6 Tips To Support You Through The Festive Season

The festive season is upon us! Christmas parties, tree decorating and frantic shopping are all well underway. The countdown to the Christmas break is on and what a welcome break it will be!

Whilst we think it is helpful to continue working towards your health and fitness goals in some shape or form, it is also a fantastic opportunity to take a step back, relax, unwind and spend some quality time with family and friends. At Fresh Fitness Food, we are all about finding a balance that works for you.

Here are our top 6 tips to support you through this festive season: 

1. Plan ahead and set boundaries

Have a look at what events you have coming up during the festive period and plan your nutrition and schedule your workouts around them. 

Meal prepping at the start of the week or using a service such as Fresh Fitness Food can undoubtedly help you keep your nutrition on point. It can also save you heaps of time if your schedule is busy. 

Try to also set boundaries with what you attend and try to avoid over-committing. Agreeing to attend every Christmas social will likely be a little too much. It will also mean something else will have to give at some point. 

Beyond nutrition and exercise, prioritise adequate sleep, stress management, and relaxation, so you don’t start to feel overwhelmed and run down.

2. Eat regularly and avoid skipping meals

Try to ensure that you consume satiating and balanced meals throughout the day. Ensure you are consuming a good source of protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates with each meal. Scrambled egg on toast, for example, gives a great balance of protein, fats, and carbs. It also provides a range of essential vitamins. 

On top of this, make sure they are meals you enjoy, so that as well as feeling full or satiated, you also feel satisfied. If you deprive yourself of consuming meals that you find pleasurable to eat, you are more likely to continue to eat even though you are full because you still do not feel satisfied. 

3. Avoid mindless snacking

Try to assess whether you are hungry or whether you are actually looking for an excuse to take a break from what you are currently doing. Take a break from your activity, stretch your legs and if you are still hungry, make yourself a snack. 

If you have chosen to have a snack, then try to do so without distraction. By paying complete attention to the eating experience, you are more likely to be aware of the feeling of fullness and satisfaction. This is the first step towards starting to practice a more mindful approach to eating.

This is worth particular attention at times when you are having a few drinks at the pub. You can often find yourself reaching for things like crisps and other bar snacks. Having a satiating and balanced meal or snack before heading out, can work to combat this sort of action. 

4. Enjoy alcohol in moderation

Alcohol has become an integral part of social gatherings and celebrations in many cultures around the world. This seems even more apparent during the festive season.

When it comes to alcohol, don’t feel pressured to get involved at every social occasion – it’s fine to say no! Not only can the calories from alcohol add up quickly, but they can also make you completely throw the towel in when it comes to your food intake. This can have a knock-on effect on your physical activity and emotions on subsequent days. 

Enjoy a tipple, but try to ensure you have a glass of water for each alcoholic drink. There are plenty of tasty non-alcoholic alternatives to try too! You can read our take on how to make healthier choices when it comes to alcohol here.

5. Try to keep moving

Although you might find your usual training schedule interrupted, try to stay active where you can. Rather than sticking to a strict routine, be a little more flexible. Perhaps try to use it as an opportunity to opt for some different forms of exercise. For example, if you have your Christmas party when you would usually go to a spin class, then try a different class in the morning before you head to work.

If you know you’re visiting family for a few days then make sure these are your rest days so you don’t miss out. Alternatively, rope them in and go for a long winter walk. This will ensure you stay active without sacrificing quality family time.

6. Get enough sleep

A lack of sleep leads to increased Ghrelin (the hormone which signals to us when we are hungry) and reduced Leptin (the appetite hormone that signals to us when we are full). It can also be common to crave carbohydrates and more sugary treats when we lack sleep. 

Alcohol is also pretty disruptive to your sleep quality, as REM (rapid eye movement) sleep is blocked. REM sleep is the most restorative sleep phase, so disruption to this can lead to a sense of grogginess and lack of focus when you wake up.

To combat this, try to get the recommended quantity of between 6-9 hours of sleep per night. Although you may not completely avoid alcohol, try to focus on your sleep hygiene and avoid other stimulants such as caffeine later in the day.

Having a mulled wine (or two) with friends or letting your hair down a little at the Chrismas do, is all part of finding the balance between your usual routine and your social life during the festive period. 

Don’t punish yourself for going ‘off track’ – this sort of language is never helpful. Being able to factor a little bit of everything in during this time is perfectly fine! Just try not to throw the towel in completely. The way we look at it, you aren’t necessarily going ‘off track’, just deviating from your typical schedule a little to make room for other activities!

Fresh Fitness Food provides personalised meal plans delivered straight to your door. We ensure not only that you have the nutrients you need to support your goals, but also that you have the time usually spent shopping, cooking and washing up, to engage in your favourite festive activities. To discuss which nutrition plan is right for you, book a call with our in-house nutrition team here.

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Published by Georgia Chilton

In her teenage years, a love of food and rowing led Georgia into this field as she wanted to know how to optimise performance through nutrition. With a BSc in Nutrition and an MSc in Sports and Exercise Nutrition, she has the skill set to help you track towards your goals and maximise your potential.

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