Your Guide to Christmas Health & Fitness
Updated: Apr 6
It’s very difficult not to fall off the health wagon during this time of fun, festivities and frivolities! There’s so much going on, so many yummy foods and drinks on offer to tempt us – you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t slip a little.
Whilst Christmas is the most magical time of the year it is also the most glutinous, booze fuelled and exhausting period of the winter calendar! And although it is good to let our hair down and enjoy life with families and loved ones, try not to lose complete sight of your goals.
In an attempt to not end up completely back to square one I have some top tips to fight against the Christmas bulge.
FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD
BE KIND TO YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM THIS SEASON
Start as you mean to go on! It is imperative that you do not skip meals to save calories for food and alcohol. By starting the day with a healthy breakfast and generous bowl of say porridge, this will stabilise your blood sugar levels and help control your appetite throughout the day. By doing so you decrease your chances of cravings later and snacking or eating out on unhealthy food / drink binges in the night.
Snack attack! When returning from a night out, make sure you have healthy food indoors to tide you over until breakfast the next morning.
Avoid cravings! Eat properly throughout the day and prior to leaving have a small piece of fruit or small handful of nuts to satiate your appetite and keep you feeling fuller for longer. This way you won’t over-indulge on the canapes and can avoid temptation at the restaurant!
Step away from the buffet! These can be a nightmare if you have gone out hungry hence why once again it is so important you not skip meals. Try and consciously remind yourself about portion control and fill your plate up with a balanced healthy portion of macronutrients. Then back away from the buffet to avoid over-eating and grazing and never go back for seconds!
Stay Healthy! If eating out try and avoid the un-healthy option by instead choosing dishes which may be chargrilled, grilled, baked or steamed. Furthermore, be aware of what sauces or dressings you choose and try and avoid high calorie temptations.
DRINKING – THE ODD TIPPLE OR TWO!
Stay hydrated! I can’t stress enough how important it is to stay hydrated and the value of water. Try and make an effort to drink 6-8 glasses of water as even mild dehydration can lead to a headache.
If you are drinking alcohol, do not be afraid to ask for water in between alcoholic drinks, your body will thank you for it the following day as will your hangover demons!
Stick to clear spirits! Remind yourself that alcohol is empty calories and have no nutritional value.
Drinking large quantities of alcohol can cause dehydration, low blood sugar, digestive irritation and lack of sleep. By choosing to drink clear spirits as opposed to darker drinks this will not remove the hangover but lighten the severity hopefully. This is due to the fermenting process causing chemicals called congeners which are found in darker drinks.
Wine has large amounts of sugar and yeast components which wreak havoc on the body causing us to age faster than we would like. Therefore, the pros of some clear spirits over wine are that they can be sugar and yeast free. Drink sensibly ladies!
Avoid fizzy drinks! Most fizzy drinks are high in sugar and ultimately bad for your health and teeth and therefore I would recommend opting for soda water and a squeeze of lime instead!
EXERCISE – FITNESS FIRST
Diarise! I appreciate Christmas is a busy time of the year and sessions can easily be put back when there’s fun to be had! By diarising your workouts at the beginning of the week this enables you to organise an appropriate time and therefore, there’s a much higher chance of you meeting your training goals. If you are short of time, remind yourself that it is about the quality of workouts not duration, so ensure you go hard otherwise you may as well be at home!
If you do end up missing a session, try your hardest to make up for it and stay active throughout the Christmas period.
Adapt! If it really is unrealistic to continue your current workout programme then adapt your plan to suit your workout needs. Schedule HIIT training or use a Tabata approach to keep the sessions hard and duration low.
Invest! If you are too busy to get to the gym you could always invest for a small fee in some home gym equipment. For example, resistance bands, dumbbells or even gliders would cost next to nothing yet provide you with a great home workout!
Buddy Up! Exercising can be fun and sociable too so try and find a buddy who will motivate you to reach those goals and keep to your schedule. Instead of a girls brunch you could always opt for a yoga class instead.
Christmas Goals! Set yourself some goals to work towards for the new year. Or even invite family and friends to a Christmas Plank Off Challenge! For example, by the end of Christmas whoever holds the plank the longest gets…
So above are my top tips to helping you stay on track during the Christmas festivities.
Remember everything in moderation and try and stick to a 80/20 rule….a lot of what’s good for you and a little of what you love!
MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR ONE & ALL!