We are all guilty of overindulging at Christmas time and why wouldn't we be? One of the best things about the festive season is the excuse to chow down on a fruit mince pie or twelve! "It's only one month a year" we say but let's be honest; a crazy December often turns into a crazy January and sometimes it's March before we manage to get our health back on track! Falling off the fitness wagon in December can reverse all the hard work you've put in at the gym throughout the year but enjoying the festivities is something we don't want to miss out on for the sake of a kilo or two. So can we have our fruit cake and eat it too?
Bloody yes we can! It's not about being restrictive, it's about maintaining balance and staying on track so you're not starting from scratch every time the Christmas shenanigans come to an end. A little forward planning is all you need to keep yourself in check these holidays so you can start the new year in the best and healthiest way possible.
I'm not a Scrooge and I'm certainly not trying to kill your Chrissy vibes; in fact this is my absolute favourite time of year so I'm all about finding ways to enjoy the festivities without turning into a Christmas turkey! Lets face it, we feel like crap when we stop exercising and start over eating so why not make some small changes to keep your mind and body happy? Enjoy the holidays without coming completely unravelled by following my 5 easy tips to feel fit, not fat this Christmas...
1. Make exercise a priority. Yes we get busy and yes we have more fancy parties to attend BUT you should not use that as an excuse to skip your workouts. Exercise doesn't have to swallow up two hours of your day; in fact a high intensity 30 minute circuit would be the perfect way to kick off your morning and you could even use your own backyard. Staying active over Christmas not only reduces your chances of gaining weight, it also helps energise you, reduces stress and gives you a break from the in-laws ;-)
2. Pick your poison. Whether you're at work or at home, there's always a plethora of delicious temptations available at this time of year. With a gingerbread cookie around every corner waiting to sabotage your diet, it's impossible to completely avoid sugary treats but guess what?... You shouldn't be avoiding it! It's ok to eat the cookie! In saying that, if you're a person that can't stop at one (guilty), it may be your in your best interest to say no sometimes. Save your indulging for the weekends or events rather than snacking out on unnecessary sugar all day, every day. We know that it's a slippery slope when it comes to sugar.
3. Drink wisely. There will be plenty of opportunities to crack open a bottle during the festive season and again, there's no harm in that but keep the boozing for occasions rather than mindless drinking at home watching Netflix. It goes back to the old 'all or nothing' mentality when we think that December is a write off and we can just "start over in the new year". It doesn't have to be that way! You can enjoy a few extra drinks each week without turning into Courtney Love on a bender for the next three months. Use the days when you have nothing on as 'alcohol free' days because there will be plenty of opportunities to tuck into that glass of red, don't worry about that!
4. Stick to your normal routine (most of the time) Yes there are fruit mince pies at Baker's Delight (did I already mention fruit mince pies?) but it doesn't mean that your day to day needs to be much different than the rest of the year. Breakfast and lunch can still be healthy meals especially if you know you will be splurging during the evenings. Stick to your normal eating plan from Monday to Friday and this will also help to keep you on track with your exercise routine.
5. Increase your incidental fitness. Start walking to work or take the dog for a slightly longer stroll in the evenings. The added activity will help counter balance the extra calories you'll be consuming and every bit counts. Remember that exercise doesn't just mean going to the gym; if you're off work during the holidays, go for a bush walk or a bike ride with the kids. Just keep moving and stay active and you'll feel so much better for it!
A little more 'cushion for the pushin' one month of the year ain't going to kill you but the most important reason for maintaining balance over Christmas is so you don't completely lose control because once you fall off the fitness wagon, it can be very hard to get back on! One month of indulging can turn into three months and not only will you form bad habits but before you know it, you'll undo all the hard work you put in over the previous year and it's back to square one.
Don't get me wrong, I do slow down at Christmas time to enjoy the festivities and of course the food. I love spending time with family and relaxing but I need to keep some balance for my physical and mental health. You can enjoy the holidays without feeling like a blob so stick to these 5 simple guidelines and you will hurtle into new year feeling fabulous.
Here's to a happy, healthy and festive you,