December is often a month in which your training and diet will fall down your list of priorities.
With Christmas parties and social occasions with friends and family on top of our already-busy lives, your fitness progress can easily stall or go backwards.
To help you maintain your results and fight off the Christmas weight gain, we’ve put together five tips for you to live by during the festive season:
1. The ‘9/10 Rule’
This rule is fairly simple but will allow you a degree of flexibility for social events.
Out of every 10 meals you eat, nine of those should be ‘on plan’ and healthy. The 10th one can be your meal out with friends, where you might eat a more indulgent higher-calorie meal or a dessert.
2. Eat smart, choose wisely
When eating out, steak and sweet potatoes are more often than not always an available choice on the menu. Choosing a meal like this will give you a good quality source of protein, healthy fats, and ‘good carbs’ with a source of fibre.
It’s also something that your friends are less likely to give you the ‘boring’ label for!
3. Factor in your alcohol intake
There is always likely to be the temptation to consume alcohol around the Christmas period.
If you know that one evening you will be meeting friends for food and drinks, then going ‘lower carb’ during the day with your meals can help. It will limit the effect alcohol consumption has on total calories and the amount of sugar consumed over the day.
4. Make better alcohol choices
There are 7 calories in 1g of alcohol.
Opting for ‘light’ beers may seem like a good choice if you enjoy beer. However, the fact they are ‘light’ may well mean they go down a little too well; therefore you may end up consuming more overall.
Wine, on the other hand, is something you ‘sip’ rather than drink and with an average of around 120 calories per glass, so may well be a better choice.
Clear spirits, such as gin with slimline tonic, will contain fewer calories, and due to the alcohol content, you might find you will end up consuming less over the course of your night.
5. Sweat it out?
How many times have you heard that phrase?
Sweating is your body’s response to elevated temperature, and sweat is made of mostly water, sodium and chloride. So, sadly, sweating won’t get rid of the toxins in your body from the night before.
However, movement burns fuel, so get moving and stay active the day after a big meal or drinks out.
Our main detoxification organ is the liver, so by supporting liver function we can be in a better position to handle alcohol. The liver works in two phases, and through a series of chemical reactions, it processes toxins from such things as alcohol.
Quick tips to help improve liver function include:
- Take a good-quality multivitamin supplement
- Consume lots of cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli and sprouts
- Ear good-quality protein sources at every meal
- Drink plenty of filtered water
- Increase your intake of fruit, such as apples and grapefruit
Just remember, being healthy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. Just be aware of what you do with your body, make the right choices, and Santa will be keeping you on the ‘healthy’ list this Christmas.
For more expert advice on diet, healthy recipes, exercise, sleep, and mental health over the festive period, read our Ultimate Guide to Surviving Christmas.