How To Tackle The Festive Season…Without Dieting

How To Tackle The Festive Season…Without Dieting

Keep control of your health goals without going on a Christmas “diet”

Feeling Festive

Nobody wants to be on a strict diet over the festive period. But I don’t know many people who actually want to gain weight, have tight clothes for Hogmanay, and spend most of January avoiding mirrors!

So what’s a person to do? The way I see it, you have 3 options.

1 Adopt a “sod it” approach – enjoy all the social events, festive meals, and drinks… and knuckle down in January

2 Have a set of rules including avoiding most special foods at this time of year

Or number 3. Bear in mind this is the approach most people acknowledge but don’t actually commit to. Why? I guess it takes a little thought, some planning, and a bit of awareness. But it avoids the misery of options 1 and 2. Ready to hear it?

3 Put some sensible plans in place that will allow you to enjoy quality time with friends and family, without wiping out your healthy living progress.

Ground breaking, right? This approach can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. Here’s how I advise my own clients to approach this time of year.

7 Steps To Keep Your Weight Loss Goals Over Christmas And New Year

Step 1 Assess Your Goals

What do you want to achieve over this period? Do you want to maintain your current weight, with the focus being not gaining anything? Or do you want to lose weight? If so, how much? Or perhaps it’s less about weight and more about maintaining your healthy habits. Decide what you want to achieve.

Step 2 What You Can – And Can’t – Control

This is a useful exercise at any time of year, not just Christmas. Draw a big circle on a piece of paper. Inside the circle, write down everything that is under your control. This could be “walking every day”, “alcohol”, “seconds” – or whatever you feel able to say yes or no to. Outside the circle, write everything that won’t be within your control over the festive period. At least then you can focus your energy on the right battles.

Step 3 Simple Wins

Set yourself a list of simple daily or weekly wins. These might be a step count, water intake, protein with meals, vegetables, getting outside every day, going for a run…. Whatever it is, write it down and then tick it off as you achieve it. This will give you a sense of control and ownership over the festive period. And good habits build on themselves.

Step 4 Calorie Strategies

If you want to control your weight over Christmas, you can use some tried and tested strategies. Skipping breakfast is one that works for many. Is breakfast a big deal in your household over Christmas? If not, just go without and start eating at lunchtime. Another strategy could be not eating after dinner. Or only drinking alcohol on certain days or occasions. Mini fasting is a great strategy for controlling calorie intake. Try using an 8-hour eating window on quieter days or travel days.

Step 5 Mindful Eating

None of us have to eat everything on offer over the festive period. Most of us don’t actually even like all of it! I know people who don’t like mince pies, or fruit cake, or sausage rolls, or mulled wine…but still accept them (or even make them!) This year, take a minute to think “…do I really want this?” This simple pause-and-think strategy will help you avoid unnecessary calorie intake. Enjoy the things you actually like!

Step 6 Activity Is Key

NEAT – non exercise activity thermogenesis – is all the calories you burn from moving around during the day. This type of calorie burn is much more significant for weight management than workouts. So keep that activity high. Walk, do manual chores, take the dog out, offer to get things out of the loft, make up the spare beds… whatever keeps your body moving. Any kind of activity really does count for calorie burn.

Step 7 Get Back On Track

We don’t like to think about “failing”, but it’s good to be realistic. If your plans go awry, if you eat and drink more than you wanted to… don’t panic. Just get back on track as soon as you can. Don’t let one day turn into two, or one week turn into a fortnight. Remember your keystone habits, get back to them, and start a simple healthy plan again as soon as life settles down.

Want some help with this – or your January fitness goals? Get in touch with us by email or give us a call 07883 060 108