As we come into the "silly season" avoiding gaining excess weight can be a challenge to many. We have a full social calendar involving excessive eating and drinking, countless work functions, catching up with friends and finally the big day with family all centering around food and alcohol. What's most important is we understand how to enjoy the festive season and continue to look after our health and fitness. These are our top tips:
- Forward Planning - Fail to plan, plan to fail Another great saying is, prior preparation prevents poor performance, the 5P's. We believe the smartest strategy, especially for those on a fat loss journey, is to set small tangible weekly goals for December and January. We recommend for the first 2 maybe 3 weeks of December to continue on your fat loss journey (a calorie deficit) as close to the 25th Dec as possible for you, for here until maybe the new year or even the 2nd week of January change your program to a maintenance macronutrients allowing yourself to consume extra food and alcohol without blowing out your daily intake. Towards the end of January switch your program back to a fat loss program to continue your journey. This process is to ensure we don’t put on excess kgs over the festive season and undo all your hard work. The worst case scenario we see is those who do no planning and just hope everything goes to plan (see red line in diagram). Our goal is to ensure you have the ultimate success with your health and fitness and can still enjoy the festive season, step 1 is to just set a realistic plan.
- Increase Protein Intake - Protein is the building blocks for our muscle fibers and they also help reduce cravings to make us feel fuller for longer, this is a simple way to reduce pick eating. Prawns are high in protein with zero carbohydrates and zero fats. Fruit salad with some Greek or high protein yoghurt, chicken skewers on the BBQ. We don’t expect you to fully track your nutrition intake over the festive season, however if we're mindful of grabbing protein based foods vs high processed sugar carbohydrates or saturated fats, this will go a long way for your success.
- Allow for desert. Do you love Christmas pudding and custard? Fantastic, please do not deprive yourself of the foods your love. We all have our foods that we love that may not fully align with our fitness goals, however everything in moderation. If you know you're going to have a big day of eating or drinking, reduce your calorie intake of food during the day. Eg for Breakfast you may want to swap out oats, toast with peanut butter for an omelette (protein) full on micronutrient dense foods, capsicum, mushroom tomatoes etc. The problem we see is we just eat way too much all day, this will eventually lead to "back to where you started" with your Health and Fitness.
- Swaps and Portions Control - As mentioned above we generally just eat and drink too much which causes excess weight gain. Can you swap your high carb beer to a low carb beer? Can we swap a beer to Gin or Vodka with a low or no calorie mixture? Can we reduce the size of the Christmas pudding or actually have "just a little bit of custard on top" or does your bowl of custard now resembles a bowl of soup? Can we add water in between drinks to keep us hydrated and slow down the total amount of alcohol we consume. What can you swap out, or have more of to ensure you're full and enjoying the festive season? Start with a bigger bowl of salad or veggies.
- Move More - Up the number of times you exercise, aim for 21 days in a row over the festive season to do a minimum 45min of exercise every day. Can be a combo of weight's, group classes, going for a bike ride with the family, or a brisk pace walk around your local park. If we are going to be eating and drinking extra calories, we just need to ensure we burn them off, start with creating a little habit for 21 days of exercise.
There you have it, 5 simple tips which will have a massive impact on your longer-term health.