As December approaches, your thoughts may be turning to how you’re going to keep hold of your recent fitness gains and prevent the reversal of any weight loss. Christmas celebrations with family, friends and work colleagues can disrupt your exercise schedule and more indulgent eating and drinking can mean you consume more calories than you normally would.
So does defending your gains mean you can’t indulge and have a good time over the holiday period? We say of course not! There are strategies you can adopt that can help you get the balance right and have great fun whilst keeping your goals on track. It’s all about moderation and being consistent. Here are our Top 9 Christmas Holiday ‘Stay Consistent’ tips. Take a look and pick a few to try this year.
- Add something new to your Christmas holiday exercise regime. Rather than treating Christmas and New Year as a time to rest up, take the opposite perspective: use it as a great time to challenge yourself to do more or try something new. A daily early morning 5k walk. Try some hill-repeat runs in the park. If you’d rather stay inside, have a go at a press up or sit-ups challenge, or taking the kids skating or swimming. Anything that can add movement to your day will positively impact your health.
- When you’re entertaining use some simple tricks to keep the calorie count down. Simple things like using smaller plates, having healthy pre-dinner appetizers such as crudités or adding a few more veggies to the menu in place of starches can keep things sensible but still delicious.
- Avoid excessive snacking on rich treats. Running a 500 calorie deficit in a day can be quite hard work. Adding 500 extra calories happens in a heartbeat. There are 181 calorie in 5 After Eight mints, 228 calories in just one mince pie and a Venti Caramel Waffle Latte from Starbucks comes in at a whopping 469 calories. If you added all of these items to your normal diet, thats nearly 900 calories! Do that every day for 7 days, and there’s a 1lb weight gain heading your way.
- Try exercise to increase your energy and mood after a late night. It’s tempting to spend the day on the sofa after a big night out, but doing some light exercise, particularly if it’s outside can make you feel more energized.
- Don’t be afraid to discard unwanted biscuits, sweets and chocolates. This is my personal favourite tip. It can feel all wrong, but just because Auntie Jean bought you a big tin of biscuits doesn’t mean you have to eat them all. Give them away, or have a couple and then bin them! (Note: it’s well known in the fitness industry that gyms don’t get busy until the week after New Year. The reason? We have a tendency to start a new fitness regime only when all the Christmas chocs have been eaten!).
- Include alcoholic drinks in your macronutrient counts. If you’re used to keeping track of your macros, then incorporate any alcoholic drinks into your daily carb or fat allowance. Eg if you have (200 calorie) glass of wine, log that as 50g of carbs.
- Don’t “let go of the rope” in your exercise regime. Book in and attend your usual sessions where you can. We promise not to play too much Christmas music!
- Try weighing yourself daily. Although it’s not something we would generally recommend, research has shown that people who conduct a daily weigh in with graphical feedback are more likely to avoid holiday weight gain. The researchers speculate that being aware of small changes in weight can lead to self-imposed behaviour changes that reverse or limit further gains. Perhaps something just to try for the Christmas period before reverting back to weekly or less frequent weighing.
- Set your goals. Treat December just like any other month and set yourself some goals. Sure, you might want to go a little easier on yourself, but by setting goals and tracking your progress you’re more likely to keep or even build on your progress, and move into 2022 with a bang!
Remember to enjoy Christmas time with family and socialising with friends. It’s once a year. Don’t feel guilty for what you eat or drink. A good thing to aim for is maintenance through Christmas. Don’t get frustrated because the scales aren’t budging, just remember routines do slightly change this time of year so aim for consistency and you’ll get to January in a great positive mindset. You’ve got this guys!