The Christmas period is notoriously the hardest season to stay on track with both your nutrition and training. With a schedule jam packed full of festive parties, we are all presented with the constant temptation of sweet treats and alcoholic beverages.

It’s easy to forget during this time how hard you’ve worked to achieve your goals and how difficult it is to get yourself back on track in the New Year. So, here are some top tips from FFF to help you avoid the pitfalls of Christmas in 2015!
First of all – don’t set yourself unrealistic goals which you won’t stick to. We all need a little downtime to relax and indulge, but there are ways of controlling your temptations so that you can stay on track with your progress at the same time, and it doesn’t mean you have to be ‘boring’ and ‘antisocial’.
At FFF we are all about the planning stage, so if you are attending Christmas drinks where you know there will be temptations at every corner – plan ahead!
Christmas canapes are often processed and nutritionally redundant. If you make sure you eat before a party, you are certain to avoid snacking on what’s available, and ensure you are only eating when you are hungry, rather than just because ‘it’s there’.
It’s easy to ignore calories when they are in liquid form. Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram, and these are empty calories devoid of any nutritional benefits. Alcohol also stimulates hunger which can lead to overeating, and unexpected weight gain.
People have a habit of skipping meals in order to make up for the calories consumed when drinking. However, this deprives the body of nutrients when it needs it the most. Rather than avoiding food, the body needs to be re-fuelled with nutrient dense food in order to detox the system from the night before!
By ensuring you have a nutritious, protein based breakfast the following day, you put yourself immediately back on track.
Although people have a tendency to blame their Christmas lunch for the majority of weight gained over Christmas, we can’t ignore the nutritional benefits of all the seasonal ingredients packed into this one meal.
Turkey is both low in fat and packed full of vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, potassium and phosphorus; and vitamin B6 and niacin, which are essential for the body’s production of energy.
Brussel sprouts are surprisingly high in protein for a cruciferous vegetable and contain large amount of vitamin C and vitamin K. They also have cholesterol lowering properties.
Carrots contain carotenoids which act as antioxidants to reduce the effects of free radicals. They are also packed full of fibre which supports digestive tract health and have been associated with lower risk of colon cancer.
Cranberries are very high in antioxidant content. They also contain polyphenols which are said to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by preventing platelet build up and lowering blood pressure via anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
In order to ensure it’s a Christmas meal at its healthiest, make sure not to use excessive oil and salt when cooking, load your plate with vegetables first and be sure to monitor your portion sizes.
As well as keeping up with your nutrition, it is equally as important to stay active, though you might find your usual training schedule interrupted. Rather than sticking to a strict routine, go for a long wintery walk with your family, to ensure you stay active without sacrificing quality family time.
Finally – despite the hectic social schedule, be sure to get enough sleep! Sleep duration is directly associated with leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells, which signals satiety to the brain and reduces appetite. Restricted sleep decreases the production of leptin, leading to an increase in appetite despite no change in routine when awake. Research has shown those who get between 6-8 hours of sleep a night are more likely to see results in terms of weight loss and muscle gain.

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