Christmas is a thrilling time of year when families, friends and work colleagues get together to relax, socialise and to celebrate the festive season. During this time of year it is not unusual for people to unwind and indulge in some alcoholic beverages and calorie dense party foods. Often training tends to put on the back burner until January and this with a combination of an increase in calorie intake from the sugary and fatty foods, plus the booze can lead weight gains. Don’t panic as this scenario of putting your belt buckle up a notch after Christmas ‘does not’ have to be the case if you follow these simple guidelines:
DON'T ABANDON YOUR TRAINING
Keeping active during the festive season is very important as it will keep you healthy and strong. Train hard throughout the season and throw in a few extra high intensity interval training sessions (HIIT) into your schedule. HIIT is an excellent fat burner and you will burn extra calories up to 48 hours post exercise. Aim to perform at least 12 minutes of HIIT per training session as this will help you to burn the additional calories that you have consumed when partying.
However this is a short term strategy as even the best exercise program in the world will not hide a poor diet for very long. Add some real tempo into your training and try to have a session before you go out and socialise. An excellent strategy is to use the carb-based festive treats as a part of your recovery plan. The key point here is: ‘don’t neglect your training regime as starting from square one is a lot harder than you think!’
Start your day off on the right foot
A high quality nutritious breakfast can start your day off in the right direction; provide you with lasting energy to fuel your day, boost your metabolism, help to stop your cravings and help to stop snacking in between meals. A high protein breakfast which includes eggs etc. will suppress your appetite throughout the day more effectively than a high carb breakfast e.g. cereal and toast.
Research has indicated that an egg or protein based breakfast can burn up to 65% more calories and belly fat when compared to a carb- rich breakfast of the same calorie content. The author of the study postulated that carb rich breakfasts only provided half as much satiety as there protein rich counterparts and this made it a lot more arduous for the dieters to stick to their weight loss goals.
Don't turn up to the party hungry
‘I won’t have any breakfast or lunch as I am having a big meal later’. Does this sound familiar and starving yourself ready for your big Christmas meal is a bad strategy and tends to lead to overeating and opting for poor food choices. Eat a normal breakfast and lunch and maybe add in a high protein snack before you go to the party to reduce your sweet tooth temptation. This should also prevent you from overeating!
STAY HYDRATED AND DRINK SENSIBLY
When you are in the party mood is very easy to get carried away with the boozing without any thought for hydration. Poor hydration can lead to headaches and nausea. In addition alcohol is a famous diuretic, so be sensible and drink water in between each alcoholic drink, when eating your meal and before you go to bed. Remember that alcoholic beverages are high in sugars and calories. They are very bad for your waist line and a small glass of wine contains 150-200 kcals and a pint of lager contains 200-250 kcals. So you do the maths in terms of the amount of additional calories that you will be drinking in the form of booze!
eATING A RAINBOW BUFFET
A Christmas buffet is jam packed full of naughty foods that are high in unhealthy fats and sugars. At this time of year we are all susceptible to bugs and illnesses. Therefore look after your immune system by following this simple guide to eating healthy rainbow foods at the buffet:
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