Christmas can be a good to have a chance to catch up with friends and have some fun, so do enjoy seasonal celebrations and don’t beat yourself up about relaxing your health and fitness regime a little. That said, alongside the celebrations the stress of endless preparations, managing family expectations and the financial pressures that go with the festive season can have a serious negative effect on mental health and wellbeing. It is very easy to get into a downward spiral of eating sugary and snack food and squeezing out the time for exercise.
With all the time pressures before and during the festive season it is really easy to forgo your exercise. However exercise will help you deal with the stress that is an inevitable part of Christmas for most of us.
- Just 10 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training (HITT) will elevate the heart rate not only helping you to maintain your fitness but giving you a good dose of mood enhancing endorphins.
- If you know you’ll find an excuse not to exercise, get up 20 minutes earlier in the morning and do your workout before breakfast. Not only will you feel great but it will put you in a positive frame of mind for the rest of the day.
- Exercise in the fresh air for even more of an uplift in mood. Try a family bike ride, go for a run or just get out for a brisk walk.
- Aim to fit in one activity each day over the christmas break.
You can very quickly undo all the good you have done over the year with your nutrition. Enjoy some christmas treats but be selective and don't get into a downward spiral of eating more and more sugary foods. If you can keep up some of your good eating habits.
- Eat a healthy breakfast to set you up for the day. Eating a protein rich breakfast will keep away the hunger pangs until lunch time meaning you are less likely to give into temptation for morning snacks. Try scrambled eggs and smoked salmon with a handful of wilted spinach. Its quick and easy to prepare. Alternatively an oat based porridge made with coconut water for breakfast will slowly release energy across the morning.
- Cut down on carbs particularly wheat based bread and pasta. If you are out for a meal ask to replace your potatoes with extra vegetables. Make batches of homemade soup to freeze for a quick and easy healthy lunch (visit my Facebook page for some soup recipes)
- Pile your plate with green vegetables. You will feel full and get the benefit of all those vital vitamins helping to keep the immune system fighting off those winter bugs.
- Be selective with ‘indulgence’ food. When the chocolates and nibbles come out enjoy some if you want some but be selective. Have some of those you like the most. Don’t have them just for the sake of it.
Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Staying hydrated will help you stay focused. A glass of water before a meal will also help suppress your appetite helping you to avoid over eating.
Manage your alcohol consumption
There is no escaping the fact that alcohol leads to weight gain, so while you may want to enjoy a few drinks at your Christmas Party try to avoid getting into the habit of drinking daily over Christmas. When drinking alcohol make sure you have a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink.
Plan for your Christmas Parties
- On the day of your party, eat protein rich meals (meat, fish, eggs or pulses such as lentils) and avoid carbs.
- Eat before your party so you don’t go there hungry and ready to snack
- Drink a glass of water with each alcoholic drink.
- The morning after your party have a protein based breakfast to avoid sugar and carb cravings. Fit in a 10 minute HIIT workout.
- Treat your parties as a one off indulgence enjoy it but get it out of your system and avoid getting into a downward spiral of overeating and drinking.
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All that remains to be said is Merry Christmas and a Healthy New Year!