Well I think we can safely say Mother Martin is going to slap me upside the head for the title of this article! Sorry Mum!
We know the drill..... everyone's healthy eating and exercise regimes go to pot at this time of year. We write off being healthy until the 1st January but by the time we get there we feel pretty bloated, lethargic and pretty bloody crap..... and worst still we are back to the fitness levels we had months before, losing all of our progress and the results of our hard work. Here are my top tips to limit the damage in and over the Festive period!
1. KEEP MOVING
Now this sounds simple right, but with the increase in social plans and the decrease in time left for normal activities it can be a tough nut to crack. However it IS crackable, Christmas does not have to equal sitting on your arse for four weeks. Yep there might be more social events so less time to fit in your normal fitness activities BUT there are plenty of cool things to do that involve clocking up some steps:
***** pre-pub walks in the park with friends and family
***** events like Winter Wonderland where there are plenty of steps involved
***** hit the dancefloor at the Christmas Party
***** squeeze in some home workouts / the occasional sesh at the gym
Don't forget ANY movement is better than none so just because you can't fit in as much as normal, it doesn't mean we should just throw the towel in for four solid weeks.
2. STEP AWAY FROM THE PARTY FOOD AND THE CHEAP CHOCOLATE
We all know that we are going to eat more than normal and that's OK. We are going out more, socialising more and spending more time with our loved ones and that's GREAT! But let's think about what we are eating. If you out for dinner to a restaurant or a friend's house you are probably eating some source of protein, some vegetables, some salad..... REAL food. Let's be honest, while it's probably more calorie dense than our normal home cooked meal it DOES still contain a decent stack of nutrients both macro and micro.
Let's compare this to traditional party food/tin of chocolates both of which have the nutritional value of a brick. A plate of cheap, processed carbohydrates versus a luscious source of protein and decent carbohydrates cooked in a kitchen. It's a no brainer.
3. THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX FOR XMAS FILM SNACKS
We all love a good film with the fam...... accompanied by a decent selection of snacks to pick at BUT it doesn't have to be all chocolate and crisps with dips. It's time to find something tasty but half decent as a way of saving ourselves some calories and putting some decent nutrients in our body. Some examples include:
****** flavoured popcorn
****** mixed nuts (unsalted & unroasted - get those nutcrackers out)
****** crudites and homemade dips
****** home made chocolate protein balls/brownies
****** baked crisps
4. LOAD UP ON THE VEG, SALAD AND WATER
By the time we get to January, inevitably the only veg we've seen was on our Christmas Dinner plate. Keeping your veg, salad and fruit intake up over the Festive period will help keep your micronutrient levels topped up, your hydration at a decent level AND will help to stop you starting the New Year bloated, sluggish and as constipated as f##k. Water is the key to avoiding horrendous food & alcohol hangovers and also to keeping your insides feeling as fresh as humanly possible.
5. CHOOSE YOUR ALCOHOL WISELY
Your best bet is a cheeky prosecco or a spirit with a mixer.... stay away from the creamy delights of a certain liqueur and check the ABV of your wine to find out where you stand in the alcohol stakes. The main offenders are cocktails, pints of cider and alcopops - all laden with sugar. Home poured glasses of wine can sneak up on you - we don't use measures and it's easy to demolish a bottle very quickly. A large class of wine can have a wooping 230kcals.... 4 of those later and that's half your daily calories done pre-dinner! It's just worth starting your night off with something you know is a little lighter on the calories so by the time you are 6 drinks in and you don't care anymore, you've saved yourself the chip kebab you're gonna smash in at 1am.
6. DECREASE YOUR INTAKE OF CARB DENSE FOODS WITH YOUR MAIN MEAL TO OFFSET SOME OF THE CRAP YOU'VE EATEN
So you've rammed 2 family bags of Kettle Chips into your mush infront of Miracle on 34th Street. It wasn't your best plan, but it's done now. So how to limit the damage. Aside from the obvious 'get your butt of the sofa and get moving', a decent way is to bin the carb dense foods from your dinner plate that day..... hold the dauphinoise potatoes & the chunks of white bread & butter and get stuck into your delicious protein with a side of veg. Whilst yep some forms of carbs & fats are much better than others, at this time of year it's about trying to balance out your 3 main macronutrients as much as possible.
7. DON'T BE TEMPTED TO WRITE EVERYTHING OFF AS A BAD JOB
One Terry's Chocolate Orange did not sink the Titanic. It doesn't mean it's all over and there's no point eating any broccoli at dinner, so don't give me that 'may as well just sub the broccoli for half a pound of cheese & biscuits then'. Saying you've overindulged once so you're not gonna bother trying to be healthy at all, is like a pilot taking their hands off the steering wheel thing when he/she is making an emergency landing. I think your body would rather you kept your hands on the wheel even if they are covered in melted chocolate.
In summary, ask anyone what Christmas means to them and they will almost ALL say that it's about spending time with friends & family. So why does having fun with our favourite people have to mean smashing the sh#t out of our bodies? Yep we want to indulge and join in with the festivities but there is a balance between being the one propping up the buffet table & the one sat in the corner on there own with a glass of tap water and a rice cake. If we want to eat, drink & be merry then why the hell shouldn't we. Christmas comes but one a year. Let's just be honest with ourselves and ask the question, I'm sat on my own watching re-runs of Friends, why do I have my face in the Quality Street tin?.... they're not even good chocolate and I'm on my own - this ISN'T about being sociable and enjoying myself.
On that note, have a bloody awesome Christmas, a decent rest and I look forward to hearing from you all in the New Year when we are ready to get our shizzle on!
For more info on Anna's classes in Feltham & Teddington go to www.annamartinfitness.co.uk
For more info on Anna's home workout program '14 Day Fix' go to www.always-moving-forward.com
Anna is a qualified Personal Trainer, experienced Group Exercise instructor and a Master-Trainer for an international fitness brand. Owner of Vital Signz Dance. Creator of 14 Day Fix home workout program.