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How to enjoy your christmas without undoing your hard work in the year

I’ve been asked by a number of clients to share a few more tips and resources to help them stay on track with their health and fitness goals over the festive season while we break from class. I don’t wish to be overly prescriptive – I want you to enjoy your Christmas, not avoid all of your favourite foods at a cost and have a miserable time as a consequence. Take from these tips what you wish and what works for you. So here goes.. First of all, please remember that ultimately you get to control what does or doesn’t go into your mouth (!) – it’s all about creating the right environment to help you to achieve this. If you’re eating and drinking at home over the holiday season, then you definitely have more control over your environment and the temptation that can follow. Either:

  • Don’t buy it if you know that whatever it is that’s found its way into your shopping trolley won’t last a day.. or maybe even a few hours.
  • If you share a house with someone who doesn’t get this – avoid buying the jumbo family pack because it’s on special offer. You’re be doing the pair of you a favour. Just buy regular size. You won’t starve over Christmas and if you’re really craving “that thing” (whatever “that” is), you can always nip out to the shops and buy another when they re-open after Christmas Day if you’re really desperate. You won’t starve. Promise.
  • Gift / donate unwanted 750g tubs of sweets (by the way, have you read what’s in them lately – that should put you off) – if it’s in the house, chances are you’ll be picking at it and treating it as a meal in itself until it’s gone.
  • When settling down to watch your favourite box set / Netflix series, just place some of your favourite snacks in a bowl and stick in the rest in the kitchen so you have to get up and retrieve them, rather than mindlessly popping non-stop crisps into your mouth.
  • If you can’t avoid having certain foods in the house – which are more like your own version of Superman’s kryptonite – then keep them out of view stashed away high in a kitchen cupboard or in the garage. Sounds extreme but it works. If you have to actually walk somewhere to get it (see above), it will give you a small window of opportunity to think twice, break the cycle and change your mind.

If you’re out and about and visiting other people, you’ve got less control over your environment, but it comes back to my first point – ultimately you are in control of what goes into your mouth. Do your best to apply the above points. Use a small plate at the buffet… move away once you’ve filled up your plate (don’t hang around the table so you can chomp away freely without even noticing) and enjoy the company of loved ones rather than a few extra vol-au-vents – they can’t love you back ; ^)

In terms of filling up your plate at your Christmas meal, click here and scroll down to view Precision Nutrition’s Anytime Plate. Remember to load up your plate on the veggies. Don’t drown your food in sauce – just pour it on the side and bring your food to it, not the other way around.

Also, think about how hungry are you really? Is it a 7 out of 10? Or is it habit or boredom. Do you WANT to eat… or do you NEED to eat? What else can you do instead if you’re not hungry?

Finally, please don’t beat yourself up if you stray away from your usually healthy food choices. As I wrote in my earlier blog, be kind to yourself. There’s no need to throw in the towel and eat for England if you’ve had a set back. Healthy living does not have to be an “all or nothing” conundrum.  [If this sounds like you, I wrote a very helpful blog about “broken tire syndrome” and sabotaging your health and fitness goals that might help].

See it for what it is – a day or two out of your otherwise health-conscious lifestyle.

If you’ve overdone the Christmas trimmings, simply choose to eat lighter meals the next day / when you can and give your gut a rest. Enjoy your Christmas, focus on what matters most with who matters most… and I’ll see you in the New Year.

About: Wendy Goldthorp is the Founder and Director of The FIT Movement Limited. She is an Ante/Postnatal coach,  certified 3rd Age Woman instructor and a Level 1 Precision Nutrition Coach. She is based in South Devon and works with individuals and also offers group classes in Teignmouth, Topsham, Exeter and the surrounding area.