Thursday, December 8, 2011

Damage Control (5 hot tips to stay in shape this holiday season).

Party season is here!  With it comes temptation in the form of delicious food, tasty drinks and a barrel load of stress.  This should be a fun time, an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends.  However, Christmas fills many of my clients with fear and dread. 
The question I get asked over and over is - “How can I possibly stay on a diet over Christmas, won’t it ruin all my hard work?”  The answer is, it’s totally possible!  You just have to get organized and stay motivated.  Christmas doesn’t have to be a time of ridiculous over-indulgence.  Neither does it have to be miserable.  I recommend being good (with occasional over-indulgence) in the run up to Christmas.  Enjoy yourself on the actual day and exercise hard the day after. 
Here are my tips to help you through this trying time!
1. Set realistic fitness goals and hold yourself accountable. If you know you are going to be naughty (and you can’t avoid it) increase the number of sessions at the gym. Make a commitment to yourself.  So, if that means going to the gym 4 times per week, do it and stick to it.  If you know you have limited time on certain days, still go to the gym but do a shorter session.  If your goal is to lose weight or maintain your weight and you have limited time, favour weights rather than cardio for fat burning.  Try your best not to miss sessions.  Keep track of your progress by weighing yourself once per week or measuring yourself with a tape measure.  Make yourself wear form fitting clothes.  You’ll want to feel comfortable in them so you’ll be motivated to stick with the diet. 
2. Add movement to your day whenever you can.  For example take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator whenever possible.  Maybe instead of walking your dog you could try jogging with him.  Avoid just sitting in front of the TV for hours watching any old program just for the sake of it.  If your favorite program is on, try doing squats and lunges during commercial breaks (I do that).  Be creative.  Have fun with your body! 
3. Everything in moderation.  Eat a balanced diet.  Have smaller potions.  Eat slowly and properly chew every mouthful.  Make sure you get your ‘5 a day’ (at least). Try to fill up on vegetables as opposed to dessert!  However, when you cheat (and it’s highly likely you will) do it in moderation.  Don’t fall in to the trap of thinking - “Oh well, I’ve blown the diet, I may as well give up now!”  Have a little bit of what you fancy every day.  You just have to limit yourself.  If you don’t have the will power then avoid having ‘naughty’ foods in the house.  You could also try brushing your teeth (no one wants to eat after brushing).  Don’t stress and punish yourself for falling off the wagon.  Just get back on.
4. Control alcohol consumption.  I love wine, whisky, beer and cocktails (not at the same time though) but I know how fattening they are.  Alcoholic drinks are packed with sugar which turns into body fat if you aren’t burning sufficient calories. 
5. Drink water.  A lot of the time people overeat because they are dehydrated.  Water makes you feel full so if you keep yourself hydrated you won’t be so inclined to overeat. 
Good luck with your Christmas fitness goals!  Have a very ‘Merry Christmas’ and if possible avoid the eggnog (it’s packed with calories!).

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