Our survival guide to the festive season will help you get through to the new year without you gaining weight but still able to enjoy yourself.
Calories consumed vs calories burnt
Winter time and Christmas time often lead to increased calorie consumption (think comfort food) and a more sedentary life due to the drop in temperature and shorter days. At its worst around the festive season you could easily increase your consumption by 500 calories and sat in front of the TV burn 500 calories less, repeat this for a few days and you are suddenly looking at a 3000 calorie increase. Nowadays the Christmas season seems to start earlier and earlier and the opportunity to increase your consumption with special meals and office parties means that the calorie count can soon stack up and continue for some time. No wonder when people hit the scale on January 1 they can’t believe how much they have put on! All the hard work you have put into your body over the year does not have to be undone. We are not asking you to forego the festivities, just be mindful of what you are consuming and maybe go for a winter walk to balance out your calories. We will help you with these few handy tips to minimise the damage, minimise the amount of weight you put on by making well informed decisions on what you eat and drink without sacrificing your enjoyment.
Minimise the weight gain
The more fat and weight you gain in December the harder you are going to have to work in 2020 to shed it. So let’s try and minimise the damage. If you make a positive commitment to reduce the damage in December by not going overboard then your fat loss journey in January and beyond will be so much easier and you will have already picked up some good habits to take into the new year.
Minimise your spending
Christmas is expensive in itself and then add in party invites, nights out, cinema trips and takeaways, it can become a real stretch. Save cash and don’t accept every invitation, don’t buy those mega size sweet tins that are still hanging around in January. Prioritise quality over quantity.
Lots of people get ill or don’t feel their best in winter and over Christmas, this can be caused by in activity and over indulgence. Wrap up, get outside for a run or walk, absorb some of the limited Vit D available and release those feel good endorphins.
Office parties can be a calorie overload consuming a week worth in just one evening if the drinks are flowing freely. Make sure you eat a good lunch before the big night, this will help prevent you from over eating in the evening and will line your stomach – think high protein with veggies and some fats and maybe some rice for slow release carbs. Don’t be the first person at the party or bar or go to another venue beforehand, arrive a little late, you will make a better entrance and you will have less time to get mullered. The same goes if you want to leave a little earlier.
Then before your first drink maybe have a few olives or nuts as this will slow down the absorption of the alcohol. This next step is important – drink a glass of water after every round. You will spend less money, consume fewer calories and avoid a terrible hangover. Drinking less alcohol and staying hydrated will make a massive difference on how you sleep and how you feel the morning after.
As the night gets into the swing of things, someone will suggest lets get some shots. Do you really need these? Think of them as calories that you could easily do without. Alcohol is high in calories 1 gram of alcohol equals 7 calories so a pint of beer equals 24grams of alcohol or 168 calories. Having too many drinks also weakens your resolve for healthy food choices so it becomes a double whammy, on top of that a hangover leaves us craving fatty and salty foods in the morning.
Swap a pint of beer for a bottle of beer. A pint of Peroni contains 227 calories, similar to a large slice of pizza, whereas a bottle of Peroni 139 calories. If you had 5 bottles compared to 5 pints you would save 500 calories! A glass of champagne equals 95 calories and a large glass of wine has 215 calories. If you do fancy a glass of wine chose red it comes with added anti-oxidant benefits. The better choice is a small glass 125ml as that weighs in at 125 calories. Spirits keep your calorie count down a single gin with a slimline tonic is a modest 60 calories, but avoid drinks like whisky and cola as they climb up to 180 calories. For example a night out consisting of 4 gin and tonics would see you consuming 240 calories, these are a much better choice than sugary cocktails. Another one to avoid is a double Baileys as this would be 260 calories compared to a Bloody Mary at 140 calories.
A handful of nuts is packed with protein, healthy fats and minerals, but avoid salted, honey roasted or chocolate covered. If you do like chocolate go for dark versus milk, 70% or more cocoa solids is best. If like me you a cheese fan, go for the stronger more flavoursome cheeses, they are much harder to over eat, avoid buttered crackers and go for plain oatcakes, consume with grapes or apple slices to again lower your calorie intake.
Avoid mindless over eating, eating food for the sake of it just because it is there, or because you are outside of your schedule and bored. Eat a proper breakfast, think protein rich something like scrambled eggs and salmon on rye bread, this will set you up for the day, start you off eating healthily and prevent mid-morning snacking. This kind of breakfast will keep you fuller for longer. Always eat your meals at the table, eat slowly and enjoy your food, again this will prevent grazing and you being on one constant snackathon! Use a plate at buffets rather than picking, it will help you realise what you are consuming, make you think about refilling and your host will thank you for not dropping crumbs. Enjoy your food, don’t rush.
So enjoy this time of year, eat good quality food, have the odd tipple and if you take on board the tips above you will see in the new year in a much better state to reach your future goals.
To help our clients through the festive season we are putting on HIIT sessions around Christmas.
6.15am Monday 23rd December
8.00am Friday 27th December
9.00am Saturday 28th December