Christmas is a festive period that everyone looks forward to.
After a long year of work, most people plan to celebrate the holiday period to revitalize themselves ahead of the new year.
People celebrate their Christmas period differently. While some choose to catch up on rest, others love to party hard and network.
No matter which side of the tree you fall on, one thing remains paramount: your health.
The festive period isn’t an excuse to lose control of the good health habits you’ve been building throughout the year.
Think of a fitness journey as building a house – once you stop laying the bricks, the building stops.
It is a gradual process that needs consistency before reaching your final destination.
Most people often tell themselves they will get back on course during January.
The issue is a possible loss of momentum and then the temptation to get comfortable.
We understand that the festive period is packed with food, festivals, parties, alcohol, etc.
However, here are five tips you can keep in mind to help you stay in shape during the festive period.
Be conscious about what you eat
It may sound pretty straightforward.
But it isn’t. The truth is during the events you attend during the festive period, and you end up eating what everyone else is eating.
Before you realize your aunt from years back is encouraging you to take one more chicken, drink one more cup of sobolo – all in the name of helping you gain weight.
It becomes increasingly difficult to track what you’re consuming because it isn’t food you made or bought per se.
The aim is to remain in control.
You need to understand that plenty of good food isn’t only available during the festive period.
Otherwise, you start to eat beyond your limits because your body sees this as a rare opportunity.
Instead, switch your perspective and see Christmas meals as any other meal during the year.
After all, it is the same number of calories you needed a day in January that you’ll also need in December, so there is no need to store the excess.
There are some healthy practical steps to prevent overeating during the festive period.
Disrupt your appetite, especially before events or parties with large amounts of food.
You’re at your most vulnerable when you’re hungry. Especially when you’re starving at a place with many food options, you can easily lose control and give in to satisfy your hunger.
To solve this, you cut down on the root cause, which is hunger.
Make sure to eat a snack at most an hour before the party.
Research shows that fiber-based snacks such as nutrition bars, nuts, etc., help you feel full quickly while providing numerous benefits to the body by lowering cholesterol, controlling blood sugar, and normalizing bowel movements.
When you aren’t so hungry at parties, you tend to go for food you want instead of eating just anything.
It also helps to portion your plates during parties, diving into the various food types.
Fill half of the plate with salad components, the other quarter with carbohydrates, and the other with protein.
According to a study, aesthetics have a psychological benefit as the small portions help you eat less.
So you end up eating enough instead of stuffing yourself.
Increase your water intake
The festive period is when you need to increase how much water you consume each day.
In the first place, drinking enough leaves you satisfied, giving you more control over how much you eat.
Water is a healthy way to fill up your stomach before parties to ensure you consume less food.
The daily recommendation for water is about 6 liters of water.
Failing to drink water often leads to a domino effect which leads you to make poor health choices.
Without adequate water, you feel empty and hungry and could eat unhealthy snacks.
When you don’t drink enough water, you feel dehydrated and sluggish, leading to missing your workout sessions.
Also, failing to drink plenty of water during the day leaves you tired, making people resort to depending on caffeine and energy drinks that aren’t very healthy.
During the festive period, there are a lot of alcoholic drinks available.
The key is to discipline and set limits so you don’t be tempted.
Alcohol could leave you dehydrated so make sure to be alternating its water.
Moreover, if you would love to consume some alcohol, ensure it is earlier in the night because research shows late consumption disrupts your sleep pattern in the long run.
Don’t forget about sleep
As you party hard, remember also to sleep.
The main objective of the holiday period is to ensure you are feeling refreshed ahead of the new year.
Don’t get too drowned in the fun aspect and compromise on rest.
Research shows when you have at least eight hours of sleep a day, your physical outlook, mood and health improve.
Despite the numerous disruptions during the holidays, maintain a consistent sleep schedule where you sleep and wake up around the same time each day.
This allows you to enjoy the full health benefits of adequate rest.
You don’t want to resume work during New Year looking stressed and grumpy.
No matter the fun, work, or adventure you have, be sure to factor in sleep because it is very important to your health.
Don’t be tempted to take naps during the day and party at night, as that can ruin your sleep pattern.
It is healthy to be active during the day, so you sleep.
Studies show that a well-rested person is way more productive than a sleep-deprived person.
So if you want to make the most out of your day and get more work done, ensure you get sufficient rest at night.
You can stay fit outside the gym
Most gyms usually take breaks during the festive periods, but it doesn’t mean you
also have to pause with your workout.
There are 1001 excuses not to exercise during holidays, from traveling to the unavailability of gyms.
However, you need to get creative because a condensed workout is better than doing nothing.
The treadmill at the gym maybe hundreds of kilometers away from you, but it doesn’t matter because the goal is to remain active.
You can focus on stretches and cardio exercises to condition your body to stay in shape.
No matter how short or small, try your best to get physical each and every other day. You can try your hands on burpees, situps, pushups, planks, so you continue to own your fitness.
Don’t wait till January
It sounds a bit cliché but makes sure not to procrastinate.
Even when you procrastinate, make sure to right your wrongs immediately.
It is the holiday season, and you’ll miss out on some planned workouts.
You will overeat at some events and sleep less than you wanted to.
The key is not to accept the slip-ups and make them a part of you.
If you fail to control your food consumption at a party on Friday, try your best to have more control in the next event.
You can explore accountability partners if you feel you are dropping off from your holiday health plans rapidly.
You can discuss with close family or friends who can make sure to help you get some stuff of your fitness to-do list.
The longer you fall off your fitness plan during the holidays, the harder you will have to work in the year.
So have a balance, enjoy yourself, and keep your health in mind during the festive period.
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Hall, Kevin D, and Scott Kahan. “Maintenance of Lost Weight and Long-Term Management of Obesity.” The Medical clinics of North America vol. 102,1 (2018): 183-197. doi:10.1016/j.mcna.2017.08.012
Popkin, Barry M et al. “Water, hydration, and health.” Nutrition reviews vol. 68,8 (2010): 439-58. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x
Worley, Susan L. “The Extraordinary Importance of Sleep: The Detrimental Effects of Inadequate Sleep on Health and Public Safety Drive an Explosion of Sleep Research.” P & T: a peer-reviewed journal for formulary management vol. 43,12 (2018): 758-763.