Have yourself a merry Fitmas
Fruit minced pies, warm spiced drinks and mulled wine – the festive season is well and truly here. A time of year where shops are glistening with tempting delights designed to fill us with Christmas cheer. But for anyone who’s spent most of year trimming down from last Christmas (and the holidays in between), it can be complete and utter hell.
Every hamper, dinner party and office bash can come loaded with its own guilt-ridden ‘naughty or nice’ battle. But there’s a way to break the cycle and enjoy the festive cheer without feeling like you’ve made Santa’s naughty list (again).
These are a few common questions we get asked by our clients this time of year, and our take on how to avoid the trappings without sacrificing the trimmings of the festive season.
How do I stay on track?
Unless you want to lock yourself away for two months, you can’t pretend Christmas doesn’t exist. You just need to find a way to navigate it by making the best food choices you can. Which, for most people, means allowing yourself a little of what you enjoy. A couple of mince pies, for instance, isn’t going to blow your entire health and fitness regime. Just keep things in perspective rather than freaking out.
But if you’re the sort of person who can’t stop at ‘a little’…then don’t start in the first place. It might not be easy, but it’s not all that bad either – literally. There are loads of Christmas treats that aren’t that bad on the naughty scale. Gingerbread cookies, seasonal fruit and veg, bread sticks and homemade low-fat dips – not to mention the range of vegan, gluten-free and health treats widely available. Just be sure to check sugar, salt and fat content to make sure you don’t fall into that notorious ‘healthy’ food labelling trap.
How can feel like I’m not missing out?
Change your mindset. Sounds extreme, but it’s easier than you think. Instead of thinking of unhealthy foods as ‘treats’ or ‘guilty pleasures’, switch to ‘always foods’ and ‘sometimes foods’. That way, food doesn’t come loaded with a stack of unhealthy emotional baggage.
Knowing a bit of fudge is something you can enjoy ‘sometimes’ is a lot easier to swallow than believing you should feel ‘guilty’ – which will only ever leave a bad taste in your mouth.
What’s more, it’s not only a way of thinking that’s useful for this time of year – it’s part of a healthy attitude to food choices all year round.
Should I change my regime?
There’s no reason why you can’t stick to your usual health and fitness regime during the festive season. It’s just about keeping things in perspective. Christmas parties, markets and getaways aren’t a red flag for letting loose one day then hitting the gym like a maniac the next. The season is just two months of festive cheer, which you can easily soak up without a huge amount of extra calories, fat or sugar.
As mentioned, a few festive treats here and there won’t spell the end of your healthy lifestyle. It’s about being consistent with the things you know are always good for you, staying active, and allowing yourself to enjoy less healthy things ‘sometimes’.
Go ahead and revel in the festive season without sweating the small stuff. Stick to your fitness plan and make the choices you know are good for you – and you’ll discover you’re still the same fit and healthy you long after the tinsel has been packed away.
Owner and Personal Trainer