That time of year is fast approaching! Christmas / New Year is just 6 weekends away! And while it can tend to be a fun, happy time of year (with more parties and social events on the calendar), it generally comes with more calories! Did you know that between the 15th December and the 5th January, we will gain on average 4-6kg!? If you have any type of health and fitness goal, this small window of festive cheer can possibly derail your progress, or if not, definitely put you back a few steps. Think of the colder months. Im pretty sure you weren’t working your ass off on those freezing mornings or nights just to allow you to ‘accomodate’ the festive season. It’s crucial that we keep our ‘eyes on the prize’ during this period. Stay focused on your goal.
So I thought id share some of my top tips to give you the best possible chance to avoid the ‘Christmas Gainz!’
Maintain your usual workout regime
This should be the top priority for anyone with a heath and fitness goal! Be it with a trainer, in a class environment or just by yourself, sticking to what you have done throughout the year is vitally important to limit unwanted weight gain. Your routine is just that.. YOUR ROUTINE! It shouldn’t cease to make way for activities which may come back to bite you on the bum so to speak.
Be active with family and friends
Sedentary activities, such as sitting on the couch watching TV, are common holiday traditions for many families. Inactivity may contribute to weight gain, especially if accompanied by overeating. Doing some type of physical activity with your family may prove beneficial for weight control. Even something as simple as a family walk can get your mind off food and allow you to bond with your loved ones.
During the holiday season, unhealthy snacks like cookies and other goodies tend to be available for you to take as you please. When treats are easy to access, you’re more likely to snack unnecessarily. At home, this problem can be solved by keeping treats out of sight. However, that strategy is more difficult to avoid in situations that you cannot control, such as at your workplace or a family party. Try to be mindful of your snacking habits. If you find yourself munching just because there’s food around — and not because you’re hungry — it’s best to avoid snacking altogether.
However, if you are hungry and need a snack, opt for real foods. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are filling snacks that don’t contain added sugars or unhealthy fats — both of which can lead to weight gain.
Watch your portion sizes
When the holidays arrive, it can be easy to overload your plate. Those who eat larger portions tend to gain weight more easily than those who don’t. The best way to overcome this is to control portion sizes or use smaller plates. Use your best judgment to fill your plate with a reasonable amount of food.
Practice mindful eating
People are often in a rush during the holiday season, which frequently leads to multitasking during meals. Studies show that those who eat while distracted are more likely to overeat. This is because they’re unable to pay attention to their body’s fullness signals. To prevent this, eat mindfully and minimise distractions — including work and electronics. Try to chew slowly and thoroughly, which will allow you to better recognise your body’s fullness signals and consume fewer calories.
Keep meals balanced with protein
Holiday meals are typically rich in carbs but low in protein. However, it’s important to include some protein with every meal, as it promotes fullness and may be useful for weight maintenance.
Limit liquid calories
During the holidays, alcohol, soft drink and other calorie-rich beverages are prevalent. These drinks can contribute a significant amount of sugar and empty calories to your diet, which can cause weight gain. Additionally, alcohol consumption is often linked to increased appetite and is a risk factor for weight gain.
Draw the line
During the holiday season, many people have an “I’ll start tomorrow” mentality, which can end up prolonging unhealthy habits. If you’re serious about controlling your weight, it may be helpful to draw the line, set limits for yourself, and stick to your goals regarding food intake. It’s okay to say no to certain foods and habits that don’t align with your goals. It’s also important to be aware that you might have a slip-up or two. People often abandon their goals after this happens. However, it’s best to simply move on and make a healthier choice the next time you eat.
So there you have it! Some helpful ways in which to give yourself the best chance of staying on track this festive season, and therefore not having to set a New Years resolution based on getting rid of what you stacked on over Christmas!