It’s that time of year again where all of the healthy-living rule books go flying out of the window and we trade in our nutritious and varied diets for daily prosecco and vol-au-vents – only to give it all up on January 1st and embark upon a strict diet to get back to our pre-festive-season selves.
At Peak Performance, we’re passionate about living a balanced lifestyle and while we’re definitely up for treating ourselves every now and then, we’re big believers in ditching the new year diet and jumping on the health bandwagon now, in December. Don’t forget as well, a healthy diet is part of the bigger picture of having a pain free and mobile body, so pay attention even if you are happy with the way you look!
It may sound crazy, or even downright impossible in some instances, but if you can get yourself into healthy habits now and make conscious decisions about your diet at the Christmas party, there won’t be as much to shift in the new year. In fact, you’re less likely to embark on a crazy crash diet because you will already be four weeks into your healthy lifestyle; a new and improved you, if you will.
If you’re reading this and thinking that it’s just not possible to eat healthily in December, read on and we’ll show you how.
Planning ahead is really the best thing to do if you’re going to be taking a different approach to your diet and exercise this year. At the beginning of each week, sit down and plan your week ahead; are you travelling for work? If so, prep food that will be easy to take with you. Do you have multiple Christmas parties? Plan to get up early in the morning to fit your workout in – let’s face it, you certainly won’t be working out the morning after.
Organisation is the key to success for staying on track with healthy living during the most gluttonous month of the year.
If you’re an avid gym-goer and have a routine for particular workouts or meals on certain days, stick to this in December. Just because everyone else’s diets are going out of the window, it doesn’t mean that you have throw caution to the wind with yours too. Keep consistent with your current schedule and you’ll soon see that it’s easier to fit it around your social commitments than you may think.
If you really struggle to remain consistent, try to continue with other healthy habits that you have on the go. Perhaps you meditate for ten minutes a day, or you have a healthy ginger shot to kick-start your morning; whatever it is, stick to it. Not only will these healthy habits keep your body and mind healthy, you’ll also be warding off the dreaded December flu, so you’ll be fighting fit in more ways than one!
Keep Your Body Moving
There are so many ways to get your body moving, even if you’re really busy with work deadlines, social commitments and family gatherings. The festive season is a key time to get the family together and head out for a walk; it’s the perfect post-Christmas-dinner activity to get the blood pumping and help trim off the turkey. Make it your mission to go for a walk every couple of days, it’ll not only get you out of the house and help shake the hangover, but walks are also a really effective way of burning fat.
Starting January on a sad salad is going to be nothing short of painful if you gorged your way through December. If this is you, you may find that you struggle even more with your new year diet. That’s because your body has quickly learned to expect a certain amount of food and so if it’s gone from getting three-course meals and a second helping of dessert every day to being given only a meagre portion of lettuce, it will quickly go into starvation mode. This means anything you do feed it will be stored as fat for fear that it’s not receiving the right nutrients.
Avoid this pitfall altogether by keeping an eye on the portions you have all the time. Yes, by all means enjoy dessert, and if a few extra pigs in blankets fall on to your plate, we won’t tell anyone. But it is in your best interest not to make this a daily occurrence by brushing it off and saying “It’s Christmas!”
Consider how much you’re eating at mealtimes, and if you struggle to stay away from the buffet table, perhaps eat a small, healthy snack before you head to a Christmas party. That way, you won’t be hungry when you arrive and you’ll be far more likely to say no to certain foods.
Manage Your Stress
The holiday season is a stressful time, but don’t let this be an excuse to ruin the healthy habits you’ve got yourself into throughout the year.
Instead, focus on reducing your stress. This could be as simple as taking half an hour to yourself each day – having a bath, hitting the gym, meditating or whatever else you enjoy doing as a method of relaxation.
It’s still important for you to enjoy Christmas and so if you’re getting caught up in gift buying and rushing around trying to fit everything in, take some deep breaths. You need to ensure you spend time making memories, not worrying about the horrible diet you’re going to start in the New Year, and how many dreaded resolutions you’re going to break because you’ve set yourself up to fail.
Above all, it’s important to be accountable for your own actions and the way you treat your body. By holding yourself to account, you are more likely to stick to your goals, push yourself to get to the gym and organise your time to fit everything you want in to your day. Because, after all, if you really want something, you will work for it.