Posted on 14 December 2017
We’re not going to tell you to stay away from the treats, because let’s face it, that would be setting ourselves up to fail and we’re not about that life. We’re also not about skipping chocolates on Christmas Day.
Instead, we’ve pulled together a handy list of ways to help you stay on track without losing your mind about overeating.
Plan, plan and plan again. Take some time to look at your week: what events have you got? How many Christmas parties? And how many times are you eating out versus time spent at home?
When you know what you’ve got coming up, you can plan accordingly. That includes what to eat, when to work out and when to unleash your inner freak at the buffet stand.
This is a key bit of advice for everything really – literally, life goals.
Consistency with workouts and eating will help you reap the biggest rewards and that is still important over the festive season.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, but remain consistent where you can.
For example, if you start every day with a shot of apple cider vinegar and a stretch session, aim to continue this practice, even if you have guests or you’re staying with family, or – and let’s be real, this is the kicker – you’re hungover.
We’ve found that the best way to be consistent is to make a list of habits that you have and mark down ones that you’re happy to change or miss and those that are non-negotiable – and stick to those.
Learn to Say No (Where Necessary)
Even we struggle with this one. Because, have you ever had peanut butter and chocolate anything? We go to town on that stuff. And usually, we’d have no problem with that, but if we’re also going to get down and dirty with the three different courses, multiple tins of chocolate, endless champagne – and did we mention the pigs in blankets? – then we need to learn to say no.
It’s really hard to listen to your body during the Christmas season, when your bod is screaming for mince pies to the tune of festive songs, but you need to get in tune with what you want and what you need.
Saying no is hard, but when you roll into bed at the end of the day, was the third helping of trifle worth it? (No, but seriously, was it?)
Move Your Body
Moving your body has countless benefits and it’s probably one of the key things you can do this Christmas season to keep yourself on track with your health and fitness goals.
Your gym may be closed over the core Christmas days, so you could do some at-home bodyweight exercises to get the blood pumping. If you’re not up for a big workout session, or you’re feeling a little worse for wear, yoga is a good one to still get moving without being too high-impact.
At the very least, grab your friends and family, wrap up warm and head out for a walk to strut off that stuffing.
Find Your Balance
For a lot of us, prolonged time off at Christmas is something we work towards in the latter part of the year. While this gives us something to work towards, it also means that we really need the time off when it arrives.
If this is you, take time to evaluate what your priorities are. If you want to take time off from working out and eating well – to give yourself a physical and mental break – then do it.
Finding the right balance is super important: somewhere between a Christmas day workout because you love it and find it re-energizing and hitting the gym on Christmas day to punish yourself for those breakfast chocolates.
Your balance may be starting your Christmas morning with yoga and then getting on the Buck’s Fizz, or taking a few days off to rest, recover and spend quality time with family.
It’s your balance – find it.
Eating out and eating foods that are rich, sweet and processed seems to be the way at Christmas, and if you’re dining out or at your friends, you won’t have much of a choice when it comes to nutritious snacks.
Meal prepping for the times in between these indulgent feasts may be your best bet.
Get a well-balanced and nutritious breakfast in at home before heading out and you’ll find that you’ll save money and be less lethargic, as you’ve got a healthy meal in you.
Prepping meals in advance also saves you time – a factor that is seriously lacking in December.
Usually, prepping all your meals on a Sunday or Monday means that you’re less likely to stray when the office cake comes around, but if you’re at home surrounded by the snack cupboard and the constant exchange of chocolate tins, having prepped meals and pre-prepared healthy snacks is a sure-fire way to keep your nutrition as on track as it can be, without restricting yourself too much.
Good Portion Control
Next up is keeping an eye on your portion control.
Christmas is the time where the rule book goes flying out of the window. Chocolate for breakfast? Sure! Cheese as a mid-morning snack? Absolutely. Second, third, fourth helpings? Why not…
Well, we hate to break it to you, but having these types of treats is not what will cause you to gain festive fat – it’s overindulging in them that will make you tired and affect your mood, as well as piling on the pounds that you’ve worked all year to keep off.
We are huge fans of having a little bit of what your fancy; like we said, indulge in that cheese, girl. But did you really need the entire wheel of brie? (We wish!)
Start with the Healthy Option
If you fill up on health snacks, you’re less likely to pick at other types of food on the table.
It’s a really simple one, but if you’re heading to a party where the snack trays are rife, fill up before you go on healthy snacks and then, when you get there, you won’t be starving hungry (because waiting for one meal does that, right?!). Instead, you can make informed decisions about what to eat without your stomach directing you.
Likewise, you should never do a food shop on an empty stomach – exactly how did your weekly shop jump up from £30 to £60? You should never cruise the snack station with hunger pangs leading the way.
Manage Your Stress
Most importantly, enjoy the holiday season. If you gain a little weight and you want to get rid of it, then eating healthily post-Christmas and getting back to your workout routine will help you, but if you miss the memories you’d make letting go and getting stuck in to the season, they’re something that you can’t get back.