How to keep in shape over the holidays

christmas-food-motivation-feast

Christmas is right around the corner. Looking forward to spend some quality time with family and friends there is one matter that is surrounded by great excitement and stress simultaneously: the food. Well, we all know that the holidays are not likely to be characterized by restraint. On the contrary, Christmas dinner is a central part of the celebrations, and believing the stories I get to hear every year… and not least from my own experience… people can get crazy about their food around this time (or maybe food orgies can describe the idea pretty well).

Does everybody think there won’t be any food left next year? As soon as the celebrations are over we get the receipt from days of non-stop feast hitting us like a punch into the face: The numbers on the scale are fired into unknown dimensions and we would love to replace our tight pair of jeans with the now so beloved chillout-pants… yeah, say at least for a while… maybe some of the reasons why the gym is packed during the first two weeks of january? Who knows.

The question that arises naturally to me is: How can we prevent from overeating and feeling bad about our food choices over the holidays? Don’t get me wrong, I certainly won’t aim for weight loss over the days between the years… but I’m sure I’m not the only one trying to figure out the best way to skip the food-coma-discomfort while at the same time keep motivation up. I’m not a calorie-counting kind of person, nope! Definitely not. And oh, I will for sure not calculate on carbs over Christmas. I’ve been trying out some approaches over the past years and learnt what doesn’t work for me: Being way too harsh to myself. The following tips are therefore based on my preferences but keep in mind we all know our lack of willpower the best – let me know what works for you!

  • Everything is better… Let’s start with the most effective: motion. At any time of the year, it’s a proven strategy to keep motivated to go for the healthier food choices. I talked about the feel-good hormones released during workout many times before. And I stick to it as one of the best rewards from working your body. I know it might be hard to maintain the regular workout scheme when the gym isn’t close and you are tired from all the heavy food – but when you think about it, it requires so little to still keep up some form of balance and feel good. You know yourself best. What is the most realistic to maintain? Even a walk together with your family would burn some calories – and can be fun besides.
  • … than nothing. You manage to hit the gym twice over 10 days? Great! You can dedicate yourself to 15 mins morning workout each day? Great! Twice 5 mins per day? Great! – Yes, basically everything is great as long as it’s feasible and feels good. It doesn’t need to be time consuming at all, better take some activity every day which is better than nothing! Tip: There are countless workout videos on youtube giving inspiration for home exercises and requiring no equipment… Not let access to ideas be the problem. Why not set up a “100 squats per day” challenge with your siblings
  • Good on you, breakfast skippers! We know Christmas food can be heavy. Oh, believe me it’s easy to consume 1000 cal from only one meal, especially when you have the one or the other drink with it. And I probably don’t have to mention the snacks before and after. Unfortunately also on Christmas we are bound to the physical law: Calories in vs calories out. I know, tell me what is fair! Skipping one meal and focusing on the two most important to you might be one part of the solution. Or have you ever tried intermittent fasting? It might be worth to consider breaking your fast from sleeping a little later some days… this way you give your insulin levels a rest and fat is burnt for energy (short conclusion – feel free to read my article Not eating is Not the answer).
  • And last but not at all least! Finally, think of the ones who don’t have the choice. People who need to be hungry today. Be grateful for all prosperity and don’t take abundance of food for granted. Give it some thoughts and keep it in mind for this years celebrations and I’m sure your dinner experience will be different! Don’t stress out about food and enjoy Christmas with the ones you love.

Merry Christmas to you all!

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