Over the past few weeks we have been well and truly gripped by a dip in plummeting temperatures, dark nights and the increase in reality television. This can only mean one thing...winter has arrived!
As we put our heating on permanently, for the foreseeable future, those days of heading out to the gym before and after work become more a thought than an action. Especially during the festive period where we look to eat, drink and be merry. There is a solution to overcome that feeling of indulgence and I aim to explain how you can stay on top of your diets, your goals and help prevent the dreaded winter weight gain.
According to the British Dietetic Association people in the UK will, on average, consume around 6000 calories on Christmas day and an extra 500 calories per day during the festive period. This equates to around a 0.5-1.5kg weight gain which doesn’t seem much but it is widely known that once on, the festive bulge is notoriously hard to get rid of.
Fear not, I am here to help and hopefully with these tips we can overcome winter weight gain together.
On average people in the UK will consume around 6000 cal on Christmas day and an extra 500 calories per day during the festive period"
I love the festive period, I’m like a moth to a flame, all those dazzling lights, sweet smelling Christmas stalls and the amazing carol voices you hear around the city it’s enough to make you want it all year round. With all these good vibes going on around you it’s easy to get carried away. Snacking in between shops, grab a mulled wine to warm up and meet some mates for a well deserved pint before wrapping those Christmas prezzies. Before you know those extra 500 calories a day are stacking up. Right now you’re probably thinking what am I to do if I want to stay on course with my fitness plans and good intentions? Well let me tell you It’s not all doom and gloom. In fact it’s quite the opposite.
I’ll let you into a little secret most personal trainer won’t tell you. Yes we drink, yes we eat junk, we eat out and yes we go on nights out. I bet you that shocked your socks off. You know what, as a personal trainer I practice balance and this is something I pass on to all my clients and now you're are in on the secret - BALANCE and MODERATION is the key to success. Over the festive period I don't change anything in my training routine, my mindset is the same and life goes on.
"YOU SHOULDN'T BE WORRYING ABOUT WHAT YOU EAT BETWEEN CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR, YOU SHOULD BE WORRYING ABOUT WHAT YOU EAT BETWEEN NEW YEAR AND CHRISTMAS" - UNKNOWN
The above quote sums it up perfectly. To many of us struggle with our diet and fitness between Christmas and new year. Our real aim and wake up call should be what we eat all year round.
9 Tips That Will Actually Allow You To Have A Great Time This Christmas And Not Worry About The Bulge.
1. You Still Have Goals
Just because it’s Christmas you still have a goal to achieve and you owe it to yourself to continue with all the hard work you have put in throughout the year. Consider going out for a nice long winter walk which will rack those step counts up. Even better put those extra calories to good use and squeeze in an extra workout. Try some of these body weight workout here.
2. Keep Up The Exercise
Don’t slip off the wagon. Why undo all your hard work you’ve achieved up until now with being over indulgent. People who stop exercising altogether over the festive period are likely to be the ones who put the weight on. If you are working with a personal trainer think about upping the number sessions you do with them over this time. They will hold you accountable and it will make you go in and workout. If you don’t have a personal trainer go for longer walks with the dog or ask a friend to go along for a walk with you.
3. Know When To Say No
One of the biggest problems with weight gain over Christmas is quite simply put, people don’t know when to say no. That extra drink in the bar can lead you to a hangover from hell. What happens when most people are hungover they crave junk food and this will only accelerate your weight gain. I’m not saying lock yourself away but just know when to say no. This goes for food too, that extra spoonful of trifle, do you really need it. The extra spoon is usually the last straw before you go into the Christmas food coma that happens all too often at this time of year. Be sensible.
4. Do I Have To Go To The Gym On Christmas Day?
Say what? Does anyone actually do this? Christmas day is a time to spend with the family and enjoy each other's company. There are plenty other ways in which you can exercise on Christmas day. Why don’t you go out for a walk after lunch, play a game of twister, go out for a walk oh one last exercise, go out for a walk.
5. Be Prepared, Have a Plan
Party food is an essential part of any Christmas party, we all know how good those pigs in blankets or the small sausage rolls dipped in sweet chilli sauce taste. But did you know that they are super unhealthy and very fatty. So before you head to a Christmas do, why don’t you have a healthy snack to fill you up slightly. That way you won't be inclined to stuff your face on party food.
6. Start The Day Right
Have a nutrient dense breakfast. Porridge with blueberries washed down with a nice smoothie will quickly suppress any cravings you may have before lunch. Snacking between breakfast and lunch usually occurs when you haven’t had a good breakfast or no breakfast at all. If you know you are going to be in a rush in the morning plan and make a breakfast smoothie the night before. Then it’s just a simple case of drinking it in the morning. Easy! Find out about my smoothie recipes here.
7. Check The Restaurant menu First
Heading out to a restaurant should be a fun experience but people find that if they are on a “diet” they’ll tend to go for a chicken Caesar salad because it's a panic decision. You know you should eat healthy but you are unsure what to order so you order what you think is healthy. Why out of all the foods do I mention this? Well it’s because it’s not actually that healthy and you would be as well have a burger and chips. The chicken is probably the healthiest part, the salad is drenched in Caesar dressing, the croutons are fried, the bacon is fried and so on. So my advice to you is, if you know you are heading to a restaurant for dinner or lunch, check out online what they have on the menu in advance. This way you won’t panic order.
8. Keep A Loose Food Diary
A loose food diary is a good way to keep track of what you are eating over the festive period. As with a normal food diary you literally track everything that you eat, a loose food diary focuses on the big influencing factors to weight gain such as carbohydrates, alcohol and fats. By writing these groups down you’ll quickly see how much you are eating and give you a visual cue on how many calories you have consumed. The best way to track is to use an app which you can download on your smartphone called Myfitnesspal.
Most importantly relax, at the end of the day if you have planned your festive period, done your food shopping for the big day and got your presents all wrapped and sorted then mentally you will feel relaxed. Christmas should be an enjoyable time of year. With that said i think this quote sums everything up nicely “If you fail to plan, You plan to fail”.
If you fail to plan, You plan to fail”
Look I can sit here and write all the fitness tips in the world and yes some of you will act upon them all or take one or two of them away but I can’t make everyone do it. As I have mentioned Christmas is a great time of year and a time I want you to enjoy. At the end of the day, YOU are in complete control of your goals and choices you make. If you fall off the wagon with your diet or have a bad day on the booze, don’t worry about it. What’s done is done and move on. You can’t change the past you your can write your future. What are you going to do come January 1st, are you going to stand with your head held high knowing you did a good job over the festive period or are you going to gain the winter bulge and wish you had listened to Calumn. Whatever happens I am here for you, see you on the other side….
Have a great festive period,
Personal Training in Edinburgh
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.