Winter, when the parties are in full swing, a chill is in the air and mulled wine and mince pies are in never ending supply, it’s no wonder many people are easily sidetracked from their fitness and nutrition goals. By the time January rolls around, that all too familiar sluggish feeling and few extra pounds hits us like a ton of bricks.This is one of many reasons not to toss away the daily routine in favour of overindulging. Maintaining a regular schedule will not only keep you on the straight and narrow, but, as mountains of research has revealed, will help promote optimal equilibrium in the mind and body. With a change of mindset, we can look at the holidays as a welcome opportunity to spend time on your personal goals.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind during the holidays:
Set boundaries, and stick to them.
The holidays may be an excuse to have fun, but they shouldn’t be an excuse to let the diet pendulum to the extreme. Setting goals, writing them down and visualising your boundaries, especially during difficult situations where food is in copious amounts, is vital for keeping our calories intake under control. Perhaps it’s avoiding sweet trays at Christmas parties, skipping alcohol on nights out or adding an additional training session to your workouts – your goal is to practice self-discipline and meet your self-expectations. That feeling of achievement is worth it every time.
On the subject of alcohol…
It’s a time to be merry and celebrate the festivities whilst being mindful of the effects of consuming high volumes of alcohol. With one large glass of wine amounting to 185 calories and a pint of beer at over 200 calories, a few drinks go a long way in contributing to the daily calorie intake. Worst of all, studies have shown the possible added side effect of increased appetite and cravings from alcoholic beverages. Avoid the downward spiral by reining in the drinking and soaking up the festive fun and spirit instead.
Maintain an exercise schedule.
Crunched for time? Try this no equipment, no fuss, at-home 30 minute workout to fire up the muscles and get the heart rate up.
HIIT (3 rounds, 40 seconds on/20 seconds off)
- Mountain climbers
- Alternating lunge kicks
- Push ups with shoulder taps
- Jump squats
Conditioning (3 rounds)
- 25 squats
- 30 alternating back lunges
- 30 plank taps (tap the hand one at a time in front)
- 20 tricep dips
- 30 courtesy lunges
Core focus (3 rounds)
- 30 oblique twists
- 20 alternating single leg raises
- 40 second forearm plank
It’s not all or nothing
We have all been there – breakfast starts off well but then things goes awry by lunch, and so follows an unhealthy pattern for the remainder of the day. Kick this vicious cycle to the curb by remembering there is leeway in our daily food intake, where we can and should savour a treat now and again. When it comes to diet, veering off course is part of the journey. Get back on track by preparing a healthy meal for dinner. The golden rule to remember during this time of year is eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed.
Drink more water
Healthy skin, improved digestion, blood pressure regulation and a host of other benefits arise from the simple act of drinking water. Just a 2% decrease in the body’s water balance can bring about an onset of unpleasant symptoms from dehydration. It’s especially true during the holidays when we are more likely to overload our bodies with excess sugar and alcohol. Keep the system moving, the mind sharp, and ward off those pesky headaches by guzzling least two litres of water daily, as recommended by the Eatwell Guide UK.
The holidays are a busy, hectic and somewhat stressful period, where jam packed schedules and a lack of routine can overwhelm. Take a few minutes every morning and once throughout the day to practice mindfulness and self-compassion, which helps to keep everything at balance. At its core, the holidays are a time for spending with loved ones, giving back to others and celebrating the true essence of Christmas.
Enjoy all that it brings as you gear up for a successful 2020 ahead
With thanks to, TruBe Trainer: Leoni J., level 3 personal trainer, specialising with clients new to fitness.