How to Avoid Putting Weight on at Christmas
One of the first things people think about when it comes to Christmas is food. How to avoid putting weight on at Christmas is usually second, but is quickly ignored!
My girlfriend (who is usually well disciplined when it comes to her food) tells me her favourite thing about Christmas is eating chocolate for breakfast! Mothers everywhere stockpile food in the days and weeks leading up to Christmas. Supermarkets run out of food around Christmas – people shop as if we are approaching some kind of apocalyptic disaster. It’s crazy.
In my decade in the fitness industry, I have noticed the same pattern every year – in January the vast majority of people attending the gym will be heavier. I have seen weight gain of over 10lbs after Christmas. Incredible – at no other time will you ever put that kind of weight on!
It doesn’t need to be like that! You can have a great Christmas and eat plenty of food without moving up a clothes size in the meantime. How to avoid putting on weight at Christmas – it’s the success of behaviour over indulgence. You CAN still enjoy Christmas and food, but learn how to do it more successfully!
Here is How to Avoid Putting Weight on at Christmas…
- Before you eat anything, go for a walk on an empty stomach. Anywhere between 20-60 minutes will help you mobilise some of that stored fat.
- With your meals, pile the meat and vegetables high on your plate and keep the potatoes low.
- After a meal, leave it 15-20 minutes before eating dessert or a mince pie. You may be eating it out of habit rather than because you want to.
- If time is limited, train smarter. Look at this cardio workout for a high intensity burst.
- Get outside often. The movement and the cold are both fantastic for increasing the rate at which you burn fat. An outdoor workout in the cold will have you melting fat quickly. Don’t worry about the cold – you will warm up when you move!
- If you are going to drink alcohol, drink it with/after a meal. If you drink on an empty stomach you will endure a blood sugar crash and then crave unhealthy food.
- Opt for dry wine or spirits or spirits over beer. Less sugar = smaller belly.
- Make sure you are well hydrated – thirst is often mistaken for hunger.
- Try intermittent fasting – if you have a big meal ahead, try a 16 hour fast before or afterwards.
- Exercise every day – you don’t have to get to the gym – push ups, jump squats, planks, lunges, towel rows and dorsal raises will do the job for you in 20 minutes.
- If you are meeting friends for a drink, delay it an hour. If a pint of beer weighs in at 250 calories and you drink 3 per hour, meeting friends at 8, rather than 7 would save you 750 calories!
- After a large meal, the tendency is to sit down and vegetate. Don’t. A quick 20 minute walk will prevent the lethargic aftermath of a large meal.
- Prevent your hangover using these tips. Hangovers prevent you being active or making good choices the following day.
- Don’t get a taxi to the pub or restaurant – walk. A 10-20 minute walk there and back will help to mobilise fat, keep blood sugar stable and help prevent you craving junk food.
- Cook less at Christmas – every family I know prepares too much food and ends up eating high-sugar, high-fat leftovers for days afterwards.
- Get to bed at a reasonable time – when you are asleep, your body uses fat as its primary fuel. Plus, you aren’t eating crap when you are asleep!
- If you are going to eat a large meal, drink a (real, not from concentrate) grapefruit juice beforehand. Studies show it helps keep blood sugar low by controlling hormonal response to food.
- With desserts, try to avoid the grain-based options. Pastry, cakes, biscuits etc are worse than mousse’s, chocolates etc. Grains tend not to agree with our digestive systems.
- Exercise the day before a meal to create a demand for food. Earn your reward rather than try to pay a debt back.
- Keep your consumption of sweet foods to binges rather than little and often. With little and often consumption, you elevate insulin for a long time, keeping you in a fat storing mode for a long time.
- Over the Christmas period, try to eat vegetable soups – low calorie, high vitamin and mineral density and easy to make. Try this recipe.
- Try not to drink alcohol EVERY night of the Christmas period. You will do all kinds of damage to your health with that level of excess.
- In the gym, keep your workout short but intense. Use compound lifts and add an extra set or two – the additional food you are taking in means you will be able to fuel recovery.
- Finally, although Christmas is a great time of year, it can be very stressful. Stress increases the production of cortisol and other damaging hormones, so try to relax and enjoy yourself!