We’re less than a week to Christmas, and you know what that means! We’re fast-approaching one of the few times in a year where we tend to become more complacent about our fitness routines, and give into our delicious indulgences.
That is, until you find yourself going through an entire cardio workout just trying to fit into your dress or those new pair of jeans for the New Year. After all, all actions come with its own consequences, and let’s face it – the less disciplined lot of us will most likely gain an extra belly roll or two over the year-end celebrations. Then we feel guilty about it all afterwards and push ourselves over the edge after the holidays.
Though bear in mind that it’s definitely possible (and not at all difficult) to fully enjoy yourself and keep fit during this time. So if you want to be able to tuck into that delicious roast with a glass or two of mulled wine without feeling bad about it, here are some tips that may help you.
We know, it can be real tempting to gorge on all the sweets and treats that will be sold or served during the holiday season. But that doesn’t mean you have to consume every single one of them. If you’re really looking forward to squeezing into your new pair of jeans before the new year, try picking a treat that you can only enjoy during the festive season instead of something that’s readily available all year round.
You may also like: The origin stories behind your favourite Christmas desserts.
Don’t skip meals
No, as tempting as it is, skipping meals won’t compensate for all the holiday goodies that you consumed beforehand. It’s best for both your body and your sanity if you continue eating on time, as it prevents gastritis and binge-eating when you eventually become too ravenous. Skipping meals may also lead you to missing out on essential nutrients, which can affect the way you feel throughout the day.
Keep a food diary
Jot down everything you eat and drink at every meal. This way it’s easier to be aware and keep track of your food intake if you’re really serious about shedding off a couple of kilograms. Sometimes we end up forgetting what we consume in a day, and end up mindlessly eating more than we actually need. Try also writing down your mood or what you’re doing when eating, which allows you to notice if you link any negative or positive moods with a certain type of food and drink, and identify if you may be eating for reasons that aren’t related to your hunger.
Don’t restrict yourself
Just because you’re being more selective of what you eat during the holidays or you’re on a pre-New Year fitness plan doesn’t mean you have to be painfully strict with yourself. It’s the holidays, so you should still be able to enjoy your favourite treats and dig into family or home-cooked feasts. It’s all about moderation and knowing when you’re satiated and satisfied. Cutting off a certain food group completely just so you can look more svelte will only worsen your cravings, ruin your relationship with food, and make you miserable – leading you to possibly binge and overeat in the future.
Give yourself a non-food reward
Treat yourself, but with a non-food reward. Whether it’s for hitting 10,000 steps on the treadmill or going fully plant-based for the day, try giving yourself a treat that’s inedible such as a pampering spa session for yourself or a new video game. This way, you can steer away from associating reward with food and not pack on the extra calories.
Drink in moderation
It doesn’t matter if you’re drinking soft drinks, beer, cider, or wine – these are all packed with calories that will only add on to the ones you already have from your holiday feast. Regulate your drinking so that you can still enjoy yourself, feel buzzes and have grand memories without making your stomach feel uncomfortable the next morning. That new beer belly or insane hangover isn’t worth it.
Not only is staying hydrated essential for all your basic bodily functions, it can help satiate your appetite so you’ll avoid overeating. A lot of the time when we feel “hungry” it really just ends up as us feeling thirsty. And if you do overdo it with the alcohol, drinking water can also help you recover faster (especially if you always have aching joints after drinking) and make that hangover a little more bearable.
Instead of trying to force yourself to do a HIIT routine every single day before and after the holiday season, set realistic workout objectives for yourself. Whether it’s at least half an hour a day of walking or 15 minutes of strength exercise while taking a break from WFH, you’ll end up feeling happier and motivated about it when you can actually achieve it. Unless you have the will of steel, there’s no real point in planning a strict exercise routine, not being able to hit it, and then feeling disappointed and demotivated.