Coping With Christmasssss
You’ve worked damn hard all year through gym sessions & a lot of home training! Christmas is creeping up around the corner & I know for many of you who have made great progress through the year you are probably thinking,
“Oh god, I’m going to lose all my gains & go totally off track!”
And I am here to help you realise that that does not need to be the case!
First up Christmas is a time to be enjoyed, there will be light putting ups, piles of food, plenty of booze but you can manage all of that. One good thing about Christmas during Covid is that your social life will still be relatively non-existent with the usual Christmas parties etc not taking place there’s a lot of savings on distractions & activities that may usually make it hard for you to stay on track on the run-up to the festive time.
For many of us, we can still train over Christmas, depending on what tier you are in many gyms will remain open but as we have all year there are plenty of options to train at home! Motivation is a big one at Christmas & it’s important to keep your training drive going. Stay focused on the end goal, if taking 2 weeks off is going to mean that you hit January feeling rubbish & demotivated then don't let yourself do that!
This doesn’t mean you have to be training & lifting heavy stuff on Christmas or Boxing day, I certainly won’t, but you can stay in your routine & keep moving. Remember Christmas is only 3 days, 24th, 25th, 26th it’s just up to you how much longer you let it go on.
Trust me I get it, in this household, it goes on till about February but I am more committed to my strength journey than the celebration tin, however hard it may be! Focus on the progress you have made so far this year & keep working hard up till Christmas to make as much improvement & as many gains as you can.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to train on Christmas Day or Boxing day because trust me, that won't end up happening! Keep your sessions fun & short so that you want to train & feel good for it. The most important thing is to stay in a good routine so that you don’t hit January with that usual eurgh feeling. My best advice would be to set up & write down your Christmas training plan by the 20th so you know exactly what sessions you have on what day & can stick to your plan! Planning makes life far easier.
Let’s talk about the food so probably the biggest thing to focus on coping with through Christmas. Firstly don’t restrict foods. Restricting certain foods often leads to binging & this is not what we are aiming for. Let yourself enjoy the delicious & yummy foods that everyone else is eating, there is no need to force yourself to miss out, but be mindful!
Remember there is no such thing as good vs bad foods you just want to stay focused on the majority of your diet coming from wholesome nutritious foods & allowing yourself the flexibility to include the treat type foods. If you enjoy your food & stay mindful, not restricting certain foods then you will find Christmas enjoyable & you shouldn’t have a big issue with gaining extra body fat. When you restrict it will cause you to feel like you are missing out & ultimately lead to that binge so don't do it!
Focus on hunger, when you eat just again be mindful & conscious of what you are consuming. Are you actually hungry or are you just eating for the sake of filling your plate? This little bit of mindfulness honestly goes a very long way & will stop you from having that sick feeling of overeating but also any guilt or feelings of negativity that come with it.
Oh & obviously DO NOT TRACK YOUR FOOD AT CHRISTMAS. Please do not track your food over Christmas day or boxing day. Chances are 99% of us will go over our calories slight & mentally tracking is not going to do anything positive for you. That's not an excuse to go wild but please don't sit at the dinner table with Granny tracking your food on My fitness pal!
Second biggest one keep moving & stay active! For many Christmas gives us an opportunity to slow down which especially this year feels like it is much needed. However it is not an excuse to turn into a couched pugtato, my pugs certainly try to hit this vibe!
Remember if your goal is weight-based, either gain or loss, it comes down to energy balance so keeping your output high, eg activity is crucial! Try to plan nice walks with the family or the dogs & again be mindful. If Christmas saw you consume a large amount of food then aim to go for a nice long walk on Boxing day. Again you don’t need to put pressure on yourself to hit your steps every day but it can be very useful to use your step tracker & work to keep your activity high. Keeping moving will help to regulate your appetite & keep you feeling mobile.
Be alcohol aware! So alcohol is a big one in terms of weight management but also motivation & keeping a positive mindset. Too much alcohol can give us a hangover & the worst thing about the hangover is the day after you have drunk too much. Your body craves salt & highly palatable foods as you are severely dehydrated & this can often be when the worst food choices are made. Being mindful of your alcohol intake is crucial to stop you feeling like crap over Christmas but to also manage your weight. Enjoy yourself but make sure you know what you are putting in your body, alcohol adds a lot of calories to someones daily total & you need to consider that. Gaining extra weight for the sake of over-drinking doesn’t need to happen but many people are actually fairly uneducated about how many calories are in certain drinks.
Baileys= 325 calories
Prosecco= 90 calories
Glass of red wine= 200 calories
(*all approx figures)
But I am sure that gives you an idea of how quickly alcohol adds up & impacts your goals. Christmas is all about enjoyment, I will certainly be taking some downtime & a few days off training, I normally always do and it’s nice to spend some time with the family & take it easy, although we will still certainly be doing lots of mucking out! Catching up with friends & family we haven’t seen all year is precious, especially in these current climates so make the most of it. But use the above steps & thoughts to keep yourself in check & mindful of Christmas.
Mindfulness is really the key to controlling your diet & keeping your training going, think about what you want to achieve in 2021 & this will help to spur you on. If you end up eating the whole tin of Hereos then F it on to tomorrow, don’t punish yourself or hold onto feelings of guilt as this will lead to restriction & at the end of the day, there are many worse things you could be doing than overeating the choccies!
If you feel pumped to train then hit your sessions over the festive period but if the motivation is a little lacking then scale back the volume & intensity of your sessions. Keeping moving is the most important thing but don’t be afraid to wind down your sessions and take it a little easier for a few days, you are not going to lose or make any huge gains over 3-5 days. I hope this helps you to approach Christmas with confidence & shows you how to cope with your training & nutrition so you can enjoy your time with loved ones but also keeps you motivated so you are ready to start 1st Jan 2021 strong!
Merry Christmas team!