There will be tonnes of articles and social media posts with nutritional tips and tricks on how to avoid getting fat this holiday season. But can we get real for a moment?
I’m not swapping out my roast potatoes for carrots and neither should you*.
(Note: this advice really does depend on your individual circumstances and should be taken with a grain of salt).
It’s not just about Christmas Day. You’ve got your staff Christmas party, Christmas drinks with mates, neighbours etc…Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day! That’s like 7 events!
The real ‘weight-gainers’ over the festive season are those who use this period as an excuse to eat whatever and whenever they want from their work Christmas party until the 2nd of January! It’s a free-for-all that doesn’t end well.
My Christmas is really fun! Hanging out with friends and family, taking a break from work etc…Yep, I’ll eat more calories than I’m used to and probably be less active than I normally would be throughout the year…and yes, I’ll put on a little bit of weight. I know it’s coming and I’m looking forward to it…with ZERO guilt.
Why? Because it’s all about balance.
Firstly, I know that if I eat a little bit less post-January 2nd it will all balance out. I’m not talking about starving myself for a couple of weeks on some lemon detox diet or anything. I’ll just peg things back a little bit and up the exercise to my normal routine throughout the year.
Secondly, I’ll balance out quite quickly because I won’t put on too much weight in the first place. I’ll employ strategies in and among the 7 Christmas events that I attend to minimise the damage.
I’ll do these things:
Play with the kids, run around outside, load up on incidental activity.
Keep up with the planned exercise for as long as I can before everything shuts down on the public holidays.
Cut out the snacks. I usually snack between main meals during the year, but over this period I focus my calorie intake on 3 main meals per day. This enables me to cut out all the little calorie bombs like chocolates and biscuits that are normally consumed for no better reason other than ‘because it’s Christmas’.
Make sure I have a healthy breakfast. Really sets me up for the day and helps me avoid that free-for-all mindset later in the day.
Keep a lid on the booze. Nothing wrong with a few beers here and there. But if I lose control I feel tired and sluggish. When I'm feeling tired, implementing the previous 4 points usually goes out the window.
Those seven or so events of greater indulgence than normal can quite easily turn into a whole month of free-for-all eating and drinking.
To avoid this, keep your routine ‘business as usual’ as much as possible. Definitely incorporate some strategies to minimise the weight gain, but be realistic about it, go with it, and throw the guilt out the window.