Christmas is all about eating and drinking too much and moving too little. And although we all deserve a treat, it’s worth considering whether we really want to sabotage our progress for the sake of one week of festivities.
If you want to enjoy Christmas without completely falling off the wagon, here’s how to plan ahead for the festive week.
Set realistic expectations
You’ve worked hard all year and stuck to your fitness and nutrition goals, so you’ve definitely earned a reward! Life is about balance and food is something we should enjoy. If you approach the festive season telling yourself “I’m not having any junk” then you’ll feel more tempted to cheat and the guilt will kick in when you eventually cave.
Eat when hungry
We all know Christmas indulgence begins long before the day itself, with supermarkets selling us festive foods as early as September. When the time comes, ask yourself “Am I actually hungry and do I really want this?” before filling your plate with everything in sight. Sticking to structured meals (for the most part) instead of mindless eating will make a difference.
Stick to smaller portions
If you don’t want to pile on extra pounds over the festive period, managing portion sizes can help. Keep your portions small instead of piling your plate as high as possible and if you still feel hungry after you’ve finished, then go for seconds. Don’t eat yourself into a coma just for the sake of it.
Choose booze wisely
Many of the calories we consume at Christmas are through alcohol. Don’t worry, you can still enjoy a well-deserved Christmas tipple, but choose it wisely. Beer and cocktails can hide hundreds of calories. Clear spirits with slimline tonics, prosecco and white wine are great options.
I know it’s tempting to sit on the sofa all day with one hand in a tin of Quality Street and the other in a box of posh biscuits. But make sure you stay active even if you’re not doing proper workouts. Get out for a walk or play with the kids or pets. Any activity is better than no activity and doing short bursts here and there will make it so much easier to get back to the gym when January comes around.
Remember your goals
A mantra I always say to my clients is “Remember your why.” When cravings and temptations arise, think about the bigger picture and how your day-to-day decisions impact your goals. What’s more important – eating thousands of extra calories or the confidence and pride you’ll feel when you’ve hit your next milestone? The gratification we get from food only lasts for moments, but the happiness we feel from achieving a goal lasts for so much longer.
Eating and drinking festive foods in moderation for a few days won’t set you back massively, so even if you do fall off the wagon, don’t be too hard on yourself. But when it comes to over-indulging, just remind yourself of all your discipline and hard work to get where you are now.