol is not only a fat burning inhibitor but also a self-control blocker.
While your body is busy trying to eliminate alcohol out of your body it is unable to burn the calories you are consuming in food – so in effect it is a double whammy!
And the chances of you being able to resist those deep-fried cheese balls and second helping of sticky date pudding are reduced in proportion to the amount of drinks you consume.
Have a drinking plan and STICK TO IT!
Decide how many drinks you are going to have, space them out with water in between and stick to it.
Be the designated driver as much as you can.
NEWS FLASH – you CAN still have fun without alcohol!
Not drinking does not make you unsociable…lying in a pot plant with your dress hitched around your waist and vomit dribbling out of your mouth makes you very unsociable. Just sayin’.
Don't be a Christmas Grinch!
In the likely event that you do get a little carried away with Christmas cheer and have a blow out, all is not lost.
Put things into perspective.
You have worked hard 11 months of the year to be healthy and fit. One or 2 days in December is not going to be your downfall. It’s when the 1 or 2 days turn into 3 or 4 weeks of overindulgence and no activity that we have a problem.
Don’t waste precious time or energy beating yourself up about it, or even worse holding a pity party with even more food and alcohol! Pick yourself up and move on.
Forgive yourself first and foremost. Negative feelings serve no purpose. Starving yourself as punishment will see you head first in the fridge by day 3 shoving in as much of the leftover ham, turkey and pudding as you can (unless you listened to me in point 4 and have already disposed of leftovers!).
Instead, now is the time to shower yourself with love and affection. Give yourself the greatest gift you can this year - the gift of health and fitness.
Help your body recover as quickly as possible by getting straight back in to your workout routine.
Fill it daily with good, whole, predominantly green food.
Use those gift vouchers from Xmas day to hit the sales and pick up some new workout gear that will make you WANT to get out and move more.
Use your time off to make goals for your health and fitness for the New Year and a detailed action plan on how you’re going to achieve them.
And finally, realise that yes, life really is too short.
It’s too short to stay on this never ending cycle of extremes each year that play havoc with your body, health and head.
It’s too short to spend the first 3 months of every year trying to undo the damage of the last two months in the year before.
It’s too short not to love, respect and care for your body all year round.
Be sensible, be mindful, move daily and enjoy….you’ll be fine.