The festive feeling is most defiantly upon us, the lights, the tinsel, the blue Santa's hats and the Carole singers congregating in various town/city centres nationwide. However, the one thing most of us have definitely got in the back of our minds is…that epic Christmas day meal. That’s when the whole family gets together and to be honest, that‘s what Christmas is all about, right?
Well lets just take a second to remember what we are about to get ourselves into here; Tins and tins of Roses, Celebrations and Quality Street, whipped/pouring/ice cream, rich desserts, glazed meat, golden potatoes, mince pies, Christmas coffees, candy canes and of course, alcohol.
Now there really shouldn't be any rules at Christmas, however here are some words of wisdom you may wish to take into account if you don't want a belly the size of father Christmas by the end of the day and there no better place to start than the beginning.
Don't get overwhelmed by all the presents in your stocking at the end of the bed; go and eat a good breakfast – do not skip breakfast in order to ‘save yourself’ for the big meal. Your body will go into starvation mode and your body and brain will go crazy at the dinner table. Most families, I believe, sit down for ‘dinner’ around 3 to 4 o’clock. If you are peckish between breakfast and this time, do not starve yourself! Nibble on some natural nuts or fruit. Don’t reach for the chocolates sitting on the coffee table, they won’t fill you up, and nor will the numerous cakes and biscuits!
When its comes to the main dinner its not uncommon to fill your plate to your eyes content and we all have that little devil on our shoulder whispering "one more potato won't hurt it is Christmas after all!" shhhh him up before he undoes all your hard work leading up to today. Instead, fill your plate sparingly, and then when you have finished, wait a few minutes, drink some water, and decide whether or not you really need that extra mountain of food. You probably won’t. Take the same approach with dessert, and chances are you will be full enough not to snack on anything else after dinner.
If you are really serious about losing weight over Christmas, there are some alternatives that will be less damaging. Swap roast potatoes for boiled, grilled or baked sweet potatoes; it’s more nutritious and won’t bloat you like regular potatoes. Swap thick sliced appetiser bread for olives or pickles. The general rule is to think about what you’re putting in your mouth like you do any other day.
Now, if you haven't already fallen asleep on the sofa from all the food and let your teeth fall out like my Grandad does, in the evening I'm sure everyone likes to have a little sip on a alcoholic beverage, sat in front of the telly watching a comedy Christmas special. Sometimes this can be even more damaging then the food already consumed. Try to limit the alcohol. Let’s not be silly and get blind drunk, wake up Boxing Day and not remember a thing. The next is choosing what you drink, or what’s in your drink. Wine is the most calorie-friendly selection with a typical 20 calories 30ml. Each 150ml glass would then be 100 calories with no cholesterol, sodium or fat. If you’re going to drink high calorie liquor, use calorie-free mixers like diet soda or diet tonic water. Choosing light beers will drop your caloric intake without sacrificing much flavour.
Now if you start to get a bit fidgety while waiting for dinner or other family members to arrive and you don't have a very important job like watching the brussel sprouts boil to perfection and you feel the need to get a bit of exercise, grab a friend or relative, hat, scarf, gloves, open the front door and walk to your legs content. Better still the new running shoe you got from under the tree in the morning take them for a test run up and down a few hills. Don't go over the top mind you, no one wants to sit next to a sweaty betty at the table while you’re trying to fit all your carbs into the golden hour.
So to sum things up in a word. "Sensible".
Be a wiseman/woman and follow the star into boxing day when the gym will be open and you can carry on like normal. But if you do have a melt down at the dinner table and bury your face in the Christmas pudding, (hopefully when its not still on fire), remember its just one day and you can get back on track tomorrow!
Nathan Rawlings is the owner at my PB Fitness
Hi, Lou here, I'll be sharing my thoughts and insights via my blog regularly, so please stay tuned!