It's the most wonderful time of the year again! Hopefully you've all been doing so well all year or perhaps just for the last few months, or even weeks and you like the look of your leaner self, you feel fitter and healthier and you feel better for taking charge of your diet. Christmas is coming and so are those tempting festive treats.
Eating a few mince pies, chocolates and Christmas pudding are all part of Christmas and it's part of what makes it special so I'm not about to tell you not to eat them at all! But what I would say is moderation is key as you don't want to undo all that good work. So hold off, don't start tucking in too soon, wait until the week before Christmas or even a few days before and then you will also appreciate those treats a lot more. And when you do have a mince pie or a chocolate, enjoy it as you've earned it and don't beat yourself up about it. Although it's easy once you start to have that attitude of.. oh well it's Christmas, I'll start again in January. We've all been there and we've all regretted it! This year why not try and break the cycle.
My Top Tips for a Healthier Christmas Holiday:
1. KEEP ACTIVE
The best way to avoid that January tight clothes feeling is to keep as active as possible and try and burn off that surplus energy from that extra mince pie.
Think about planning your exercise for first thing in the morning, this may stop you from having that last glass of wine the night before and it also means you're getting the exercise done early which will put you in good spirits and sets the tone for the day. If you were tempted with that last drink then a morning workout, a brisk walk or run in fresh air is also the best cure for a hangover, even if it's the last thig you want to do, you will feel so much better for it I promise you.
If you are the host, have the mindset of planning healthy meals with one showstopping dessert as a treat and remember less is more! It's not always easy but if you are staying with or visiting friends or family, have an honest conversation in advance with the cook and tell them you are trying to eat healthily or take your own snacks. You probably don't want to try and control what someone else is cooking but you can control how much of it you have.
Try and start each day with a breakfast consisting primarily of healthy fats and protein rather than one that is heavy with carbohydrates, especially if you know you are going to be enjoying a large meal later. Fat and protein provide more satiety and will keep you feeling full for longer and stop those late morning cravings for a fast pick me up in the form of sugary treats. I would recommend a breakfast of scrambled eggs with avocado full fat (yes FULL FAT) cheese, or full fat Greek Yoghurt (lovely source of protein) with one slice of wholemeal toast. If you have an energetic day planned then 20 to 30 g of steel cut oats (very low glycaemic index and does contain protein) with almond milk would be a good option.
DO EAT REGULARLY If you are thinking about trying to lose some weight before Christmas and replace carbs with healthy fat and protein. Eating nothing or missing meals does not mean you will lose fat, you will be more likely to replace meals by snacking, Any weight lost will be water and muscle. Avoid allowing yourself getting too hungry as this will lead to snacking too or over eating at meal times.
If you are the cook or your household or the hosts then plan a healthy menu and healthy snacks. It's cheaper to make your own snacks and you know exactly what's gone into them so you can keep track of the sugar content. I've made some suggestions of my favourites below.
make your own crisps, thinly slice parsnips, sweet potato fresh beetroot put in the air fryer or oven with olive oil and cook with a little salt
chop up raw carrots and celery
choose oat cakes rather than high G.I crackers or bread to have with dips
make your own hummus, add your own twist to it
make your own salsa
make your own avocado dip
make your own mince pies
If you do have a less healthy treat then choose wisely! Choose dark chocolates over high sugary dairy milk, buy smaller boxes rather than large tubs of chocolates that are easy to dip into and hard to keep count of how many you have eaten.
Who isn't going to have a few tipples this Christmas! Try and choose drinks that are lower in calories and even some non or low alcoholic, low sugar drinks. Its worth noting, you can't burn off alcohol so moderation is key when it comes to staying trim.
STAY HYDRATED and drink water in between alcoholic drinks, it will keep you hydrated and slow down your alcohol intake.
It's party season, our first Christmas without restrictions since 2019 and we want to make the most of it but don't underestimate the power of sleep! Try to get earlier nights when possible, less sleep leads to a messed up metabolism, cranky moods and an increased risk of you reaching for those high GI food and sugary treats as your body searches for a boost
5. ENJOY YOUSELF
Above all ENJOY YOURSELF and make the most of special times with family and friends who you may not have seen for a long time. Remember to try your best to be healthy but if you do go off the rails a bit (or a lot!) it's not the end of the world and Nidderdale Fitness can get you back on track in January!
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY 2023