10 tips to keep you on your 'A' game this christmas
With the festive season well and truly in full swing it can be easy to fall into the trap of bingeing & feeling like you have 'fallen off the wagon'. The festive season is supposed to be an enjoyable relaxing break, not one of anxiousness or regret. Reduce negative self-talk and guilt come 2nd Jan with these 10 tips. These tips aren't supposed to make you feel like you shouldn't be indulging, but more simple strategies to implement to ensure you feel in control of what you put in your mouth this christmas.
1. Stock up on berries
When trying to improve your diet it is really important to focus on nutrient density, what you can crowd in, rather then what you 'can't' eat. Berries are just about as good as it gets in terms of nutrient rich fruit. A rich source of antioxidants and important vitamins, berries are a great addition to any diet. Especially important when you may not be eating optimally, berries ensure you don’t get too out of whack. The best part is, they are delicious so they are definitely not a hard thing to include!
2. Try to get those greens in
Vegetables are key to great health. They contain large amounts of valuable micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and secondary antioxidants) that help your body feel at its best. During the Christmas period it can be difficult to ensure you are getting enough greens so that is where green smoothie can be a great option. Before you head out to an event, whip up a smoothie with lots of greens to get that nutrition hit, ensuring you feel a bit better after all your festive antics.
3. Wake up early and get a workout in
Christmas is a hectic time of year and almost always the festivities can get in the way of your workout. Long lunches instead of your lunch time gym sesh can mean your fitness routine can suffer. Getting up early and getting your work out in means it is done and dusted for the day and you won’t have to worry about anything else that might come up later on. Best of all working out depletes glycogen stores and increases insulin sensitivity meaning your body is better equipped to deal with all those extra calories which can minimise fat storage (surely that's got to be a win?) Get your workout done before everyone else is awake and it won’t interfere with much needed family time.
4. Be kind to yourself
Above all, be kind to yourself this Christmas. If the holiday season gives you ‘diet anxiety’ then really, you aren’t on the right diet. Food is not something that should bring you anxiety. It’s normal to put on a few kg’s around Christmas. It is important to give your body a rest and enjoy your time off with your family and friends. Trust in the fact that you take care of yourself all year around, so a few glasses of wine or pieces of cake aren’t going to ‘break the bank’. Don’t completely lose the plot just because you are on ‘holiday’, but definitely don’t feel guilty for when you do indulge. The damage that guilt and stress has on your body is going to affect you much more than the actual cake will.
5. Drink enough water
So important during the holidays, especially in the summer heat! Without enough water we are unable to feel at our best and we may also feel hungrier (which can lead to overeating). Starting and finishing the day with a large glass of water will keep your hydration on track, especially when there is alcohol involved!
6. Perform high intensity interval training
Not only does HIIT training take a lot less time than steady state cardio (time is precious at this time of year) it is also much more effective for weight loss. HIIT training protocol can see your workout taking less than 10 minutes so you can spend as much time as possible with your loved ones! A simple protocol is to do a simple warmup, then find a hill or some steps and run up them as fast as you can and use the walk back down as a recovery. Do that ten times and your workout will be done and dusted in no time at all.
7. Look after your gut
Sugar, alcohol & all the good things we tend to overindulge in over Christmas can all wreak havoc on our guts. When your gut is out of whack it can affect your mood, immune system & fat storage just to name a few! This time of year is a great time to load up on fermented foods to give back to your gut! My favourites are pickles, sauerkraut, miso and kombucha. It could also be a good idea to take a probiotic supplement around this time of year just to give your gut a little extra love!
8. Get enough sleep (take naps if necessary)
Sleep is incredibly important for restoration and repair & to achieve optimal hormone balance. Ever had those days where you just can’t stop eating and don’t seem to ever get satisfied? Well lack of sleep could play an important role. Studies have shown lack of sleep can affect your satiety hormones, ghrelin and leptin, and therefore your body wants more food and is less effective at telling you when you have had enough! It varies from person to person, but in general most individuals are going to need between seven and nine hours a night. It can be difficult to get that amount at this time of year so taking naps during the day can be effective!
9. Use a good quality greens supplement
Whenever I am on holiday I always make sure I take a quality greens supplement with me. This is because I know I may not be eating as optimally as I do when at home so this ensures I am getting all of the essential and secondary nutrients my body requires to stay on track. I personally swear by Nuzest’s Good Green Stuff (don’t worry I am not cool enough to be sponsored so this is just my genuine thoughts) but there are many on the market so find one that works for you!
10. Relax and don’t sweat the small stuff
Christmas is a time of year where you are supposed to relax, you are supposed to let your normal routine slide so don’t get worked up about it. Avoid the scales around this time if you are someone who gets caught up by it. Eating a large meal increases your glycogen stores, and with increased glycogen comes an increase in water storage. This can contribute to as much as a 5-kilogram weight change which can cause absolute panic! It can take a few days for your weight to return to normal so ditch the scales over this Christmas period.