Now we don’t want to be a scrooge about this, but somewhere between the sweet eggnog, 10th mince pie and copious amounts of cheese and wine, we might want to have a quick reflection on how a month of excess consumption is affecting the progress we’ve made in the gym this year. OK, quick reflection done. Now, pass me a mulled wine!
No seriously, one of the best parts of the festive season is taking a break from routine, be it with nutrition, or fitness, or both. But come New Year’s Day, the resolutions will be in full swing, and guess what the No 1 resolution is? To lose weight!
Why put yourself on the back foot, by veering so dramatically away from the healthy routine you’ve dedicated yourself to over the last year. You can still have a lot of fun and let loose while playing things a bit smarter. Here are our strategies for coping with the overindulgence and late nights that are an inevitable but enjoyable part of the festive season:
1. Stay hydrated
You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again. Water helps transport nutrients to give you energy and keep you healthy. If you’re not hydrated, your body can’t perform at its highest level, making a mid-December gym sesh even less likely. If you’ve always struggled to drink enough plain water, try herbal teas instead. Green tea has been shown to induce the production of detoxification enzymes as well as having exceptional antioxidant potential, which may limit the damaging effects of toxins found in alcohol on cells
2. Start the day with a healthy breakfast
Having a balanced breakfast will do wonders for keeping you on track throughout the day…start as you mean to go on and all that. Porridge stabilises blood sugar levels, which helps control appetite later in the day, so you won’t be the first one diving into the Quality Street tin. Alternatively, a probiotic yogurt will help support the immune system and promote digestive health, as well as combat some of the less beneficial effects of the party season, like too much alcohol and not enough sleep.
3. Check the menu before getting to the restaurant
From client lunches to family get-togethers, we tend to eat out a lot more over the festive period. Giving yourself a little longer to process the menu and decide on your food order, will do wonders for helping you make better choices. It’s been proven that “hunger fog”, seen when you go to the supermarket hungry and leave with bags full of unhealthy treats, really is a thing. Don’t let yourself get to this stage!
4. A reduced workout plan is better than none
We know our diaries will get booked up with social events and some people’s work demands might increase to hit ‘end of year’ targets. But you don’t need to can your entire week’s training plan because you’ve missed a session, or even if you’ve missed almost all the sessions you planned. Research has shown, just one workout a week will help maintain your body’s basic health needs. We live in the real world, so if all you can fit in is your weekly PT session, then know that you’re still doing your body a world of good and January won’t feel so bad.
5. Shrug off any guilt
A few off-plan meals, proseccos and even chocolate for breakfast (yes, we all do it) aren’t going to hurt you long term, as long as you know when enough is enough and you put together a plan to get back on track. ‘Tis the season to relax, enjoy yourself and think about how far you’ve come this year.