The festive season has well and truly begun. Yes, while this is a time of year many of us look forward to, it can also be a time where we throw our health and fitness goals out the window and then fall into the new year, new me trap. Well, what if we tell you it doesn't have to be this way? You can still enjoy the festive season and maintain your weight and healthy habits. Here are 5 simple things you can implement over the next few weeks to help you keep on top of your health.
1. Set Realistic Goals
The weeks surrounding Christmas and New Year's are not the time to be aiming for fat loss. Studies have shown that, on average, people gain 1-5kg over the festive season. Maintenance is a great goal to have for this time of the year and will ensure you don't start the new year off on the wrong foot. The goal of weight maintenance is heavily underrated. Focusing your energy and attention on maintaining where you are currently at still requires effort and work. It is important to be realistic with yourself and set a goal that you can stick to; this will ensure you aren't left feeling disappointed and uninspired coming into the new year. Remember, fat loss can wait, and it is better to wait until you can prioritise it and get the results you are after without feeling like you are missing out on memories.
2. Get Rid of the All or Nothing Mindset
If you use the phrases 'I’ll start on Monday' or 'I will try again in the new year,' then you could be an offender of the all-or-nothing approach. The issue with this mindset is that it means you are either ALL IN or ALL OUT, and as soon as something isn’t perfect or 100% on track, you throw in the towel and start all over again in weeks or months' time. Being 100% perfect and on track 100% of the time is completely unsustainable and unrealistic, especially at this time of year. So, let's shift this thought process and focus on balance and doing the best we can over perfection. Think 80% whole foods, 20% soul foods.
3. Keep Moving
This is not the time of year to stop going to the gym. Adjust the goal to focus on getting stronger, training for health and longevity, or simply trying something new, such as boxing or a new group training session. If you are away and can’t make it to the gym, focus on increasing your daily activities—go for walks, try a new sport, or involve your family and friends in activities like paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking; the options are endless! Get creative, get outdoors, and have some fun.
It is commonly believed that alcohol contains no calories. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, and alcohol actually contains 7 calories per gram. Alcohol also impacts sleep and recovery, as well as impairs our ability to make rational decisions. Have you ever found yourself a few wines deep, digging into the cheese board, or in the kebab shop after a night of drinking? Yep, me too. Planning ahead and accounting for the alcohol will help ensure you don’t go overboard this festive season. Here are our top tips when it comes to alcohol:
- Avoid cocktails or sugary mixers, as these are loaded with extra calories on top of the alcohol calories.
- To save calories, opt for spirits with soda water or diet soft drink, low-carb beer, or mid-strength alcohol.
- If socialising, have a filling, high-protein meal before you go to avoid overeating on calorie-dense foods.
- Drive to the event if possible.
- Practice moderation, do you have to consume alcohol at every social event this festive season?
5. Plan Ahead
It is as simple as just being organised! Ensure you have nutritious food on hand so you can throw meals together at home when you are in control of your food. If you have a meal out or an event, try your best to nourish your body with whole, nutrient-dense foods in the lead-up to it. At the start of the week, sit down and set time aside for your training sessions. If you can plan and prioritise a few healthy habits each day, you will be well on track to a strong 2024.