Lots of us will look forward to all the delicious food & drink kicking about at Christmas, from your work Christmas 'do' to the Boxing Day buffet.... *drools*. For some of us, it's a prospect we fear especially if we're trying to achieve particular goals that don't ordinarily involve a festive film marathon and 16 mince pies in one sitting.
Truth is, unless you're on a very strict plan (e.g. a weight-making sport on the horizon or a bodybuilding contest in the New Year), there's no reason why you can't still enjoy all of your favourite festive foods and fancies, but here are my 6 top tips for keeping things in check.
1. Plan ahead:
This sounds a bit boring, and I don't mean anything involving tupperware at every turn. Figure out how many dinners or social events you've got coming up and you could implement some collateral damage. Do you have a calorie goal? You can look at this a couple of ways; either try and offset some of your events with lower calorie days either side within the same week, or figure out what you're eating and do a quick reconciliation of what it's going to come in at so you can make a choice about what to pick off the menu / how much you drink etc.
2. Beware the buffet:
Yes, they're delicious. Anyone who said they don't like a Christmas spread would be completely lying but a couple of plates can very quickly equal 1500+ kcals. My top tip would be to go for one good plateful + a pudding. Choose a source of protein to take up approx 1/3 of your plate (you're damned sure there will be turkey) and then use all your will power to not fill up the rest with cheese ;) Have a bit of everything you fancy and you'll be sure to end up with a decent balance of protein, carbs and fats. Okay, okay, so there won't be veggies and lots of things containing a tonne of vitamins and minerals, but give yourself a break.. it's Christmas!
3. Use convenient sources of protein to stop mindless snacking:
You're sat watching Scrooged with the family, the Celebrations tin goes round, and before you all know it, the tin is empty. Familiar? Yeah... So try and keep yourself topped up with protein during the holidays. Even if it's getting a shake or bar in; I don't mean you need to cook lean turkey each day. Getting adequate protein could help stave of hunger and make you stop and think before delving into the Quality Street. If you still want to delve face-first, and who could blame you, make yourself hold onto your wrappers. If you throw them away each time, you'll have absolutely no idea how many you've eaten compared to having a lap full of shiny papers. And for goodness sake, savour each one of those bad boys!
4. Nuts about nuts? Try this:
Buy nuts ready for cracking and a nutcracker if you don't already have one. I absolutely guarantee you won't eat even HALF the amount of nuts you would if you buy a bag of ready-to-eat mixed nuts. Plus, you'll avoid all the salt & coatings. And I'm fairly sure there must be *some* evidence about the calories burned actually cracking the nuts. Okay, that's far-fetched, but the effort will mean you're savouring each nut more than you would grabbing a handful from a bowl and chucking them in your mouth. Remember these little guys are quite calorific so keeping tabs on how many you're eating is a good idea.
5. Stay (relatively) active:
Right, this one I'm deadly serious about. This doesn't mean you can't enjoy curling up in front of the fire and watching movies, but c'mon. For most of us, we'll have time off work, so try and do something active each day. Go out for walks, take the kids out on their new bikes (if Santa was that generous), or enjoy the quiet of the gym. You don't have to do anything shocking, but ensuring you're moving about on most days of the break will help with your energy balance. And if all else fails, an animated game of charades won't do any harm ;)
6. Be merry:
All that being said, it's really important to still let your hair down and enjoy this wonderful time of the year. Remember, a day here and there of sitting around in your onesie chowing down on Pringles isn't going to cause any long term damage. Just enjoy everything in moderation and don't make January a tough slog for yourself. Balance is key.
PS - If you feel you need some one-to-one help and coaching either over the holiday period or in January, please get in touch xx