With us now coming into the Festive Season you will find yourself with more temptations than ever. Be it end of year parties, catching up with friends, Christmas parties or New Years bashes if you are not careful you can find yourself looking in the mirror come January wondering what the hell happened. To help you out, our coaches have put forth a number of tips that can help you get through the silly season and still have you in good shape to enjoy the rest of summer.
1. Prioritise your training first thing
Get your training complete and out the way in the mornings. Over the festive month everyone’s afternoons seem to fill up quick. Prioritise training to avoid mishaps or skipping training due to a busy schedule throughout the day.
2. Share your health and fitness goals with your family and friends.
We all know when it comes to Christmas and New Year everyone’s eating habits replicate that of a ravenous wild racoon that has just found food after days of looking. This doesn’t have to be the case, eat only up until you are full not till you are busting. Instead of having chips and dips for nibbles, trying presenting some vegetables sticks and nuts (almonds, brazil etc.).
3. Prevent peer pressure
At a party, carry a glass with sparkling water, ice and lemon. With a straw it looks like a vodka or gin ‘n tonic. It means that you can still mingle and enjoy your night without people constantly hounding you to have a drink.
4. Sleep when you can
Frequent late nights throughout the festive season as well as drinking and eating too much can have a huge impact on our sleep patterns. When possible, aim to get some good quality sleep – even if it is just a few hours. Taking a good quality magnesium supplement, which will help you to relax and ensure you get a restful sleep. One of the best sleep tips is to still wake up at the same time each morning but if you need more sleep, catch it up with a nap during the day.
5. Drink wisely
When out enjoying a Christmas drink try to stick to spirits as beer has a high level of estrogens and calories while white spirits are metabolised quicker and without the soft drink mixers they contain less calories. Also, while red wine has it’s health benefits but not 2 bottles of the stuff in one night so think moderation.
6. Work the room
Instead of planting yourself next to the food table while you chat to friends and family, position yourself across the room to reduce the temptation to mindlessly pick at food on the table.
7. Eat before drinking
Eat a healthy meal before you drink alcohol. If alcohol goes into empty stomach it irritates the stomach lining and negatively affect your digestion.
8. Enjoy some leniency in your diet but choose wisely
Find healthy versions of your favourite treats. For example, opt for 80% dark chocolate instead of sugary milk chocolate treats. If going for take out, if you want burgers choose Grilled over McDonalds. If you like chicken choose Nandos over Chicken Treat or KFC. When deciding on a dessert, choose organic popcorn, fruit salad with greek yogurt over cakes and pastries.
9. Don’t stress
Enjoy yourself and don’t stress because the hard work has already being done during the year. It’s not what you do doing over Christmas that matters the most; it’s what you do for the rest of the year that really counts.
10. Be prepared
If you know you that you have a big Christmas lunch or dinner, try and prepare your other meals the day prior so the whole day is not a blow out. Also, have the next day fully prepared as no one wants to cook after a big night out.
11. Understand your weaknesses
Admit your soft spots & avoid surrounding yourself with those little devils. Avoid foods that will cause you more issues than simply excess calories such as inflammation and intolerances. Instead, select your lean proteins and pick your raw & steamed veggies aside. Deserts are fine, but be smart about it. Share a fruit-based options rather than high-caloric cakes. Fruit is fresh & delicious. Eating well during the festive season will keep you lean and mean for the New Year.
12. Don’t skip meals
Don’t skip meals in attempt to “save yourself for a big meal”. Instead stick to smaller more frequent meals made up of quality proteins and vegetables, keeping you full throughout the day and avoiding any large blowouts.
13. Brain dump daily
The festive season can get busy and overwhelming remember to take time out and relax with your loved ones, I recommend writing a grateful log or starting a gratitude jar this is a lovely way to look back on these special moments!
14. Use this time to look at the big picture for the New Year
We often get bogged down in the nitty gritty of day to day life. Christmas is the one time of year where the world stops for just a couple of weeks. When the focus may not be on strict nutrition, in a reflective time like this, we can focus on thinking about what is most important to us and make plan to prioritise these things the following year.
15. Don’t miss breakfast
Having a breakfast will prevent you from overeating and help you make the right food choices for the rest of the day. If you too busy to make a breakfast smoothies or Medical grade shake are quick and easy options.
16. Don’t let yourself get dehydrated
Dehydration is one of the biggest damaging factors from excessive alcohol intake. Include the following steps when you plan for your big night out:
- Ensure you drink 40ml water per kg bodyweight during the day
- Remember alcohol is a diuretic, so add water on top of your daily amount
- Make water your first drink of the night, and drink water between alcoholic drinks.
- Have a litre or two of chilled coconut water for the day after. Coconut water is full of electrolytes to help you hydrate better.
17. Determine where you want to be in The New Year
Decide now and set clear goals for the new year/post festive season. These goals will keep you disciplined and focused over the festive season. And give you a reason to step back into the gym.
18. Avoid going out on an empty stomach
Avoid going out on an empty stomach! Whether your heading out to dinner or standing around at a party, you don’t want to be making decisions based on a hungry stomach, so ensure you get a quality meal in before heading to reduce your temptation to snack and make poor decisions.
19. Be appreciative and grateful
Write Christmas cards to your loved ones instead of just gift-tagging – it’s an act of appreciation and gratitude for the important people in your life. Not only is it important to thank those who have journeyed with you throughout the year, gratitude reduces the output of stress hormones in the body like cortisol and helps release good-feeling hormones such as oxytocin. This means good feelings for both of you!
20. Control your time out
Treat this as a ‘cheat’ period or time off for the years hard work, but don’t slack off too much and undo all your hard work and get ready to get back to it. You can make your own protein balls or raw snacks if you don’t want to fall for the sugary temptations. Pick your rewards wisely, for e.g choosing carbs over sugar, this will at least give you some nutritional benefit instead of consuming empty calories.