December can be a very challenging month when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Many people adopt the ‘Oh well it’s Christmas’ mentality and with all the Christmas meals out and additional drinking, it’s hard not to pile on the pounds. Moreover, with it being much colder outside and with more social occasions than normal, it is easy to find excuses to not work out. Then in January most gyms and fitness centres are packed with fresh members as a result of the onset guilt after the holiday season. We are all guilty of it and its good to let your hair down every now and then, but to make sure you don’t set yourself back too much, undoing all the hard work you have done to get to this point, here are a few practical tips to help you stay on top of things.
- Eat before heading out
Before heading out to visits, trips or parties, if you suspect there might be snacks or canapes on offer, then eat before you go out so you won’t be as tempted to go mental because you already have a full stomach.
- Pick your moments
At Christmas it’s easy to overindulge at times when you wouldn’t normally, but try to pick your moments. Instead of eating a random treat during an average working day or week night in, save your calories for the really special occasions during the holiday season, like a fancy meal out, so that when you do eat something a bit naughty, it’s worth it! The same applies for alcohol. Where you might occasionally have a glass of wine with dinner during the week, save those units for all the parties during Christmas and New Year to help limit your overall intake.
- Drink lots of water
Drinking a pint of water both before and after a meal will help to fill you up and prevent over eating. Furthermore, this will keep you hydrated and can help limit the effects of a hangover!
- Enjoy Yourself
Set realistic diet plans! In December don’t try to make vast improvements, focus more on damage limitation. Trying to restrain yourself totally from some foods will only make you eat more. Feel free to enjoy the treats that you really love, but in moderation.
- Be Active
Where food or drink might be unavoidable, maintaining a regular fitness routine can seriously give you a helping hand. If you can’t access the gym as often as you might like, simply walk more, park your car some distance away from the shops or just use the stairs!
- Don’t skip your strength workouts
Muscle tone can dissipate very quickly if you don’t make an effort to maintain it. Schedule a strength training session in your workout plan in order to preserve that muscle mass you worked hard to get. You might be tempted to use lightweights and just do some cardio, but you can burn just as many calories by lifting weights. With all that extra meat you might be consuming over the holiday season, you could even gain some extra muscle!
- Prioritize your workouts
If it’s possible with your work and family schedule, then utilise those hours before the day begins. If you can fit in a quick run or early morning gym class whilst everyone is still sleeping, you will be all set for the day, and then your workouts won’t interfere with your evenings and you will have all the time for friends and family.
- Set Realistic Exercise Goals
You might not be able to maintain a high-octane workout regime, but rather than feeling disappointed in yourself or giving up, just keep things ticking over by setting realistic objectives that you know you can stick to, so you don’t get such a shock in the New Year. Reward yourself for going to the gym, just getting yourself there is often the hardest part.
There you have it, 8 simple tips to help you maintain your fitness and avoid gaining weight during the holidays, that will also allow you to enjoy yourself and have a great time with your loved ones.
Happy Christmas from Choices.