Wow, it’s almost Christmas, seriously where did 2014 go? The festive season is our absolute favourite time of the year. The decorations, the Christmas markets, toasting a great year with friends, Crimbo jumpers and of course the foooood!
Sadly the festivities seem to leave many people looking like Father Christmas – with the energy levels of Rudolph at the end of his Xmas eve shift. The combination of a frantic social calendar, late nights, boozy office parties and the “Sod it, it’s Christmas!” attitude not to mention being constantly surrounded by mince pies, giant tins of chocolate, yule log and stollen bites make it all too easy to fall off the sleigh time and time again (see what we did there).
Now the idea of this post is not to put a dampener on any Christmas spirit, it’s about sharing a few things that we implement to maintain some degree of control throughout the festivities. A bit of damage limitation can go a long way to ensuring you start 2015 with a positive mindset and a serious spring in your step – rather than stressing about the fact you can no longer fit into half your wardrobe. It’s all too easy to think “I will deal with it in the New Year” but you’re simply making life harder in the long run. Take a moment to check out our top tips on keeping super fit, strong, healthy and awesome this Christmas, it’s easier than you think!
A little planning goes such a long way. If you plan your working day from the moment you wake up and follow that “to do list” religiously, then you are undoubtedly more productive. It’s the same with your meals. Before the week starts plan your menu for the week and a shopping list so you can source all the ingredients efficiently and start prepping recipes. With our online nutrition programmes many members mention the benefit of having the weekly meals mapped out in advance, it takes the thought process away, makes life simple and reduces the risk of falling off the wagon. Take half an hour to plan meals and write your weekly shopping list throughout December and as close to Christmas day as possible, it will make a HUGE difference.
Make it a Fitter Food Christmas Party
The Christmas party invites will soon be coming in thick and fast and no doubt much of what will be on offer probably won’t fall in line with Fitter Food principles. You might already be stressing about the number of times you’ll have to explain that cavemen didn’t eat mince pies! One thing we often do is take our own food (just as people rock up with a bottle of wine) and this is easy to do without offending; olives, nuts, deli meats, jerky, dried fruits, trail mix, dark chocolate, pigs in blankets, all totally delicious, healthy and acceptable contributions to the party platter. Even better why not host your own Fitter Food Christmas party! Get friends and family round and put on a banquet of awesome Fitter Food . This way you are in control of what’s on offer and don’t have to face the dreaded food hangover the next day. Plus you may convert a few more Fitter Food fans so we’ll be externally grateful! If you are looking for some inspiration on what to cook with a festive twist check out our Christmas Ebook here.
Embrace Christmas Shopping
Christmas shopping has to be done and with the power of the internet most of us have become armchair consumers. As we can now buy most things form the comfort of our own home it makes us lazy at a time of year when we could really do with the extra exercise. Try and do things the the old-fashioned way and get out for a walk around the shops to pick up your Christmas gifts this year. Always use the stairs in stores, carry your own bags and try to avoid using any trolleys. Even when the shopping is done make an effort to get out when you can and walk the streets to take in the Christmas lights, banter and cheer.
Set a December Challenge
Why wait until the New Year to start a new fitness regime or nutrition plan? You could start to lay some key foundations now sand start 2015 raring to go, one step ahead of the crowd. Set yourself a daily challenge for the month of December to keep the healthy habits going, keep it simple such as trying out a new recipe, a new fitness class or performing a 15 minute circuit. Here is an example for you. This will work the entire body, get your heart rate up and provide a serious workout in just 15 mins.
15 Minute Circuit
Complete the following exercises back-to-back as a circuit with as little rest as possible and aim to complete as many rounds as you can in the 15 mins. Make a note of how many you did and aim to beat it next time.
- 8 press ups
- 8 squats
- 8 burpees
- 8 lunges on each leg
- 8 jump squats
- 8 leg lowers
- 8 knee to opposite elbow on each side in press up position
A school boy error we often observe is people placing too much pressure on themselves in the run up to Christmas, almost setting themselves up for failure. Declaring you will not drink this nor eat that over the festive period, especially when there will be situations that make this extra difficult, might just create more stress and anxiety for you. Don’t set unrealistic goals that deep down you know you inevitably won’t stick to. There is no reason why you can’t enjoy the odd glass of wine, mince pie or occasional pudding but just be smart about it, ideally don’t have them all at the same time and make sure you are moving daily and making good food choices as often as possible.
Have Healthy Snacks To Hand
This goes for any time of year but probably more so around Christmas because there is so much temptation around. It’s a known fact we make bad decisions when we are hungry. That’s why its so important to make sure your fridge is packed with quick ‘go to’ foods and have healthy snacks to hand when at work or on the go. Good examples include boiled eggs, avocados, home-made burgers (check out this recipe) trail mix, raw nuts etc. These will all provide a protein and fat hit, which will curb cravings and make you less likely to over eat on the naughty stuff if at all A bit of dark chocolate (85% cocoa solids) is also useful so you don’t miss out when everyone else dives into the chocolate tin.
Remember folks, Christmas is a time to be enjoyed, relax and not take life too seriously but that doesn’t mean our health or waistline needs to suffer. Just take a bit of time to plan ahead, remember your health goals, enjoy the good times and the odd treat but above all remain in control of the situation. Know that a little of something you like won’t hurt but also know that too much of it will!