Christmas is the time of year the pounds just pile on, its winter and cold and the thought of comfort food seems far more appealing now than it ever did, we don’t have to get our summer bods out so why not ey? Let’s indulge in some mince pies, eat extra portions of food, sneak chocolates from the chocolate tin, so on and so forth. It’s a never-ending cycle of eating, which in turn is a never-ending cycle of weight gain, followed by a January of trying to lose it, and never quite getting all those extra pounds off, every year is the same!! Well, not this year! This year make a stand! Make a stand against extra weight, we don’t need it!
Today’s blog is going to concentrate on how to stay healthy this Christmas, we have taken a look at keeping ourselves stress-free, now let’s look at keeping ourselves weight gain free! Here are my top tips to staying healthy this Christmas…
Carbs Weigh More
Firstly I would like to start by saying when you eat a carbohydrate the carb hold onto water, in fact, it will hold four times its own weight in water, so if you have eaten a big pizza for tea and find you are a few pounds heavier for a few days this is why.
The reason I am telling you this is to keep you strong mentally, remember if you jump on the scale and you are heavier yet you have only had one cheat day then it’s likely your body is just holding onto water, stick to your normal portions and the carbohydrates will pass through your body in a few days and your weight will be back to normal.
Don’t look at the scale and see weight gain, and don’t let this allow the fuck it mentality, you know the mentality I am talking about, well fuck it, what’s the point in sticking to a healthy eating lifestyle, I may as well eat this entire loaf of tiger bread now!! And thus the cycle begins!
Over Christmas you’re going to have a few extras here and there, some chocolate, some Christmas cake, big dinners, this is fine, indulge, but balance it out. What I mean by this concept of balance is, if you know you’re having a meal out with some drinks that evening, balance this out with a nice healthy breakfast and dinner. Don’t think to yourself, well I may as well just eat crap all day. Don’t turn one treat meal into a whole day of treats, you’re likely to be eating more treats than usual so this balance can really save on those extra calories.
When I want to lose a little weight I find the most effective method for me is to count my calories. I use the app MyFitnessPal and I record every morsel of food and I also weigh my food too. This may seem a little extreme but you will also be surprised by what a portion looks like. This combined method of tracking really helps me to understand food a lot more.
In fact, I have lost 10 pounds in just a month by using this method, it stops me from overeating and keeps me in a calorie deficit.
Protein is a powerhouse, not only does it work in the body to keep those muscles nice and strong but it also works to keep us nice and full. I often find with simple carbohydrates (white flour, sweets, cakes, sugar etc) I am hungry not long after eating, but with a protein, I stay fuller for longer, and what’s more, I eat less at my next mealtime.
Ensure each meal has a protein, this way your less likely to become hungry and reach for a sugary snack a few hours after eating. Give it a try you will be surprised how well this little trick works.
It’s All About A Deficit
Losing weight is just about keeping yourself in a deficit, whether you cut calories from your food intake or add in exercise, or a combination on both. If you overeat you will put on weight, but if you eat your maintenance calories you will maintain your current weight.
It is worth sitting down and figuring out what you want this Christmas, do you want to maintain your current weight or lose it? From there you can come up with a plan of attack, setting out your daily calories. In order to stay within this tracking is a great option.
Over Christmas I track and keep on top of my calories 95% of the month and then have some days off, for instance, Christmas Day I won’t be tracking or trying to maintain a calorie count, I will just have a fun day and not worry about staying within a set calorie amount.
This is a great option for limiting weight gain this season. I love healthy swaps. This is simply where you swap an unhealthy snack for either a super healthy one or just a less calorie dense option. The great thing about these swaps is you don’t really miss the unhealthy option. Here are a few of my favourites:
Chips – Sweet potato fries
Crisps – popcorn
Sweets – Fruit and nut mix
Cereal – porridge
Red meat – White meat or fish
Cooking with oil or butter – cooking off with water
Ice cream – Halo top style ice cream
Anything white – wholemeal
Chocolate bar – date bars like Nakd
Beer or wine – spirits (weigh them out and have the correct 25ml shot)
Keep The Workouts Maintainable
Sometimes it can be very easy to get bogged down in over-eating and then trying to combat this with over-exercising causing burn out or injury which can mean weeks without the workouts. I prefer to instead to come up with a simple and maintainable workout regime, never working out for more than an hour, adding in plenty of smart 30-minute workouts, a 30-minute workout to me just seems more reasonable.
Also know your workout schedule needs to be more flexible, having room to swap rest days or simply skipping a workout or two. Remember not to allow yourself to feel guilty for this, life happens and we must have the ability to be flexible.
Don’t Skip Meals & Take Your Time With Food
Skipping meals can be a major factor in overeating. It can be so easy to get lost in the day and miss meals, but we must try to not purposely skip them. Actively skipping meals can make us hungrier causing a binge cycle to commence. The problem with a binge cycle is your eating everything so quickly you don’t feel full, causing us to eat more. So try to not skip a meal(s).
Another good tip along the lines of above is to take your time with your food, taking your time allows the brain to register the food we are eating, allowing it to send full signals when we are full. Chewing food properly allows us some extra time, try popping your knife and folk down a few times during the meal and sipping some water throughout. Make it an enjoyable experience, not just a shovel in the mouth jobby.
Don’t Feel Guilty For Eating
This is a major point for me, feeling guilty will only lead to poor self-worth and can potentially enter us into the binge cycle. Don’t feel guilty for having fun and indulging, if you overindulged simply have some wonderful fruits and veggies the next day and do some weight training. Get back on track! Do not feel guilty and starve yourself or over workout.
If you do start to feel some guilty thoughts slipping in, take a minute, take a few deep breaths and say a kind self-loving mantra, something like “I am wonderful, beautiful and do not feel guilty, I am perfect, loved and happy” Try making up your own mantra. Follow this up with some more deep breaths, soon your thoughts and feelings will change towards overindulging.
It’s All About The Clothes
The scale can be a complete dick! Sorry, but it’s true! The scale just produces a number, that’s it, it doesn’t tell you your self-worth, it doesn’t tell you how beautiful and amazing you are and what’s worse…the scale is a liar! This morning I stepped on the scale 3 times, moving the scale around the room, each time I got a different result. When I eat higher amounts of carbohydrates the scale tells me I have put on weight when I haven’t had a good poop that morning the scale tells me I have put on weight. See the pattern here!
The best judge on your waistline is not a set of scales, it is your clothes, how do your clothes fit? I know when I need to drop a few pounds, or I have been overeating just by how my clothes feel. If your clothes feel the same then what are you worrying about?
Find What Works For You
The is vital. Listen to your body and find a rhyme that works for you. Some people adore working out for hours on end, it’s their passion, these people can spend hours each day in the gym, some people cannot stand the gym but instead prefer yoga and salads, some people are great at not over-eating and others have poor portion control. Experiment and find what works for you.
For years I have been in a cycle of working out and overeating, burning myself out and still overeating, slowly putting on weight. I was doing my degree so thought nothing of it. I finished my degree in August and decided I needed a life break. I have been on and off binge cycling and on and off with my workouts, trying to force myself to go for a run. Telling myself I love to run and trying to set insane running goals.
At the beginning of November, I realised something……I hate working out for hours on end, I love yoga, I am unsure how I feel about weights, I like a quick spin session but not in the week. I found I am a complex person and ultimately with working out, if I am in the mood I love it, if not I hate it and cannot think of a worse task. I also discovered working out made me overeat, this could have been psychological. I found I wasn’t really getting anywhere.
I decided enough was enough. So I decided to concentrate my efforts in the kitchen and not with the workouts. I have stopped working out (temporarily) I have been tracking my calories and portion sizes and cut the snacking. I am losing more weight now than I ever have, what’s more, I am finding it easy and enjoyable. Once I have lost the amount of weight I want, or I am in a habit of no snacking, weight and not ever eating I will add back in my workouts, but I want to spend some time figuring out what I actually like and want from my workouts.
Well, this was a long post!!! I would love to hear from you regarding your top Christmas health tips, just leave a comment below. In the meantime have an amazing day!!!!