December is not another word for Descending. All too often we descend into the unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle of a reckless partygoer finishing off the month with the wildest party of the year only to wake up looking worse than an extra on the set of The Walking Dead.
It’d be rude to shun the Christmas parties though.. Honestly, it would be.
So how do we avoid unraveling 2016’s hard work and dedication because baby Jesus was born over 2000 years ago and has been causing hangovers ever since?
Let’s start with routine.
Stick to whatever exercise or movement routine you have right now. If you don’t think it’s quite where it should be (and we recommend moving every day) then I’ve got some news for you; You will have a higher body fat percentage and an unhealthier body by Christmas Day!
Yay, what a present to yourself.
Why? Because if you have a few little Christmas parties and dinners coming up, where you will most likely consume a few little extra delicious points (calories) than you normally would, then you will need to have some kind of approach to balancing things out. (I.e exercise.)
Having said that.. We can be smart with the delicious points we consume without being ‘that person’ at the dinner party who asks “Are these potatoes low carb?” across the dinner table.
A low-carbohydrate approach to Christmas parties is the best way we have found to curb the appetite, avoid fat storage and even feel better.
How do we do that?
Fill up your plate with mainly meats, salads and other sides that DON’T include the following; potatoes, bread, pasta, couscous, rice or anything processed like crackers or jams.
TIP: Pumpkin is actually quite low in carbohydrates so go nuts on the butternuts.
You’ll find you actually fill up just fine on everything else and I’m not saying don’t eat any of them at all (because sometimes you can’t avoid it, damn delicious spaghetti bolognese) but simply don’t put as much on your plate as you normally would.
It will help to plan ahead as well, if you know you are about to head into a weekend consisting of two Christmas parties, one headache and a painful Sunday.. Then eat bloody-darn well Monday to Friday, the morning of said parties and start nourishing your body as well as possible come Sunday.
One or two meals are not going to make you obese. But repeatedly doing so will lead to all sorts of issues let alone rapid fat storage.
TIP: Smaller plates or coloured plates will help you avoid overeating.
Sounding a little intense?
It doesn’t have to be.. Maybe with little foresight you could only drink or even eat at one of those parties because the last time you got rowdy with your work mates wasn’t that long ago or perhaps your love for feeling and looking good outweighs how much you want to drink copious amounts of alcohol and linger by the food table longer than the food itself.
Assess your parties; how much do they really mean to you, could you actually eat your own food before or after the event, is sinking 5 shots in 5 minutes with Barry who works across the hallway really worth feeling like Barry will on Sunday?
Personally, I like to surf on Sundays – if I go harder than Barry and drink him under the table PLUS eat crap for 3 hours..I will not be able to surf and that makes me very sad. Not worth it.
TIP: Drink more water. You should atleast have a full glass of water to every drink, at least!
So that covers exercise, food and planning..
On the other side of the story we have ‘recovery’.
December for some people can be 4 weeks of go go go, deadlines and highly stressful situations.
(please watch this video; Company Is Coming – it’s so over the top but so true!)
If you find yourself running around like a headless chook, then STOP, breathe in for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds and hold that for 5 seconds. In fact, try it now..
Inhale for 5 seconds.. Hold for 5 seconds.. Exhale for 5 seconds.. Hold exhale for 5 seconds..
Repeat as many times as you like, count your heartbeat instead of seconds for an extra zen affect. You will become present, relaxed yet even more energised.
Another way to chill is to get enough sleep.
If you build up enough of a sleep debt, it will catch up with you.. Slowly but surely you will feel it and sometimes you won’t even realise or think to blame it on lack of sleep.
Eg: you’re stressed, work is being a b**ch and you have to prepare for a Christmas party and buy 5 more presents and wrap them and buy groceries and a bunch of other stuff. All it takes to tip you over the edge into blowing up or come crashing down will be the littlest things like not closing a door completely, leaving your car keys somewhere funny or a weird comment from a colleague.
Is that how you want to spend the merriest month of the year?
No – chill out, breathe and sleep well my friends.
At the end of the day, you want to enjoy yourself and the company of others. Consume what you like, just be mindful of what matters most to you. I know I will be getting merry on Christmas day and eating lots of amazing food surrounded by family because I don’t get to see them as often as I would like.. But I am water skiing 😉 so cheers to #balance.
So that’s about it. A lot to take in but well worth the small amount of effort it will take to implement. Take notes and share this with family and friends so they are on the same page (helps in a BIG way, makes things much easier when your brother or sister is daring you to eat a whole Christmas pudding)
Be more like the reindeer and less like Santa. Move more than you don’t, eat the occasional milk and cookies but mainly stick to what you know to be healthy and get plenty of rest.
Merry Christmas and have a healthy New Year.
Tristan M. Forbes