How to survive the festive holidays
The average adult can gain 5-15lbs between Halloween and New Year. It’s not surprising when you consider the food saturated holidays that occur, the numerous celebration parties and work drinks, and the over indulgence of Christmas. This means if you are trying to be healthy, lose weight or get fit, then no other time of the year is more difficult than the festive period. Seven Hills Fitness gives you 7 tips for surviving this calorie laden time of year.
#1 Enjoy it
Like Andy Williams sang “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, so it is important that you do enjoy it. Don’t let your diet or training regime get in the way of enjoying the holidays with family and friends. Enjoy the big day and the nights out, just be strict in the days before, after and in-between. In December, there are 31 days, you have Christmas day, Boxing day, New Year’s eve and between 2-4 celebratory nights out, that’s 6-8 celebratory days. This means you have between 22-24 days when you can still be strict with your nutrition plan and training programme.
#2 Christmas dinner
A Christmas dinner can contain up to 2000 calories, which is a female’s daily total! If you add the calories of Christmas dinner with the rest of the food eaten on the big day, then you can easily eat over 5000 calories. The easiest way to reduce this number is portion control. Still enjoy all the foods you love but have smaller amounts. A great technique to use is have a smaller plate. Psychologically your brain will think you are eating more than you are and you will feel fuller.
#3 Mini chocolates
These little devils are a mine field for even the most hardened dieter. Hero’s, Celebrations, Quality street, Roses, a single chocolate can contain over 50 calories. It’s easy to see how over the day you can eat 100’s of calories in mini chocolates alone. Eat one at a time instead of a handful and be mindful of how many you are consuming; do you really want to eat 500 calories in chocolate (that’s only 10 chocolates).
Remember all a calorie is, is a measurement of energy. If you are a gym goer or runner, this time of year is perfect for making some excellent gains. Extra calories just means more energy and intensity to put into your training sessions. If you do not have a training programme going for a 30-minute walk can make a huge difference. Going for a walk after a meal will help digestion, increase metabolism and blood circulation. So, after a big meal get outside and enjoy some fresh air.
A standard pint of larger can contain upwards of 150kcal, and a standard class of wine 125-150kcal. Although the body cannot store alcohol as fat, alcohol prevents the body from using fat as energy. This means your body has to oxidise alcohol before it can start breaking down fat. What usually happens is we consume a lot of alcohol which is relatively calorie dense, then the next day we are hungover and lay around eating. All the calories we eat from the hangover food is stored in our body, usually as fat until the body finishes breaking down the alcohol. The key is physical activity. If you are hardcore, going for a run or the gym first thing is a great way to burn off the alcohol and rehydrate at the same time. However, if like most of us going for a run with a hangover seems like hell on earth, going for a simple walk will help the body start to burn off the alcohol and the fresh air might even start to clear your fuzzy head.
#6 Stop being a sloth
It’s the end of the year and you have definitely earned a rest. However, laying down on the sofa for 8 hours a day is a sure-fire way to mess up your health. Laying down for long periods of time can; make your muscles and joints stiff, slow down your metabolism, slow down blood circulation, make you feel more tired and burn less than 50 kcal an hour. Yes, rest and yes have a lay down, but let’s keep things in perspective. Every hour or two get up and do some physical activity. This will help reenergise you and help you keep going throughout the day.
#7 Do not beat yourself up
If you do have a nightmare, and gain some weight over the holidays, don’t beat yourself up. Having fun with family and friends is much more important than keeping your weight down in December. The key is finding the right balance between the two. You will have extra motivation in the New Year to work hard and get in the best shape of your life.
With help from Seven Hills Fitness you are guaranteed make 2018 your healthiest year yet! With online coaching, through our motivating digital bootcamp, one to one training, or our corporate health and exercise sessions, 2018 is going to be a great year for you!