Christmas time all over the world is a time for socials and excesses with weddings, birthdays, house warming, engagements abounding.
It comes with a lot of eating, drinking, partying and then, the inevitable weight gain that follows.
While it is tempting to drink and eat as you enjoy the many social events of the season, it is important also to remember to keep fit and stay healthy.
Counting the calories should be as important now as any other time.
Therefore, if you want to avoid having to deal with the extra weight after the ‘enjoyment,’ there are a few things you can do to ensure you start 2019 in shape.
In the days leading up to the festivities, try as much as possible to be in the best shape. Eat healthy, exercise and drink your water. Water because most of the events and family gatherings you will go to, there will be lots of drinks that are not of the ‘healthy’ category. If you can cut out such drinks leading up to the peak period it will serve you better. You can start a 5 day food challenge if you want to go even further.
Stick to the diet
There will be plenty treats around Christmas, stick to your diet. Go for the proteins and leave the pastries alone. Choose sides of salad when available and keep your hand out of the chin chin tray. Stick to this in the days leading up to Christmas as well.
Increase fibre in your diet
Go for foods rich in fibre as they keep the digestive system healthy and help to prevent constipation. They also keep you feeling full longer, which will in turn control your food intake.
Foods like whole-wheat bread, Oats, Potatoes, Pears, etc should make an appearance in your diet.
If you want to take it further you can take a fibre supplement as well. It will help minimize the damage of gaining too much.
Consume healthy fats
Like fibre, healthy fats are also key at Christmas time.
Good fats like avocado, olive oil, almonds, etc will not only help you lose fat, but they will build lean muscle mass. They aid with memory function and support a healthy immune system as well.
All these will prepare your body and keep it ‘clean.’
Increase protein intake
Proteins are the building block for a lean body and since the goal is to not add weight, protein intake should increase.
Aim for lean meats (fatty meats are a no no ), Fish, Chicken and eggs. If you have the option always go for grilled rather than fried.
When out with friends decide to drive and not take an Uber sometimes. This gives you the excuse of staying sober. You can always say “You know I’m driving” to avoid taking alcohol. Not only does this keep you on track, you also know everyone will get home safe with you at the wheel.
Add in more cardio
Because you’re going to be eating more, do more cardio. If your exercise routine called for lots of strength training, it’s time to set it aside for a bit and up the cardio ante. Meaning more walking, running/jogging, skipping, swimming, etc. You can add some High Intensity Interval Training (HII ) as well to maximize fat burn after exercise.
Leading an active life will be key to staying healthy during the season.
Walk where necessary; don’t grumble when you have to park a little further from your event, the little walk will help. Try to plan events that will have people semi active and look out for fitness events as well and attend those.
Rope in friends to try to go on runs during the period. Take advantage of the work free days that will come up to do something about your fitness.
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Take fitness classes with friends
Apart from trying to stay active, attend some fitness classes with friends and family members. There’s nothing wrong with a dance class on the 26th as a group after the food on the 25th. There’s no point in abandoning all workout regimen during Christmas. Who knows, your friends may decide to keep it up after and you would have helped them kick-start their fitness.
Understand that you’re not missing out but minimizing the damage
You are not cutting yourself from all the fun that comes with the season; you are only minimizing the price you will have to pay. You will still eat and drink a little more but you are doing so sensibly so that come January you won’t be starting from scratch.