Yes, the silly season is upon us, which means loads of parties, food, drinks, more food, more drinks etc etc…..
Many people put on the most amount of weight in these last few weeks of the year than the whole year combined, but it doesn’t need to be this way!!!
In saying this, you don’t want to deprive yourself during the holiday season as it’s a time to celebrate, relax, and have fun with family and friends. So, in today’s blog, I have a few tips that I use during this time which means I can really enjoy myself and eat all of my favourite foods without feeling guilty!
1. Adopt a Flexible Dieting Approach
Flexible dieting is not a diet but is simply counting and tracking your macronutrients that are calculated for you based on your age, height, weight, gender, and activity level. What you choose to eat is up to you as long as you meet your daily macro goals. BUT, before you reach for that extra bit of Christmas pudding, you still want the majority of your food choices to be nutritious whole foods, whilst also enjoying those little pleasures if it fits within your daily limits. For example, if you love chocolate or have been craving pizza, you can plan a small amount into your macro allowances for the day.
This kind of approach to nutrition can be helpful at this time of year where you can enjoy the foods you love as long as it is roughly within your daily calorie allowance. You can use an app like My Fitness Pal to help work this out and track.
For me, I know that I can roughly have around 1400-1500 calories per day. So if I know I have a few functions coming up that week or day, I might eat fewer calories on the day of the function and then “save myself” for the party! Obviously indulgent party foods have far more calories than cleaner eating options, but I can still indulge in all my favourite foods, perhaps by having smaller portion sizes, and eating until I am satisfied, not stuffed to the brim until I can’t move!
So essentially I am eating around the same amount of calories that I would normally, but just in a shorter timeframe and also a different ratio of carbs, proteins and fats. This is not going to make a massive difference to my health and fitness goals, especially if it is only for a day here or there over the Christmas period (not every day!!)
2. Eat Lean in the few days before an event
In addition to flexible dieting on the day of a function, I also try to eat really lean in the few days before the event. So, if I have a Christmas party on the Friday night, Monday through to Thursday I would eat a low carb, high protein diet. When it comes to Friday, this would be my higher carb day so that I can splurge a little more at the party on all my favourites!
3. Get a workout in on the day of the event and if possible, the day after.
Many of us decide that Christmas is a time to chill out and relax, which means they drop any form of exercise altogether. It only takes a few weeks to start to lose cardio fitness and 3 weeks to lose some muscle tone. So, even though I am on holidays, I still try to get in my workouts, even if they are not as long and as intense as usual.
This is especially true if I have several functions. So on the day of an event, I always try to squeeze in at least 30 minutes of a high intensity session. Some of you might remember my blog on the “After Burn effect” (see link).
This means that if you have done a HIIT workout that morning, you’ll be burning more calories while you stand around socialising at the party!! Awesome!
Then I try to back this up by doing another workout the following day after the event. Having this goal in my mind means I don’t go nuts on alcohol at the party and therefore avoid a hangover, so I can get my workout in afterwards!
So these are my top 3 tips to staying as lean as possible over Christmas and New Year but still indulging!
Some other tips which you may find helpful include:
- Eat something healthy before you go out so you are full and don’t overeat on the indulgent options because you are starving!
- Scan the party foods before diving in and alternate between healthier fresh alternatives and the naughties!
- Minimise your alcohol consumption so you can use your daily calories on yummy food instead and if you are going to drink, stick with clear spirits with sparkling mineral or soda water and alternate each drink with plain old water
- If you are bringing a plate, make it a healthier food option so you can turn to this if need be
- Change your mindset about the party season – try not to eat and drink until you are practically in a coma – everything in moderation!
4 C’s to Weight Loss
And lastly, once the new year rolls around, consider my 4 C’s to weight loss and changing body composition so you can get back on track quickly:
- Consistency – aim to do something active each day, even if only for a short time
- Challenge Yourself -always try to push yourself that little bit extra each time. This might be increasing the intensity of your workout by trying to get more repetitions within a timeframe, or increasing your weights that you are lifting or sprinting instead of jogging. Go easy at the start but build up over time. Progress is the key!
- Clean Eating – unfortunately you can’t out exercise a bad diet, so focus on clean eating the majority of the time
- Cut Alcohol – this is often a tough one but just cutting back a bit, especially at this time of year can make a big difference!
So, if you can follow these simple tips, you won’t feel like you have strayed too far from your health and fitness goals, and it will be much easier to get back to your normal routine once the parties are over!
Merry Christmas everyone and hope the coming year is a wonderful year for you!