It always seems to shock people when I tell them; I’ve never been that bothered by Christmas. However, I’ll admit since living with the real life Elf, aka Tom – I now can’t help but get carried away in all it’s commercial glory! Advent calendars, chocolate nuts, selection boxes, mince pies, the list goes on and on – but aren’t we all missing the point?
Feeders be warned
You know who you are. I come from a long line of feeders – they know the fastest way to my heart is through my stomach, hey mother?! All joking aside Christmas IS about giving but it really doesn’t all have to be food related – especially when the only people it’s really benefiting are the supermarkets.
Look at it this way, would you purposely send a child into a turkey coma, top them off with 3/4 of a bottle of wine, then when they’re just about to burst – offer them some profiteroles? I hope your answer is no! But why are we quiet happy to do it to each other then joke about the January diet in the process – it’s almost sadistic. I’m all for enjoying delicious foods, sweet treats and the odd tipple in moderation, just not at the cost of my long-term health.
If you feel the same, here are our top three tips to get you through the holiday season feeling energised;
1. 12-14 hour fasts
Without a doubt one of the worst things we subject our bodies to over Christmas is an overworked (and often undernourished) digestive system. This simple rule in itself will prevent your digestive system from being over worked and turning surplus nutrients into fat – whilst allowing more cellular energy to reach your immune system so you don’t go down with the all too common Christmas sniffles.
In Practise: Firstly set yourself up for success by removing all temptations. If you have to keep nibbles or a selection box in the house ‘for guests’, at least lock it away out of sight. Then make it a personal rule to let your digestive system rest at least 5 out of 7 nights. If you finish dinner at 8pm, don’t consume anything apart from water till at least 8am the next morning – sorry, but this goes for caffeine and alcohol too. Herbal teas are fine though.
2. Create hungry muscles
People traditionally overeat, feel guilty, then hit the gym the next day to try to ‘burn it off.’ Unfortunately the damage is already done and it is much harder to un-do than prevent.
You’ll burn a large percentage more body fat, whilst limiting long-term damage by doing EXACTLY THE SAME WORKOUT BEFORE your large meal than after. Here’s why this works: Your body requires your muscles to hold a certain amount of energy (glucose) to perform daily tasks – the more muscle mass you have, the more glucose you’ll need. When your muscle stores are full, any additional food you eat causes a glucose spill over and the safest thing your body can do in this instance – is to turn it into body fat.
However…….exercising before a big meal, especially; resistance workouts and interval based workouts like HITT, Tabata and sprint training deplete muscle stores. This means you literally have hungry muscles waiting to be fed and the only way you’ll then store fat is if you overeat.
Top tip: Slow down and chew your food! Last one to finish their meal will always digest it the best.
In Practise: Schedule this simple 4 minute workout BEFORE any big meal and you’ll probably me more likely to consume less as well.
In January we always have the odd clients come back to us saying they’ve fallen off the wagon – but often it’s not half as bad as they initially make out. The only way you’re going to know this is for sure is if you track it.
Tracking serves two purposes; 1. It stops speculation, making people less likely to wallow in a ball of self pity and more likely to take empowered action. And 2. It heightens awareness. Even if you don’t show your food diary, measurements or fitness test results to anyone else, the simple act of having to record something turns; sub-conscious habitual actions into conscious ones – that extra second is all it takes.
In Practise: If you really want to succeed; tell someone what you’re going to track. One of our new favourite apps is Meal Logger, it’s a food diary without tracking calories (because that NEVER works long-term.) In Meal Logger you simply add pictures of your food without junking up the memory on your phone and posting it to the big wide world to hold you accountable – click this link to add yourself to the DayOne Community Group where I’m posting my lunch every day throughout December.
Our final tip before we wish you a happy, healthy Christmas is to find a routine. All humans are creatures of habit and from our experience something as simple as not going to work everyday can really throw mental and physical wellbeing off track. Pick 3-5 simple activities that cultivate health, energy or happiness to ensure you start every morning on the right foot. My three activities I complete without fail (and before looking at my phone) are; 1. Pint of water within 5 mins of waking. 2. Some sort of movement to wake me up (like my priming routine) 3. Gratitude – seems silly but thinking of three different things I’m grateful for before I get swept up in the day means I never start my day angry or stressed.
Have a fantastic Christmas and what ever happens remember progress is always more important than perfection!
Pip & The DayOne Wellness Team