Enjoy food at Xmas without it impacting your body fat levels too badly so you can start the New Year without jumping onto a restrictive fad diet
Stop the cycle of getting fat at Xmas followed by crash dieting with these methods. As a nutrition consultant and transformation coach I repeatedly see a cycle of events over the Christmas period that goes like this
- Overeat at Christmas
- Reduce activity due to staying in with family
- Continue the eating and lack of activity into the week following Christmas
- Get on the scales or look in the mirror on January 1st
- Shocked at the rapid weight gain decide to go on a diet
- Sign up for a fad diet that promises rapid weight loss
- Quit the diet after a few weeks as it’s too hard
- Gain all the weight back again
- Feel even worse
If this is you then here’s some tips on reducing the impact of Christmas celebrations that won’t stress you out.
This article is aimed at people who exercise as a normal daily activity and are health conscious. The purpose of the techniques in this article is to give you ideas for keeping a mindset of a healthy lifestyle while still enjoying chocolate and all the other nice things during Christmas.
I’m definitely not going to suggest that you try to ‘diet’ through Christmas or avoid certain foods as my whole coaching ethos is for people to enjoy life while keeping in great shape.
Create a new short term routine for the holiday
The major reason for many people going off the rails at Christmas is that they are out of their normal routine.
Their work has closed for the Christmas period and they are staying at home more. When you are out of your normal routine the brain defaults the the easiest option which is to do nothing. Unless you have an alternate routine planned you’ll find yourself sat on the sofa with a tray of chocolate wondering where it all went wrong.
To stop getting fat at Xmas, have an alternate routine at least loosely planned.
Examples could be
- Aiming to eat 1-2 big meals rather than 3-4 medium meals. This allows you to have more free time without thinking about cooking. Bigger meals can also satisfy for longer reducing snacking – More Here on bigger vs smaller meals
- Having morning habits such as a 20 minute walk as a first action. Which might not be an option when at work
- Going to the gym twice a day, as a short term option it can be a nice novelty and sets your mind firmly on a healthy lifestyle making later daily choices easier
Aim to hit your protein targets to help reduce overeating and preserve muscle tissue.
Protein is important for muscle growth and maintenance, as well as a healthy immune system, all good reasons to keep protein intake optimal.
There is another reason why I suggest that you focus on maintaining a high protein intake during Christmas – It keeps you fuller and slows hunger.
Tracking protein intake can be really easy using an app such as EAT THIS MUCH.
As a rule I advise clients to aim for a minimum 1.6-2.0g of protein per kg of bodyweight.
More on Protein intake for fat loss here
Track your steps and aim to increase by 10-20% in order to boost your daily calorie output
A major factor in fat gain during the Christmas period is reduced activity. The term for daily calorie expenditure is TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) or EER (Energy Expenditure Rate.
One of the biggest influencers of this is NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) basically all the moving you do when not in the gym, running, swimming etc.
NEAT tends to drop during Christmas and combined with extra energy intake leads to fat gain.
If you already monitor your steps then you will have an idea of your daily movement so make an effort to hit that number or increase by 10-20%.
If you work in an office normally then it shouldn’t be hard to beat your daily steps when you are off work as you can go for a 20 minute walk.
If you are in a very active job such as a Post-person (like one of my clients) then the risk of NEAT dropping like a stone in water is quite high, to stop getting fat at Xmas you’ll need to make an effort to maintain movement.
Read a chapter of a book a day - includes shameless plug
This may seem like a weird one for this article but the benefit is to break the cycle of mindless eating which is associated with being sat in front of the TV for hours on end.
To really enjoy a chapter of a book you need quiet, therefore it’s a perfect opportunity/excuse to take yourself away from your family for an hour to have some you time.
Combine this with a bath and you’ve got a perfect focus on your mindset and relaxation.
As a bonus you could read a book that discusses more great ways to manage your eating habits.
Such as my book – Target Lean 😊