You can Christmas without worrying about putting on extra pounds.
But how I hear you cry?
Christmas is possibly the hardest time of year when it comes to watching your weight and counting your calories. There is just so many tempting treats laying around and being offered out, and we haven’t even got close to the Christmas party yet, let alone Christmas Day! And then there is the alcohol to think about as well… oh it is the most wonderful time of the year….. But then this happens……😦
If you are “dieting” you may be thinking to yourself ” I may as well throw in the towel and start again in January”… But you are looking at it all wrong.
The blunt truth of the matter is, that most of us will gain a few pounds over the festive season, but a few pounds isn’t a horrendous challenge to shift afterwards, studies suggest an average of 3-4lbs gain is totally normal and should be expected! But some may gain up to 10lbs over the couple of days that really is Christmas! 10 POUNDS!!!
I was asked by a PT Client the other day, “Is it possible to enjoy Christmas & New Year without totally undoing all the hard work I have put in over the past few months?”
Great question, Can you indulge without the bulge?
Well I have a few Simple rules that if you stick to over the Christmas Holidays, you will basically be putting a plan for damage limitation! And whether you have achieved a big weight loss over the year or are just getting started the same simple rules will protect your waistline and allow you to enjoy your festivities without blowing the button on your favourite jeans!
Christmas Dinner is not the problem here! It is everything leading up to and following it that leaves you feeling sluggish and heavy!
In the few weeks running up to Christmas and between Christmas Day & New Years Day, there is lots of parties, social gatherings, family get together and office do’s. There will be mince pies, yule log, cheese & crackers, sweets, candy canes, buffet food, nibbles and then there is the alcohol…. normally lots of it!
You have to keep your wits about you, because these foods just accidentally on purpose, without you even realising it, fall into you mouth be chewed up, swallowed and become a forgotten thought before you even realise what has just happened. So, work out in your head which foods you simply can’t celebrate Christmas without and which you are going to hotly avoid.
You then need to set a limit, how many are you going to allow yourself to enjoy before you say no more! If your weakness is cake and desserts, then avoid the crisps and buffet food, and vice versa. Enjoy what you have, but don’t go mad.
You can also try eating a healthy snack before you go to the party, so you are partially full by the time the buffet table gets stocked up.
Let’s say you are like me, and Mince Pies are your weak spot. Well, you need to accept this and work around it. So I allow myself one or two mince pies per party, without cream! If I get carried away and eat a third, thats one less drink I am allowed from the bar! make a deal that if you overdo it, something else needs to be sacrificed to make way for the calories.
Alcohol is normally where people start to unravel, in more ways than one. Firstly, when you drink, you do things without really thinking about it, so you may start to binge on cocktail sausages or mini pork pies. But try & keep your alcohol controlled… yeah yeah I know we all like to get a bit tipsy at the party, but a bit tipsy is still controllable. You are still the boss of your own actions!
Believe it or not on Christmas day, it is estimated that they average calorie consumption is 4000 calories 😳But the majority of this is alcohol, sweets, nibbles, pickings and desserts. Not the actual Christmas Dinner itself, that would probably come in at around 1600-2000 calories.
To try and add you damage limitation to Christmas day, keep sweets out of reach, put them in a cupboard so you consciously have to think about getting up to get a sweet. And be mindful how many handfuls of nuts you are shoving in your mouth… these little peanuts wrack up some serious calories when picked at constantly whilst watching your favourite Christmas Day Movie.
Try & pick up some healthier snack and nibble options!
Christmas Dinner is actually not too bad, I mean most of us opt for Turkey with roasted vegetables and gravy. It is just a big roast dinner. But you can make it a little kinder to your waistline with a few simple alterations.
Remember that Turkey is one of the healthiest meats out there, it actually helps us to burn fat and is seriously packed full of protein. Just avoid the skin and pack your plate with veggies for a nutrition rich main meal.
If you are a vegetarian, choose your meat alternative to be a healthy alternative, maybe a quoin or soya product.
We all love roast tatties (potatoes), but why not swap these for Sweet potatoes which are slightly less starchy than their white cousins. Or you could mix in some boiled or new potatoes with the roasties. Again, another alternative is just have two less than you would normally.
If you are a wine or beer drinker, consider swapping your alcohol of choice to gin & slimline toni or whisky and diet mixer. Just to reduce the number of calories that are going into your body per drink.
Social Gatherings are key part of Christmas. how will you deal with those people who almost bully you in to having 1 more drink or another sweet?
Don’t be afraid to say NO! It really isn’t rude to refuse a drink or another handful out of the quality street tin. But unfortunately we ALL know someone who finds it really hard to accept that you don’t want any more vino.
I have a friend who almost gets angry with you when you say no thanks, its almost as if I am personally telling her to “F off”. It always makes me laugh at Christmas, not only because this is how I tease her, but also because it is often on the TV at this time of year, but do you remember Father Ted…. Mrs Doyle was always on at the guys “ahhh go on go on go on” – yeah you remember her now don’t you, i bet you can even see her face!
Anyway, it can feel really challenging when you have a pushy friend or even family member, because the last thing you want at Christmas is a feud with a fried. And if you are staying with them, oh well it takes some serious will power and dedication to stick to your guns.
I have been known to take a sweet or drink just to shut them up, and then the sweet goes in my handbag and the drink feeds the rubber plant in the corner slowly… although if you opt for this method, you need to be really stealthy, like me, and not get caught!
It is really important that you remind yourself regularly that this desire they have to nag you into another one, is their issue to deal with not yours! You are being true to your goals and wishes and staying strong.
So before you head off out with this one person, think about how you can negate your way around the barrage of “go on, go on, go on” in order to keep them happy, but not over indulge.
Don’t Sit still!!! Just because it is Christmas doesn’t mean you should slouch off of your activity levels.
Ok, so I am not suggesting that you rock up to the 24/7/365 local gyms that are in most towns now, but rather than sitting and feeling sleepy, get up get the family together and go for a nice walk in the afternoon. If you have a dog, this is a great excuse/reason to get out and get some fresh air. Or if you have kids and you have just given them a new toy, game or bike.. something that requires movement to play with, get them out on it and join in. Make it a family thing.
Even if you don’t have kids and your partner has just been given a drone, or maybe you have been given one. Go out and give it a whirl.
If you are a couple having a nice “coupley” Christmas, put some music on have a dance, burn off the alcohol and food.
Find fun ways to be more active!
The activity will not only help your food digest, but will help to clear your head and make you feel a whole new burst of energy.
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If you don’t need it don’t buy it! Think ahead and be prepared!
Have you ever looked in the cupboards just after Christmas and wondered “why did I even buy that” or maybe you brought a jar of pickled onions and 6 months after Christmas it is still in the cupboard.
When you do your food shop for Christmas, PLAN, PLAN, PLAN your meals and only buy what you need. As you deviate from the list ask yourself if you are buying out of habit or if you actually NEED this item. Be strict with your purchases!
The less crap you have in the cupboard so ver Christmas the less damage you can do your your weight & waistline.
you are in control of what you buy, what you eat, what you drink and ultimately how much of it all!
Try and buy lots of fruit and healthy snack & nibble alternatives, so if you really fancy something you can have that.
Also, by planning your meals not just for Christmas, but the few days after as well, you will avoid being tempted by take aways or unplanned fat storing foods. Think ahead and be prepared!
Dont Panic Mr Mannering! Dont Panic!
My final tip is this, Don’t Panic! Don’t berate yourself if you do go off track one day. Instead just pull in the reins and make sure it is only a day. Christmas is literally a TWO day event, we just manage to stretch it out over a whole month now.
So, if you go off track, dust off your shoulders, get back in the zone and make tomorrow a better day. If you go off track, don’t keep going off track and make the excuse of well i binged for a day so I may as well write the whole week off. NO!!!!
If you dropped your mobile phone, would you then stamp on it to make sure the screen was broken? NO!
If you had a puncture in your car type, would you slash the other three tyres to make them all match? NO!
If you hoover broken down, would you tip its contents back on the Floor? NO!
So why, if you fall off the wagon for one meal or one day should you write the whole week off???
And finally, if you do gain a few pounds over Christmas, then you have January to sort it all out! You haven’t failed until you quit…. so don’t quit!!!
And there you have it, my 5 rules for surviving Christmas without gaining weight. If you have found this helpful, then share, comment or like the blog and follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or just subscribe to the blog for all of my helpful nutritional tips, workout advice, recipes and more. Or you can visit my website and get in touch if you want me to help you get fit and lean for 2017