Have a Healthy Christmas

December 14, 2010 · 4 comments

This is a guest post by Joe Johnson.

We are now in the midst of the festive season and those of us trying to maintain a healthy diet and lose weight are facing an ever more difficult struggle. While all around us people gorge themselves on Brandy and mince pies we trying to preserve our constitution and snack on dry chicken breasts, vegetables and green tea, admittedly a bigger challenge than finding a gift for you great auntie Nora. A healthy lifestyle should not be all about restriction and measuring out portions, it is possible to join in with festivities and indulge in yuletide fare that tastes great and won’t wreck havoc on your waistline.

There is a common misconception that a traditional Christmas dinner is unhealthy and the primary reason why people put on so much weight around this time. I can confidently say that this is not the case by any stretch of the imagination. Drawing on my own previous experiences and the feedback I’ve got from clients, it is the mindset that is instilled by the festive season that really puts people out of kilter, not one indulgent meal.

The main issue is that people feel they deserve some time off from the gym. This is understandable considering we are all off work, the weather is bitterly cold, and the armchair next to the roaring fireplace seems far more inviting than the elliptical trainer. This mindset when coupled with the culture of overeating that is almost imposed upon us around the period from Thanksgiving to Christmas poses a serious threat to your fitness efforts.

The key is to maintain a regular fitness program while not giving into the multitude of glutinous yuletide temptations. This is not to say you should avoid socializing or Christmas dinner with the family, you just need to be intelligent about the amount of calories you choose to ingest. There is nothing wrong with a Turkey dinner, and a few naughty nibbles in the evening, but if this eating pattern goes on for days and even weeks, expect to see those scales groaning under the weight of your new Santa-esque belly.

In summary, maintain your exercise regime over Christmas, even if it is truncated, try and stick to lean proteins and vegetables when you can and avoid snacks that are high in both fat and sugar. There is nothing wrong with a little indulgence and a tipple here and there, just make sure that your Christmas gift to yourself isn’t a spare tyre!

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Jim from Functional Fitness Facts December 15, 2010 at 10:10 am

I actually work out harder during the Holidays so that I can enjoy eating a little more unhealthier than I normally do. For instance, I went to the gym on Thanksgiving morning and had a great weight lifting workout. I was then able to enjoy a big Thanksgiving dinner without feeling any sort of guilt.

Even if you can’t work out as often as you normally do during the Holidays, pick up the intensity of the workouts that you are able to do.

julie December 15, 2010 at 11:21 am

I absolutely go to the gym at least as much as usual, though it shuts down more than I like. I’ll walk in the cold if I have to. Fortunately, I don’t like much of the holiday food, though there’s always junky stuff to eat at parties. As the saying goes, it’s not what you eat between Xmas and NYE that causes weight gain, it’s what you eat between NYE and Xmas.

Justin Harrison December 17, 2010 at 1:39 am

I am making sure I work out loads this Holiday and that I manage my food intake much much better, because at the end of the day I’ve made a lifestyle choice.

Patrick Kallie December 18, 2010 at 7:22 am

Hi John,

I still try to have the same self control that I have throughout the year. It’s tough! I believe if you have good habits during the year…it will carry you during the holiday season when times get tough.

You just have to stay focused during this time of the year. If you are not careful that one bad month of December can carry over into the new year…and you don’t need that! So don’t forget about the big picture.

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