Xmas is a time to eat, drink and be Mary… Or is that merry? Either way it’s often a time of great confusion and anxiety for the dedicated dieter.
How can you stay on course with the temptation of all those mince pies, chocolate selection boxes and Christmas parties? Let me give you some practical advice on how to enjoy the festive season without ruining all your good intentions.
Are you committed?
If you have clearly defined your goals and the emotional reasons behind those goals, and you’re doing it for all the right reasons and are happy doing so, then it will be a lot easier to be a little more disciplined than your less health conscious friends and colleagues.
At the end of the day, if your need for cake is greater than your need for optimal health and fitness the cake is going to win every time. That doesn’t mean you have to avoid the cake every time, just be sensible, that’s what discipline is all about.
I’m not a fan of heavily restrictive diets and if you are following a diet that bans certain foods, quite often carb-based foods, then you are going to have a tough time over Christmas. Yet if you understand that weight loss is about 24-hour energy balance and know how many calories a-day you need to be hitting in order to achieve your sustainable weight loss goals then factoring in a couple of hundred kcals a day to have something a little naughty is far more sustainable.
Over Christmas, why not relax this a little more. After-all, it’s only really three days. So, you could reduce your calories slightly over the previous four days and then allow yourself a few extra calories per day for cake, port and mince pies.
But what about the parties?
So Christmas is only three days, but the build-up is much longer. There will be tempting treats in all the shops. People will bring mince pies and chocolates into work. And then there are the parties…. This is where it’s important to apply a little control. It’s easy to over-indulge on alcohol, but you don’t have to drink yourself into oblivion. Have water breaks between drinks, choose low-calorie mixers if you have spirits, be aware that a typical glass of wine these days is about half a bottle and those calories DO count, even if it’s vodka. If there’s food involved you don’t have to avoid it, don’t panic. Enjoy it but make sensible choices and create a buffer by eating a little less early in the day or for a few days leading up to the party. Maybe schedule a big training session earlier in that day. Just don’t do that thing where you feel guilty about indulging and then starve yourself the day after.
How about the big day?
Christmas Day comes around once a year and, for many, it’s a time to celebrate relationships, family and togetherness. A big part of that is the food. I LOVE Christmas Day and in particular the food. Again, try and discipline yourself just a little bit: don’t pile the plate quite so high, don’t snack on chocolates, nuts or cheese in between each meal and, again, have some water between drinks. But, more importantly than worrying about your diet is enjoying the day. Have fun, enjoy the company of your family and enjoy the food, it’s only one day and even though it’s likely that you’ll eat double the normal amount of food you’re eating, activity will quickly return to normal and so too will your weight.