It’s no secret that most of us gain a few extra pounds, along with presents, around the Christmas season, and who can really blame us? I mean, have you been into your local Starbucks recently? In the pre-holiday times, our beloved coffee house pumps us full with PSLs (that’s pumpkin spice lattes if you were wondering). These bad boys come in at a belt-busting 420 calories! Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing mainstream coffee houses. They single handedly keep me plodding on throughout the colder months, even if it is with a lil’ extra weight to carry, cheers Starbucks!
If you look around, there are Christmas sabotage “treats” being sold in every grocery store, Christmas market stall, cafe, restaurant, bakery and pretty much any other kind of shop you can dream up. It can seem somehow impossible to dodge the stodge, but fret not, I’ve got some nifty knacks to give you that extra push.
So, if you want some advice to help you stick to your diet and avoid gaining those pesky pounds, keep reading.
Step One: Accept the Challenge
If we mentally prepare ourselves for the challenge ahead, we are less likely to be defeated by it. Mince pies and Eggnog Frappucinos with extra whipped cream won’t send you into a blind panic if you know they may be hiding just around the corner, waiting patiently to destroy your efforts in staying healthy.
I’m not going to lie and say that all the cinnamon waffles, gingerbread-snowmen and hot apple pies aren’t absolutely, undeniably delicious. I will, however, point out that these festive treats only seem all the more delicious around Christmas time because the big brands have world class marketing teams slaving away to make them seem utterly inescapable; almost as if we are committing a Christmas-crime by not indulging. If you can see through the clever campaigns and see that these foods taste exactly the same in December as they do in March, then it is feasible that you might be able to banish the binge with the greatest of ease!
So, to sum this point up, what I’m trying to say is if you are mentally prepared for tempting treats to be dotted around every street up and down the country, you won’t be caught by surprise and make the hasty decision to buy them for the sake of it.
Step Two: Buddy Up
A wise man once said, a problem shared is a problem halved. This is a very useful little phrase to remind yourself of around the festive-feast season. I’m sure you will be able to recruit at least one friend who also doesn’t fancy partaking in the seasonal splurge. Hold on to that friend, they are about to become your closest ally.
The brilliant thing about this step is the simplicity of it, all you have to do is make sure you have some sort of mutual agreement. For example, if you are both attending a party, make a deal that you will have X amount of drinks/treats, or that you will avoid said drinks/treats entirely. Be realistic with the rules you set for each other however. If it’s totally not possible that you stick to them, you will only beat yourself up with guilt later. Moderation is key!
There’s safety in numbers, by getting friends on board with your ‘ban the binge’ plan you are much more likely to stay on track and achieve your goals!
Step Three: Only Shop Once Stuffed
This is a biggie, but more often than not, people ignore this SOLID advice. The theory here is that if you do your grocery shopping whilst hungry, your cravings will rule your mind, meaning there is a very strong chance that you will buy one, two or ten naughty Christmas treats that you really don’t need. The simple way to avoid this strange, shopping, craving mind-set is to have a decent sized, healthy meal before you hit the shops. This way you will be able to think clearly about what you’re going to want to eat in the days to come, rather than what you want in the moment!
Step Four: Crafty Christmas Calorie Burns
Let’s not kid ourselves; 99.9% of us do not want, nor do we have the time to venture down to the gym at Christmas. You can tell yourself all the excuses you like, ‘winter clothes hide my bod’, ‘it’s only once a year, it’s okay to indulge’, ‘The diet starts tomorrow!’ it doesn’t mean that, once New Year rolls around again, you won’t also be rolling around!
Follow these fun, seasonal activities, to banish the extra pounds!
Shop to drop … the lbs: A two-hour dash for those last-minute prezzies burns 500 calories.
Cook up a storm: A whole morning preparing and cooking Christmas dinner burns 400 calories.
Be a lean cleaning Machine: Clearing the table and washing up after every family meal burns 150 calories a time.
Step Five: Reward Your Self The Right Way
Not only is the Christmas season filled with indulgent foods and drinks, it also means that we are surrounded by winter themed activities. Go to any town or city and you’re likely to find a large ice-skating rink surrounded by all sorts of other activities and Christmas events, such as carol services, Christmas comedy shows, DIY decoration making and all sorts of ferris wheels and rides.
Most of us can manage to have a ‘good’ day every now and then, where we meticulously stick to our diet plans and squeeze in a really good workout. But how often do we reward one good day with a cheat meal, or in my case, a cheat week, which totally undoes all of our hard work? These unhealthy ‘reward’ binges leave us bloated and depressed, craving more sugar to sooth our sensitive souls. Instead of binge eating peppermint bark and eggnog lattes, why not gather a couple of your favourite friends and take yourselves out for a fun day of Christmas activities, we guarantee you’ll be just as satisfied and lighter on your feet!