The question I get asked most frequently on a yearly basis is ‘How do I keep the weight off over the Christmas’. The truth of the matter and the answer people don’t like to hear is ‘don’t eat so much’.
That doesn’t usually go down too well. When I sat down and thought about it, the odds really are stacked against people over the holidays. Excess food and inactivity is everywhere to be seen and I soon realised that it really isn’t anybody’s fault. December is almost an excuse to gain a few pounds and go off the rails a bit. I’ve decided to take a different approach and write this article especially for those people who fall victim to the festive season.
The main purpose of this article is help people realise that gaining weight and making a mess of themselves every Christmas is not a necessity. You can enjoy the festive season and still lose weight/ maintain your current weight simultaneously. Other holidays are not as bad, you can avoid the Easter chocolate rush easily and even if you don’t it’s only one day and not that much damage can be done in such a small timeframe. Halloween is also only one day and all you have to do is avoid the trick or treats!
Then we have Christmas time. Personally I used to dread it. It’s sickening when you think about it! You have worked hard all year, looked great on the beach during the Summer, you resisted the ‘trick or treating’ and wore that revealing Halloween outfit with pride and now comes Christmas!
Christmas is different! You are expected to put on weight! ‘Why’? You ask; it is engineered that way! Gyms are closed, cake and treats are available in abundance! You’re not working, your kids have their selection boxes lying around just waiting to be stolen.
What do you do?
Give in and sit in the corner with your cake and chocolate and big gluttonous Christmas dinners. That’s not a typo, I mean dinners; plural. You can’t just have ‘a’ dinner anymore on Christmas. No, you have dinner, then a big slab of ice cream, then some chocolates and then an hour later you make a turkey sandwich out of the leftovers and follow it up with some more chocolates. Come on, you couldn’t possibly still be hungry! Below I have some nutritional strategies that will help you get through the Christmas without ruining your progress. Who knows…you might even get leaner this Christmas!
Ok so you’re still wondering ‘How do I beat the Christmas bulge?’ Well it really is simple! Write it all down! You see logging what you eat will make you aware of the amount of food you are taking in! It’s ok to eat and forget but if you document what you are eating and write down the time you last ate, when your next meal is due you will not eat nearly as much! Align your eating plans through the days that you are only allowed a meal every 3-4 hours! I know it’s not ideal but it’s realistic and you could save yourself 3-4 snacks through the day that may add up to 1000’s of calories!
Nutritional Strategies For The Festive Season!
Limit the amount of cheat meal foods in your house over Christmas! If you are going to have a cheat meal you should only buy enough food for one cheat meal at a time. Try not to keep cheat meal foods stocked at home. I know this is hard over Christmas but be strong! At least minimise the amount of junk you have around the house. We all know there will be plenty of selection boxes and chocolates around the place to resist! Why make it harder!?
‘Light’ Christmas Tips
1) If you buy it you will eat it, so only buy enough for the couple of days the shopping centres are closed. People stock up on sweets and chocolate over the holiday period and then feel obliged to eat it. “Once you pop you can’t stop”.
2) Help set the table and make your self useful. That way you aren’t sitting at the table nibbling at everything as it gets put on front of you! If you are moving
3) Skip the bread. Leave it there! You don’t need or want these ridiculously empty calories!
4) Eat Slowly! It takes 20 minutes for your bodies satiety mechanism to kick in! let your body tell you that you are full before you cram another 500 kcals in your face!
5) Delay your desert! If you delay desert you give your bodies satiety mechanism a chance to kick in! i.e. you feel too full to eat the desert! Try it. . . it works!
6) Don’t drink wine with your meal. And if you do, have it halfway through the meal, as you will not really want it!
7) Make yourself the designated driver at least once over the holidays. That way you have no choice but not to drink alcohol.
Gaining that extra holiday weight leaves you at an immediate disadvantage in the new year. There is a way to enjoy the holidays and still stay in shape and that is to start a fitness and nutrition program before the holidays. Don’t make the same mistake everybody does and wait until January, then its too late.
Bryan Kavanagh is the owner of bryankavanagh.com and ‘Athletic Body Personal Training’ in Temple Bar, Dublin. Co author of Athletic Body System and Athlete Physique. For more tips on how to stay fit during the holidays, visit Bryan’s website www.bryankavanagh.com to download your free Meal Planner and get access to his weekly newsletter in which you will receive the latest fitness and weight loss tips.
Lose that weight before Christmas, don’t add to it. For more information call/text or email Bryan. His contact information is available on his website. www.bryankavanagh.com