Sian Toal - Your ONE Stop Guide to Festive Season Survival!

It's only the beginning of November, but for many of you the festive season has already started! When my client told me she had her Christmas party booked on the 25th November, it got me thinking.  It's not difficult to see how many people can put on weight over Christmas, it's lasting over a month for some of us and that’s before you count New Year! The Starbucks Christmas 'red cups' have begun to plague our streets, the giant Quality Street chocolates are cropping up by shop checkouts, mince pies were out in September (be honest if you've eaten them already...!) and every advertiser is telling you to 'indulge this Christmas'.  Well, if it was just the three days, 24th, 25th, 26th, then your collateral damage around your waistline could be managed, but there is usually a work do, a friend's do, a family do, a dinner with a partner and before you know it you're ‘Christ-massed’ out!

A treat 'here and there' over such a long period of time can often be the downfall of staying on track. Let’s look at a very modest week of Christmas spirit. Few treats, say, over seven days. You decided to have a couple of mince pies, say two glasses of wine, two eggnog lattes and ten celebration chocolates over the seven days. Mmm...Yum. Embracing the Christmas spirit, yes? Well your waistline has just embraced an extra 1780 calories over that week, on top of your normal diet.  Over 1 month that's an extra 7120 calories from a little treat 'here and there'.  That is also quite a restrained example, just from talking to new clients this week I know that some people will quite happily have their Eggnog latte every day, Monday to Saturday and embrace limited edition 'red cup' . Six of those at 370 calories a pop will give you a nice 2,220 extra calories to deal with in a week. 8,880 over a month. Wow. Couple that with becoming more inactive and your Christmas dinner alone can be in the figure of 3500 calories.....it's easy to see how things can go wrong.  Have you ever seen a skinny Santa?

I think it's important to remember that Christmas WILL come every year.  There is no fear of the Prime Minister cancelling Christmas one year. There is no threat of it not happening unless you and you alone consume everything in sight to save us from Christmas terror. The world won't run out of chocolate. Or Mince Pies. Or Quality Street.  As always, you have to take responsibility for what you put into your mouth and the outcome on your body.  Enjoy Christmas delights, it's a wonderful time of year with amazing food but you have to be prepared to pay the price if you overindulge.  Consider the fact that many people then don't lose the gained weight, so every year it just gets added on.

A few things to help....

1) Keep hydrated! Thirst is often confused with hunger making you eat when not needed. Helps you digest your food and reduces bloating. Have more when drinking alcohol and alternate alcoholic drinks and water.

2) Stick to your healthy food plan for the majority of the week and plan in your Christmas do. Remember the cheat meal concept...? Fits perfectly.

3) Don’t let yourself get hungry. Keep your whey protein handy at work for snacks; I encourage all clients to have a shake before their party so they don't arrive hungry.

4) Keep exercising! Will keep you motivated, keep your body burning calories, help you stay fit and in condition and make you feel mentally better over the season.

5) Be mindful. Think about the bigger picture. Do you really want the guilt and pressure to get the weight off in the New Year? Don't be a sheep. Be the person who had a great Christmas but still on track and January means improving your training and new goals instead of the same old same old resolution (which you could have prevented in the first place.....)

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