Let’s be realistic! I’m not going to be a hypocrite and tell you to sidestep certain food and drinks over the next few weeks.
If you have a husband like mine who is carting in boxes of Tunnocks Teacakes and Snowballs (because they were on special offer in Tesco) to the house since the start of December, the chances are that all the good intentions have already gone pooooff!
The Xmas goodies that are hidden in the high cupboards away from the kids until Christmas Day have already fallen prey to the greedy adult sized goblins called Mum and Dad! You’d think we would learn our lesson every year, but we never do.
The one lesson I have learned, though, over the years, is to not feel guilty about “slight” overindulgences during holidays and the fact that I might not have seen inside a gym for a week.
I believe it’s a bloated tummy and tight jeans, married with an extra serving of guilt, that drives us in our masses on 1st January to start silly fad diets that clearly do not work, and that we will never sustain on a long term basis.
One important point to remember is that it’s not Christmas that causes the problem but it’s what you do the other 51 weeks of the year.
It’s what we do on average that counts! Not Xmas Week, Easter or a two-week summer holiday in the Costas!
Avoid the “What the hell mindset”
That said, I am not giving you the nod to go and get loaded with booze and eat yourself into oblivion!
The usual mindset at Christmas is to eat and drink everything in sight and serve the consequences in January.
It requires overeating by 3500 calories over maintenance calories to gain a pound of body fat. That’s a lot of food!
When we feel bloated and have eaten badly for a few days we tend to abandon all self-restraint and really go for it in style!
The body retains a lot of fluid when eating processed, high sugar carbohydrates. Don’t mistake this for an increase in body fat; it’s like saying “Sure I have one flat tyre, let me just slash the other three!”
It’s definitely unrealistic to think you can out-train two weeks of festive excess.
But maintaining a moderate level of movement has its benefits. Going out for a long walk, or trying a class that you haven’t had a chance to do before, will keep things ticking along until you get back into your normal fitness regime.
Plus getting into the fresh air after being cooped up inside for a few days is beneficial for your mental health.
In relation to your food, fill your plate with plenty of lean protein leftovers like turkey, ham, beef and healthy vegetables.
These provide antioxidants which help eliminate toxins ingested from alcohol and junk food.
The protein will keep you feeling fuller for longer which will help you naturally eat less calories overall.
Don’t skip meals, as this will allow for junk foods to backfire.
Hunger, cravings and constantly thinking about food usually lead to a bingeing mentality.
Don’t approach these next few weeks with feelings of dread. Adopt some of the common sense approaches I have mentioned to avoid going off the rails.
Start January adopting sensible and realistic health and fitness goals that you can see yourself maintaining long term.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Healthy Happy New Year x