We are almost there! The Christmas holidays are upon us. Schools have broken up and people are starting to take their Christmas leave. Just before you sign off or turn on your out of office – here is one last 2020 blog from me.
I often dish out a Christmas newsletter to my clients, but this year I thought I’d release it publicly in the hope of reaching out to those who are just about ready to throw the towel in and smash a whole tub of Quality Street. Although, going by how this year has gone already, I fear I may be too late for some of you (jokes)!
My blogs usually have a ‘pep talk’ kind of vibe, aiming to help those who are struggling with their nutrition to refocus and get back on track. Don’t worry though: this year, I’m going easy. I know! Those of you who really know me know I can turn on my sergeant major with a flick of a switch. However, this year, so much is different that I’m bringing out my compassion card to softly say – BE KIND TO YOURSELF!
Yes, a little cliché, and some of you might not want to hear it, but I know there a lot more of you this year who will need this and for me, your health, well-being and happiness is always my main priority.
We don’t always need to diet. We don’t need to hit our targets 100% of the time. We don’t always have to get things right. This Christmas, go easy on yourself. Now, before you all run off and put on your PJ’s and start pouring the Baileys, let me make something clear: I am NOT encouraging you to spend 1-2 weeks eating your body weight in food and laying on the sofa all day every day.
In light of this, I have created a list of things I would recommend you consider to supplement the ‘be kind to yourself’ Christmas, whilst keeping things in check ;-).
CHRISTMAS 2020 TOP TIPS:
1. Avoid aiming to be in a calorie deficit over Christmas. Look, you can choose to do this if you want but I strongly recommend you avoid it. Aim for maintenance or really tap into your intuitive/mindful eating patterns. At this time of year it is extremely difficult to remain in a calorie deficit and in my opinion, Christmas, especially this year, should be enjoyed by catching up with family (virtually of course!) and eating really, really good food – not worrying about how many kcals were in your Christmas dinner and whether you have any left over to hit up some Christmas pudding. No, just no!
2. If you’re going out for some food and drinks (depending on what tier you’re in), plan ahead and browse the menu before you go. If you want a 3-course meal, have it, but maybe consider reducing meal sizes or a dropping a snack before the meal so you can manage the food whilst you’re out. It would be a shame to order all the food and not finish it (anyone else hate food waste? Grr). If you want to be more sensible, opt for the veggie sides and/or drop the starter so you can have some dessert or vice versa!
3. Keep a routine as much as you can. I’ve encouraged all my clients to continue with normal routine as much as possible over the holidays. You will be surprised how much a ticked off morning walk can do to your day’s productivity and decision-making ability. By all means, give yourself a few days off to stay in your PJs or dressing gowns but to keep yourself happy and healthy, it’s good to know you’re being productive in your day. Get jobs done first thing in the morning – get them out the way and look forward to spending the rest of the days however you want i.e., with family and enjoying the festivities.
4. Keep an eye on portion sizes. There are so many delicious foods about at Christmas it’s difficult to work your way through them. Take your time with them, is my best advice. Most Christmas foods have a good life span, which means they DO NOT need to be consumed as soon as they’re brought into the house! If you are preparing food to take through to a TV room or a dining table, prepare the food plates in the kitchen and take only what you want to consume. Prioritise the fruits, vegetables and any lean protein foods but to make sure you keep some room for a mince pie ;-). A gentle reminder that there are plenty of feeding opportunities in a day. Spread out the food and enjoy each meal.
5. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Just because it is Christmas, it does not mean you should let your water intake drop and replace with sherry, port or Baileys! Consume water regularly throughout the day. Fill up some water bottles and scatter them in rooms you spend the most time in. Make them easily available to you. Take water bottles with you when you go out for a walk and sip water before, during and after you’ve eaten.
6. Don't eat if you’re not hungry. I like this one. Lots of food will be available and on show no doubt – so leave the kitchen! Unless you are allowing the snacks to be consumed during the meals, don’t tease yourself if you don’t want to consume them. Christmas food might leave you feeling fuller and sluggish. If you wake from a nap and you’re not hungry, avoid eating more just for the sake of it. Wait until you are hungry again. Listen to your body.
7. Shop smart. This one directly links to number 4. Buy the yummy food but only the ones that you want and you know you’ll really enjoy. This is particularly important this year as many of us won’t be having people over for Christmas or having big family gatherings. This means you won’t need anywhere near as much food. Buy smaller portions of what you want/need. If you don't need it or really want it, don't put it into your basket/trolley.
8. Meals/foods should remain the same as all year through. Eat good, quality foods. Support your local greengrocers and butchers and your independent stores if you can. You’ll find some really great quality produce in your local independent stores. Depending on what you have on your table at Christmas time, you could find yourself with some high-quality protein and an endless amount of steamed/roasted vegetables. Happy days. If you do want to be careful, prioritise these first and then see how much you want of the other foods. If not (like me :-P) go for it and enjoy!
9. SLEEP ...ARH, PRECIOUS SLEEP! I know you’re a great sleeper but get those extra ZZZs in when you can. Being well rested can help you stay positive and committed over the festive period.
10. Stay active! Please, please, please stay active. You don’t have to be out trying to hit any PB’s or KOM/QOM’s. Just keep moving. Go for walks, daily, twice daily! It is so beautiful outside at the moment but remember to wrap up. Get in your movement in the AM and tick it off. Meet up with friends virtually and enjoy a Christmas cycle/run/row or weight session together. Enjoy your body moving and celebrate what it can do and then spend the rest of the day enjoying your yummy food.
Last but not least…
11. DON'T TAKE THINGS TOO SERIOUSLY! I have highlighted some things you can do to help keep you focused over Christmas, but as I stated earlier, take them or leave them. Be happy this Christmas, make others smile, tell people around you love them and ask if people are ok. Share jokes, play games and do it all over some good quality food and drink. There is plenty of time to get your game face back on in 2021.
A huge well done to you all for fighting so hard this year to create light in some very dark places. Thank you to all the key workers reading this for your unconditional and continued help and support this year – you are all living heroes!
Thank you to all of you reading this for supporting me this year and for engaging with me and my content. 2020 has been a very busy year with some large speed bumps so here’s to a simpler 2021. I will soon be announcing some new services that I will be offering to past, present and future athletes/clients. Hopefully this will allow me to engage with more of you and to continue supporting you, however you need it!
From myself, Claire and Robyn, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.