On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…a family bbq and then a work cocktail function meaning a very bloated tummy for me!
Okay so, I know you get the drift. Christmas means catching up with friends, family and also attending various celebrations and functions. Often this can be more than twice a week and weekends. This inevitably leads to lots of opportunities to be eat and drink more than we need to.
SO, with that in mind, here are heaps of ideas to stay in shape throughout this Christmas (and New Year!) period.
1. Plan ahead. If you are going to a function at a restaurant etc, call ahead and ask about the menu. (I do this regularly) If you know what is on offer, you can already choose what you are going to eat. Once you make your decision, you are less likely to have other tempting options.
2. Is how many litres of water you need to drink during the day. More when you consume alcohol or if you exercise. Break it down and aim to drink a certain amount at various times (eg, drink 1L by midday)
3. Look at your calendar and know what functions you will be attending each week. Decide which one you will relax with your eating and which ones you will stick to your eating plan. Eating everything at all the functions will make you feel sick and also set you back and you don’t want to do that to yourself.
4. Take your own food to family functions especially if you know they don’t eat or cook the same way you do. Alternatively you can always eat something before you go, then eat a smaller amount when you get there.
5. Keep active on christmas day. Play a game, go for a walk etc. If you don’t do it that day, then do it the next day!
6. Work really hard until Christmas (train hard, eat clean). This means that you’ll be ahead of yourself and feel like you really deserve a day off to relax your eating, and it will minimise the damage done if you eat too much
7. When there is lots of food on offer, stick to lighter foods such as prawns, oysters, some meats and of course vegies/salad and fruit
8. Avoid diving in to the fried nibbles or high calorie chips and dips, see above tip for better options
9. If you like drinking alcoholic beverages you have two options: Abstain or minimise! Swap high calories drinks like full strength beer or cocktails for a light beer or spirits with mineral water (but don’t you dare drink twice as much – it doesn’t work like that!)
10. Have someone with you at functions or get togethers, who can support you. You might like to get them to put food on your plate if you feel you would overload it with crap. Sometimes it’s better having someone else control things until you can take over
11. Breathe! Christmas can be stressful, which in turn can increase cortisol (our stress hormone) which leads to fat retention. Find a quite moment every day to calm yourself down
12. Aim to even things out. If you have eaten a really big lunch one day, make sure you ease off the calories at night and do some exercise the next day. You will feel much better than chowing down on more food the same night, that will just lead you to a bloated tummy, and then the guilts can take over.
13. If you are doing any driving over the holidays, plan your snacks very carefully. This can be a BIG TRAP! We often eat during car trips because of boredom NOT because we actually need food. Ask yourself ‘If this was a normal day, would I need to eat during that time in the car?’ So if the trip is 3 hours, yes you probably would be, so pack you normal snack to eat. If the answer is no, then guess what, take your water with you and keep busy on the drive! Pack your next snack/meal anyway so you can eat it when you stop or if traffic is bad.
14. If you are going away, use it to your advantage and excercise MORE not LESS! You have more time to do your workouts, so get the most out of the opportunity
15. If you are driving with family or friends and they need to stop and eat, you don’t have to eat poorly. I repeat, you do not have to eat poorly. There is always a better option. Most fast food places have at least a salad on the menu. On the F3 there is a great little place called ‘Oliver’s Real Food’. They have fantastic, fresh, organic food. They even sell servings of hot steamed green beans…yummo! You get to choose what you eat, let the others have what they want, but do yourself and your energy a favour and stick to something fresh and light.
16. Sleep well. Sometimes easier said than done with late night functions, endless hours of cooking and preparing food, and wrapping presents. However, do try to get to bed at your normal time so you body can recover. Otherwise it can also increase cortisol (see tip 11)
17. Multi-task. If you are too busy to schedule in time to do a workout try these ideas:
* When you are cooking, every time you see a word like ‘whisk, whip, cut, chop, mix’ etc do 10 reps of squat jumps before starting that step of the recipe. (lord help you if you’re making a fruit cake…that thing can have a lot of steps!)
* Wrapping presents on the floor? Try doing 5 crunches or another core exercise every time you finish wrapping a gift
* Need to go to the shops (again?!) take your comfy gym clothes and joggers, park a little further away, and don’t dawdle! You’d be surprised how efficient you can be when you walk faster
18. Catch ups don’t need to based around sitting still and eating. Get your friends together for a game of footy at the park, or ice skating, kayaking, horseriding, paintball, surfing..whatever. Just something that you can enjoy together.
19. Give yourself and your friends a gift and look for healthier versions of normal christmas recipes. There are heaps of websites like www.taste.com.au or that have lots of low calorie swaps, that still taste great. Alternatively buy some low calorie cookbooks to use or give to someone else
20. Speaking of gifts, pay for someone special to have a gym session or PT session. That way you can both be motivated from the New Year when all the resolutions start
21. If you overeat at during this whole period, don’t beat yourself up. Please! This can lead to an unhelpful cycle of overeating and emotional turmoil. Don’t promise to ‘start again tomorrow’, start right away. The next meal you eat will be clean, you will do a great workout.
22. Spend your days in your gym clothes, you probably won’t feel like being lazy or eating too much if you see your tummy in a tight shirt
23. Think about your goals and if eating lots of fruit cake and chocolates and wine is really worth all the hard work you will have to do to work it all off again.
24. If you receive lots of edible gifts (like chocolates) take them to work or to your family lunch to share around. And yes, it is absolutely okay to re-gift them (as always, make sure it’s not to the person who gave them to you!!)
25. Finally, give yourself a break, take time to appreciate what Christmas is about. Is it about getting hot and bothered about not finding a parking spot, or big queues? Is it about who can eat the most on Christmas Day? No. It’s about spending special time with special people. So enjoy the quality time for what it is. Think about all the people who may not be having such a special Christmas due to sickness, tragedy, povery etc and realise there are far more important things in life than eating Aunty Jo’s Christmas Pudding.