Easter, Halloween, New Year’s Eve, Boxing Day and Christmas Day. All festive periods that our brain gives us that little excuse to consume a huge amount of good food and drink far too much, and why shouldn’t it?
These are the occasions that bring family, friends and all loved ones close together, to celebrate life and to create some amazing memories.
Many of us are also aware that the food and drink being consumed could have a negative effect on your fitness regime. But, on the other hand, these periods can also be extremely healthy for our mental state.
You see it’s a chance to unwind and forget about that weights session or that spin class.
So, if you you’d like to know how you can enjoy the up coming festive period without feeling guilty, or damaging your fitness goals, keep on reading…
Step Up Your Exercise
The days leading up to the big day be a lot more active and burn off as many extra calories as you possibly can!
The idea of this is that you will be creating a much bigger calorie deficit. Meaning that when you take on board the extra calories you’ve consumed, the overall calorie number won’t be stupidly too high!
For example, if you consume an extra 1,000 calories on the festive day and don’t exercise, then your combined calorie input with output number will stay at 1,000.
However, smash another gym session and shift an extra 500 calories and your total input with output suddenly adds up to only 500 calories! Simple maths really.
The extra output you choose to do could be anything you wish!
A midday run on your lunch break, a back to back spin class, a double weights session, or even going for a late night long walk! If you have the will power, smash out some early morning cardio on the day itself.
Limit Your Carbs and Fats
Lower the amount of carbohydrates and fats you consume two days or at least one day before the big day itself, keeping your protein intake high.
Again, this will be for the same reason as the first tip. So that when you total up for example a week’s worth of carbohydrates, 1,000 grams sounds a lot better than 2,000 grams. Agreed?
The same principle can work for your fat intake. I have picked out these two macronutrients because let’s face it; our favourite foods around these festive times are dominantly going to be consisting of carbs and fats!
Drink a lot of fluids.
This little tip can also trick your body into thinking its full when you've actually just consumed more water than usual, and if you’re feeling fuller then your less likely to pick away at more food.
This then equals to you potentially lowering your calories, carbs and fat. A double win!
The typical foods that we love to indulge on usually bring along with them extra carbs, fats and most of the time, salts, yet another good reason to keep drinking plenty of waterthroughout the day and the days leading up to the festive period.
Stay Away From The Scales
This piece of advice is more for your mental health rather than your fitness regime!
If you’re silly enough to step on the scales the day after a festive day, DO NOT panic. You haven't just undone all your hard work in the past month! It's not body fat.
Your body will eventually even itself out over the next few days (assuming you get back into your routine) and bring your weight back down to normal.
It's just the shock you've put on your body with all the extra calories, carbs, fats, salts and alcohol, they won't stay there forever! Just like that possible bloating feeling you might have, it won’t last for eternity.
These are what I like to call ‘acute changes’. Changes that will last a few hours or a couple of days, not weeks and months.
A Few Bonus Ideas
Depending on the occasion, there’s always something you can be doing to make the day itself healthier. Or if not healthier, you can just simply pick wiser choices.
Planning a big lunch time meal? Then have a small breakfast and dinner. Having a massive celebratory breakfast? Then go for a long afternoon walk.
Choose a spirit and diet over a large glass of wine. Play a family game that’s more active, The Wii Fit over the PlayStation. Choose that single cream for your pud, instead of the double. Drive to the party so you can’t drink, fill up on veggies and salad.
Little things like this may sounds a little daft, but if you combine all of these things together you can actually save yourself on a few unnecessary calories.
I know it’s not just about consuming less calories to remain ‘healthy’, but it will be limiting the damage!
On A Final Note
It would be wrong of me to say you can’t eat this or you can’t eat that. You mustn’t do this or you mustn’t do that!
At the end of the day, these festive times of the year are all about eating good food and switching off from the world.
Creating happy memories and drinking far too much.
However, if you did fancy staying bang on track with your calorie intake and remaining in line to crush your new gym plan, then try out a few of those tips above.
Do the work now and enjoy the good times later.
As I’ve said in a few previous articles, one bad day isn’t going to make fat, just like one good day isn’t going to make you skinny.