It is inevitable. We WILL consume more food than any other time of year… and we should all damn well enjoy it! There is no one more annoying at Christmas time than the family member that will only eat salad and dust at Christmas lunch because they’re on a “diiiieeettt”. If you’ve busted your arse all year, you’re a fitter and healthier version of you, you deserve to indulge! Even if you haven’t busted your butt and are less healthy than a year ago… you still deserve to enjoy your Christmas lunch just as much as the next person. There really is only one major issue with December feasting… whether you bounce right back afterwards, or set yourself into a spinning spiral of poor health right into the months of Jan… Feb… March. With every waking day the task appearing more and more daunting and less and less motivating. So if this is potentially you, or has been you before… what do you do? Let’s view the holiday period as an obstacle on the pathway to your goals, not a negative obstacle, a big fun gluttonous, slothful, love filled obstacle that we enjoy every year. The Christmas holidays are vital for most people as for many it is one of the only times of the year where you get to completely switch off, which is so incredibly important. But like any obstacle, they are very good at derailing us from achieving whatever it is we want to achieve the most. If we don’t plan for this obstacle, we can easily fall off the wagon. If you have been training with us for however long now than you have already been building up your resilience to this via the habits you have been creating… regular consistent exercise, development of a sustainable diet, increased mental capacity to overcome adversity… The actions you have been taking in the lead up, the healthy habits you have created, all of these tools you are developing are the key to overcoming this beautiful, tasty, relaxing holiday. (I’m sure you have a fair idea of my fondness towards slothing and eating during late December) If you have developed your healthy methods enough, they become your habits. The are you now. Nothing should step in the way. So if you really want to feast hard this Christmas, you should bloody well go for it! Nobody got fat in a few days. Yes you will feel fat. Yes you will feel bloated. Yes your old brain could be totally freaking out that you’ve undone all of your hard work… but no, you haven’t. You are fine. If regular consistent exercise, a good sustainable diet and a strong mind are habits you have built, you’re all good. Yes your first few training sessions may feel sluggish and yes that bloating may take a few days to fade… but who cares? As long as you enjoyed the shit out of your holidays and it provided you with the rest, relaxation and quality family time you needed, than it was probably a very worthwhile trade-off. What if said healthy habits are not me yet and I know I’m the person that will spiral outta control!? Time to be a little accountable. This is what I would do: 1/ In the 3-4 days prior to your big events, back off the amount of food you eat. BUT!! DO NOT STARVE YOURSELF! Yes I would suggest backing off how much food you consume prior in order to allow yourself more room for Christmas lunch, and dinner, and dessert, and leftovers, and all the chocolate from those Cadbury stockings without blowing your calorie bank balance too significantly. But certainly don’t restrict so hard that when feast day arrives you won’t have to experience Newton’s Third Law (every action has an equal and opposite reaction). 2/ Enjoy every different type of food served onto the dinner table, but just have a smaller portion of each food. My grandma’s Christmas dessert table will usually consists of:
- My aunty’s epic chocolate mousse
- Creme brûlée
- Christmas cake
- Melting chocolate fudge cake
- Ice cream
I will want to eat ALL of it, except jelly… not for me. I know I could easily serve myself some pretty decent slices of each one and devour them all. But instead, how about I take a sensible slice of each so I end up with just a couple of servings of dessert rather than six, while still getting the enjoyment of each. 3/ During your feasts, eat slower. Allow yourself time to enjoy your food and the chance to feel full. I know some of you who know they’re the person that will likely go off the rails for months as a result of Christmas are still thinking “Ha! As if Stu! I’m going as hard as a like and I’m probably gonna write myself off on whisky too!” That’s fine. But just remind yourself of what your goal is, what (or who) your biggest values are in your life, what is most important to you and what will effectively get you there. Because if you’re 30kg overweight, under 50 and are likely to end up in hospital in the next 5 years with chronic disease… maybe you should be a little less smug and a little more realistic. You might not have as many Christmases left as you think. You can enjoy the absolute heck out of Christmas. It is an awesome time of year and should be enjoyed to its fullest. I know I will go H.A.M. on food this year, but I also know that I have developed the best possible habits for myself to date. If you haven’t done that, sweet, still enjoy! But just remind yourself of your goal and plan for what you need to do to once the season is over. Remember, food is not the enemy… your lack adherence to what is important in life is.