Christmas day in my house is fantastic. Lots of love, fun and eating, with the people most important to me. You are probably the exact same. I have also purposely not taken on any clients looking to lose weight over the Christmas period, as it is not a great time to. It also probably means that you are restricting yourself, while everyone else is relaxing and not caring. As you are probably aware by now, restricting yourself at important times like this is not something I recommend.
But if you have worked really hard for the last few months to get fit and healthy, is it possible to enjoy Christmas time without being overly restrictive and spoiling your fun?
Of course it is!
It just takes a little bit of sensible decision making.
– Know the difference between relaxing calorie wise and ridiculous over-indulgence. Calories count every single day of your life, nothing wrong with making a dent in it on social occasions. Making a massive hole in it however can lead to greater weight gain and potentially more restrictive tactics to lose it come January.
– Chew your food. Enjoy what you are putting into your mouth and the company around you as opposed to blindly shovelling it in. Let your body give you the chance to tell you that it has had enough food.
– Don’t eat as much leading up to the big meal, or snack on more satiating protein and veggies prior to give that little bit of a calorie buffer before the over indulgence. Doing this also means you won’t binge excessively as you are not going into the meal ‘starving’.
Limit your choices, not your amounts. Studies show that when people are presented with multiple food-choices, they eat more. So stick to the things you really enjoy, instead of filling your face with things that you are only eating because they are in front of you.
– Start the day with some movement, or at least at some stage of the day. The obvious example is go for a good long walk. I have friends who go canoeing, others climb a Munro. If your child has a new bike or scooter, take them out on it. Whatever floats your boat really, and allows you to offset some of those excess calories.
– Keep training. If you are in the habit year round of having your own exercise routine, be it at the gym, classes or outdoors, why stop? Maybe not to the same intensity as usual if you don’t want to, but I also see no reason to completely stop, as this would also mean your calorie daily requirement level would drop along with the activity level.
Of course you could ignore all of this advice and really excess over the Christmas period, and I wouldn’t hold it against you. But just by being a little bit mindful with what you are doing you could have the best of both worlds.