Worried about how you ‘should’ eat over Christmas?
Please don’t be!
How you choose to eat and drink over Christmas is ultimately down to YOU. If you want to eat mindfully so you don’t put on too much weight, that’s a great idea! If you’d rather not worry about it, that’s perfectly ok too! The decision is completely yours, so don’t let anyone make you feel guilty. If like most people you want to enjoy some nice meals and ‘treats’ without completely falling off the wagon, here are my recommendations…
It’s not Christmas Day or even the days surrounding it that cause people to gain weight over Christmas. A few days of consuming more calories won’t ruin your progress. However, ‘overeating’ from Christmas Eve (or before) right up until when you go back to work in January is likely to result in unwanted fat gain.
My advice is to try to limit ‘relaxed’ eating to a few special days, for most this is probably Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day. Those ‘weird’ days in between Christmas and New Year when you’re not quite sure what day it is?! Try not to use those as an excuse to snack on things you normally wouldn’t. You don’t HAVE to finish those chocolates before your ‘diet’ starts on 1st January! Those chocolates can still be included as part of a healthy, balanced diet in the New Year, just put them away so you’re not tempted to pick out of boredom.
Try using these next couple of weeks as an opportunity to practice mindful eating. This simply means paying attention to what you’re eating and being present in the moment. Enjoying a homemade mince pie with your Mum is a completely different experience to mindlessly making your way through a box of Celebrations in front of the telly. Neither are particularly ‘calorie friendly’, but the first experience is intentional and less likely to lead to overconsumption and further snacking. Before you eat something, try asking yourself “do I really want this?” It’s ok if you do!
Finally, stay active! It’s easy when you’re off work and out of your normal routine to skip training, but try to schedule some exercise. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending every day in the gym (although why not put those extra calories to good use and try to hit some PB’s!), wrap up warm and go for some brisk winter walks with friends or family. Being out of the house will not only make you feel good, but it’ll also take you away from the temptation of leftover Christmas food, and you’ll burn a few extra calories while you’re at it!
Remember, WEIGHT gain doesn’t necessarily equate to FAT gain. It’s very normal for our weight to fluctuate over Christmas when we’re eating differently. This is due to a variety of reasons including increased food volume/density, and water retention caused by a higher salt and carbohydrate intake. This will balance out when you go back to eating your habitual diet.
Christmas is going to be different for all of us this year, so please be kind to yourself! Eat, drink and be merry; and remember that a few days of enjoying some nice food and drink won’t spoil your progress!
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