December is here, the pre-Christmas season where everybody is jolly has started. Supermarkets, coffee shops and restaurants are all promoting festive menus and the irresistible Christmas spiced drinks and food that you can only buy this time of the year. Not to mention the increased number of festive social gatherings, from work parties through catching up with friends to family dinners.
Many people, including some of my clients fear that while they are having fun, they'll also gain unwanted pounds this month. What if I told you that there is a way to prevent the holiday weight gain and what’s even more, you don’t need to deprive yourself from all the festive goodies. You just need to be organised and stick to most of the sensible habits that you have already built in the past months. So, here are 9 simple tips to stay on top of your fitness journey while enjoying the food and drinks you like.
#1. Change Your Mindset
For most people still trying to hit the gym hard and be ‘good’ with their diet 100% can turn into a disaster in terms of self-respect and sense of achievement. If that’s you, I suggest you step out of that hard-core fitness mindset, be realistic and pick your battles this month.
Frustration stems from the discrepancy between what you promised you would do and what you will actually do. Look at your calendar, work out realistic nutrition and workout goals for these weeks and if needed restructure with maintenance in mind.
#2. Stick to Your Habits in the Week
Make a pact with yourself that you’ll still adhere to your plan 4 days a week. The easiest is staying on track Monday-Thursday and allow some slack over the weekend. This means, you should still attend at least 2-3 sessions a week, whether that’s group training, online workouts or in person session with your personal trainer, keep them going. Keep meal planning on top of your mind for those 4 days.
#3. Stay Alcohol-Free Most Days
If your social events fall between Thursday-Saturday, avoid booze Sunday to Thursday. If your schedule is scattered, make sure you have at least 4 clean days every week. If you must, choose drinks that are lower in calories: prosecco and a single gin with slimline tonic are among those around 100kcal per glass.
#4. Trick Yourself into Smaller Portions
Buffet lunches and dinners are the most dangerous events with unlimited food and drinks available. Choose a smaller plate, fill it up once and only help yourself to one portion of pudding. Focus on lean protein and vegetables first, then add high calorie and fatty sides sparingly.
#5. Choose Foods You Absolutely Love
When it comes to indulging in festive feasts, focus on the dishes and foods you really love and don’t settle with anything less. Whether that’s turkey, mince pies, pumpkin spice lattes or mulled wine, enjoy them when you have them but keep away from anything subpar.
#6. Ditch the Aperitif
Even on nights when you allow yourself to drink alcohol, skip the pre-meal drink for more than one reason. First, it adds calories to your meal, but research also suggests it makes you eat more than you otherwise would. There’s a reason they are called aperitifs.
#7. Attend a Christmas Charity Activity
Most charities and organisation hold Santa and Christmas themed events, like an achievable bike ride, 5k run or walk to raise funds for their cause. Signing up for such event will give you a good reason to keep exercising. It will also make you feel good about yourself and as a bonus you will help those in need.
We know that sleep has an impact on weight loss and energy levels, so make it a point to sleep enough every night, no matter your schedule. It will save you the tired cravings and keep your appetite in check.
#9. Set Your Fitness Goals for Next Year
Spend an hour one evening to create a list of events you’d like to attend and jot down bodyweight or sports performance goals you’d like to work towards after New Years Eve. Start planning, even decide to commit to fitness services so once January hits, you know exactly what you’ll be doing, where and when.
You can pick and choose one or more of these 9 tips and customise them to your own needs. This way you can prevent feeling guilty and allow yourself to enjoy the festivities this year. Have you got questions, or you’d need some pointers to create your goals for next year? Feel free to get in touch!
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My name is Calumn, founder of CD Fitness Coaching. You’ll find me in and around the gym and helping like minded people get the results they deserve. I enjoy everything from keeping fit, yoga, snowboarding, coffee and making people happy. If you would like to be a part of the bigger community join my Facebook group, Healthy Living With CD Fitness Coaching is a must.