Most of us have a goal this Winter, to lose weight, to not put on weight, to maintain fitness through December so you can stuff yourself on Christmas Day. Whatever the goal, it’s not easy to stick to when you are faced with social pressure to attend work parties, meals with friends and family and the odd night out. That means lots of food, buffets, alcohol, nights of little to no sleep, chocolate and treats!
Do you want to know how you can get through the Christmas binge AND avoid having to go on a January crash diet? Here’s some advice and tips on what you can do so you stay on track with your fitness and nutrition goals without having to be the party pooper.
The word ‘diet’ comes with fear, restriction, failure and exhaustion. We associate it with only being able to eat vegetables and tasteless food, and only drinking water and herbal teas. A diet shouldn’t be all about restriction. It should make you feel good, give you more energy and help you to maintain a good weight and level of fat for your body.
If you think of a diet as a way of eating consistently that is helpful to your goals rather than a quick temporary solution to fat loss, then you are more likely to stick to it long-term. And long-term is the only way to get real results. Short-term diets that restrict carbs, fat or sugar dramatically can cause the number on the scales to go down, but this doesn’t always mean that you lost fat. It takes a while for your body to start using energy sources from fats and you have to almost train it to do this by giving your body the right foods at the right times so, be patient.
“A diet shouldn’t be all about restriction. It should make you feel good, give you more energy and help you to maintain a good weight and level of fat for your body”
It’s also important to be consistent with your fitness, which can be hard to do during December as there are many distractions that could cause you to lose focus. But, you will be rewarded for your consistency in January when you still feel good about yourself even after all that partying. You won’t need to go on any detox or crash diets because you won’t have lost control, or put weight on, over December.
You may have heard us say this before, but a very good way of staying on track with your fitness and nutrition is to plan ahead. First, know your goals and remind yourself of why you are setting yourself a goal in the first place. This will help you to keep it as a priority and not allow yourself to let it slip.
“Having specific dates and times to stick to helps you to stay on track”
Second, create a schedule for your workouts and book them in if you can. Having specific dates and times to stick to helps you to stay on track. Be strict with yourself by trying not to miss any of these planned workouts and at the same time, allow yourself time for social events that don’t conflict with your fitness schedule. Doing this creates balance, and balance will stop you feeling burned out or resentful towards your goals.
Besides the obvious fact that alcohol can affect you, even many days after, by causing sleeping difficulties and motivation and energy dips, it’s also pretty damn high in calories. We don’t want to tell you to quit drinking but we want you to consider how helpful it is towards your goals so you can make healthier choices when it comes to alcohol this December.
“The main thing is to know your focus so you can plan how best to achieve it”
Here’s some ideas on healthy drinking this Christmas. Even if you aren’t ‘calorie counting’ this December, remember alcohol isn’t good for motivation and could cause you to skip workouts and think “I can’t be bothered” – not good if you want to stay active and fit. The main thing is to know your focus so you can plan how best to achieve it.
You can also opt for 0% beers or cider as they are low in calories and you don’t get any of the other negative effects of alcohol. Or, if you really need a drink (we know how it is), choose vodka or gin and mix it with a low calorie lemonade which is only around 30-40 calories per glass.
We tend to struggle with maintaining our weight or weight loss in December. Mainly due to the fact we tend to eat out more or get takeaways so we are less able to work out the nutritional value of the food we are eating. One way to solve this is to choose a meal, like salmon fillet with new potatoes and broccoli for example, as it is easy to work out the amount of fat, protein and carbohydrates you are getting.
For weight loss, a food diary is the best way to manage your food intake. You can do one yourself but it’s much easier and quicker to use an app like MyFitnessPal. They even tell you what nutritional values you should aim for so it’s a great way to learn how helpful foods are to your goals. And their food database is huge so you will nearly always find what you are looking for, even at some restaurants. (ps. This is not a sponsored recommendation, it’s just a great app!)
Try these food swaps throughout December; but not on Christmas Day as that’s your free pass because you deserve it! Enjoy yourself but stay in control so you don’t ruin all that hard work you put in this year.
We always tell our girls to have balance, not restriction. If your goal is fat loss, it’s important to understand what affects the choices you make have on your mind and body. And, reassess your position regularly so you can tweak your plan to suit your needs.
One main thing to take away from this article is to really get to grips with your goals and what they mean to you, and plan how you will meet them so you don’t walk into it blindfolded.
Want more advice on how to manage body fat and still socialise? Check out this post.