Beat the Festive Binge
Christmas can be a challenging time to keep focused on your health and fitness goals, whether it is winter training for a ½ marathon or to maintain your weight loss. The purpose of this blog is to help you devise some strategies to keep on track and moving in a forward direction.
The main key point is DON’T GIVE UP! If you working towards weight loss then aim to at least maintain weight or if you are training for an event then still get out and do something. Something is better than nothing. Don’t give up hope. It’s still in your control. It is possible to have fun as well and stay on goal. If you give up and don’t have sight of a goal you will do even less, eat even more and ultimately go backwards in your training.
Below are some practical tips to address some of the hurdles faced over the festive period. ULTIMATELY THERE ARE NO EXCUSES, it’s just how much you want it and how well prepared you are.
Exercise- Struggling to find time around a busy social schedule? Lacking in motivation to get out whilst everyone is “enjoying” themselves? Try the below to help motivate and be most efficient with your time:
- Spend time outdoors. This will inherently involve some kind of exercise. So if you have family with or without kids, get out for a walk or cycle ride over the holidays. Be active and enjoy the fresh air. Much better than being in watching a film.
- Invest in your health. Buy presents for each other or the family that will keep them active. A Wii console, Fitbit, football goal, bike, new pair of boots, a kite etc. Anything that will encourage your kids, family or friends to get out and be active.
- Use your legs- if you’re on holiday why not enjoy the time and environment around you and walk to the shops, to the pub, to your friends /family. If you have the time, kill two birds with one stone. If it’s raining walk to the bus stop or invest in an umbrella.
- Early Bird Catches the Worm. Got to fit in your training at the gym or a training run? Get it out of the way early. Get up before you get distracted by other people or jobs/chores. Don’t make excuses, do it and plan it into your week/ social diary. Even better take a friend or a dog along with you to make you more accountable in achieving it.
Food – Potentially the hardest to resist over the festive period with all the favourite foods flying around and others around you not holding back. If you give up all intent in being good then you will ultimately binge and do more damage becoming demotivated before you even start in the New Year.
- Keep your regular meals and eating pattern. Everyone is allowed to have a treat and enjoy themselves however it’s not a free pass for 7 days to over eat. Would you normally eat chocolate all day or instead of breakfast or lunch? No.
- Try not to over indulge. Wait 10 mins before seconds. This will give you time to recognise if you are actually hungry or just being greedy. Or if you are hungry have a glass of water. It may just help fill you and stop you reaching for a snack.
- Prepare. Plan your meals for the week as you normally would. Make sure you aren’t consumed by left overs and having bought too much leaving you obliged to eat it before it goes off. Super markets are open all over Christmas now so there is no need to stock up, unlike 10-20 years ago.
- Cook, Bake & Educate. Christmas is normally when you have free time and maybe a new cook book or new gadget for the kitchen. So why not use that time to cook something new, a new recipe, good or bad. It’s great to do with kids also. It gives you an appreciation of what goes into your food and also show you how easy it can be to make something quick and easy. For example try this recipe.
Drink-More often than not there is a large emphasis on drinking over the Christmas period. If you can avoid it totally then well done but people generally like to relax and have a drink. That’s ok in moderation but over Christmas it’s more common than not in finding yourself having one or more drinks every day during social family or friend catch ups. Don’t slip into unintended boozy day of drinking. On average there is 200kcal in a pint of larger and 170kcal to a medium glass of wine depending on alcoholic content. These can add up.
- Exercise your will power- You can say no! I’m putting it out there but it is possible, whether it’s a trip to the pub, or a shot of tequila or to a round you’ve fallen behind and don’t need. Skip the round or leave early. Things can escalate quickly and its normally when you’re not expecting it.
- Stay hydrated. By keeping hydrated (with water) is the best way to remain full (limiting the pace of drinking more), reduce the chance of dehydration and ultimately help you recover faster.
- Be aware of what your drinking and how much. I’m not saying count drinks or calories, you can if you want to, but it’s when you aren’t conscious of how much your drinking its will accumulate quickly. Give yourself a limit or a cut off time when you want to roughly stop drinking. As alcohol will affect how you sleep.
- Try the more sensible choices. For example: try not to mix drinks, having a slim line or juice option instead of calorie rich options and eat before going out for a drink.
If you manage to implement a few of these suggestions then you will be doing well to keep towards your intended goal or target. Unfortunately it all takes a conscious effort, requiring thought and planning but it doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Have a Merry Christmas and start the New Year the right way.