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Limit The Christmas Damage
What did you get for Christmas? I don’t know about you but all my family and friends know that I work as a fitness professional and specialise in the areas of advising people on healthy nutrition. However for some reason I still receive loads of sweets, chocolate and booze as presents. However, I’m not going to let this stand in the way of me getting good results in the gym! So how can I limit the damage? Exercise More... Some of you will want to indulge in those naughty treats bought for you over Christmas. If you do, just remember they have very little nutritional value. Providing you continue to get all your essential nutrients from a healthy balanced diet, you can allow yourself the occasional small treat. Just be sure not to over-indulge. To account for the additional calories (often high in sugar and fat) consider getting a few extra sessions at the gym to burn off those extra calories. Prioritise Your Eating... If we were to just look at calories in VS calories out, then it would just be a simple case of balancing out our calories. For example having a cheesecake, handful of sweets or biscuits instead of a regular meal. However it’s not that simple, as the junk foods have very poor nutritional value. They lack the vitamins, minerals, fibre, water and anti-oxidants that our bodies need on a daily basis. So instead, if you are going to eat these unhealthy foods regardless, at least limit the damage. Firstly, save them until after your main meals, so your not as hungry and less likely to over-indulge. Secondly, cut back on the big carbohydrates within your meals. Keep the vegetables and salads (healthy carbs) but reduce, if not avoid other carbs in the form of breads, pastas, rice and potatoes. This will allow you to at least ‘balance’ your calories whilst still getting the essential healthy nutrition you need. That said, if its a choice, your breads, pastas, rice and potatoes are healthier options than the junk foods! Consider Chucking Away or Giving Away... Surprisingly this is a hard concept to grasp. However you need to ask yourself the question; Just how serious are you about getting results? Check out the table to the left, and see how many calories are in some of these popular chocolate bars. For reference, one pound of fat is around 3,500 kcals. If you jog at a reasonably steady pace on a treadmill, you can expect to burn off around 100-150 kcals every 10 minutes. Now, here’s a little task for you. Talley up a rough estimate of ALL the calories from all the sweets and junk foods you had planned to consume over the next few weeks, leading on from Christmas and New Year. Now using that figure, and the above figures, work out how much additional effort is needed to burn off those figures... ...Here is an example of my own (right photo)..  - Milky Bar Buttons (Tube) 546 kcals  - Milky Bar Buttons (Tube) 546 kcals  - Milky Bar Buttons (12 x mini bags) 1,056 kcals  - Milky Bar Buttons (4 x mini bags) 352 kcals  - Milky Bar Santa & Reindeer’s 342 kcals  - Galaxy White Chocolate Gift 148 kcals Total Calories 2.990 kcals This works out as an additional 5-7 hours worth of treadmill work I would need to do to either burn those extra calories off. Personally I would rather give these away, which would be a much more effective and faster way of getting results. Prevention is better than cure. And these figures don’t include a few additional non-white chocolate sweets I received and some booze (additional work needed). Bottom Line... The harsh truth is that all these sweets and booze that have been bought for you, or that have even been bought in for Christmas and New Year and now need using up, WILL HOLD YOU BACK. You can have the occasional little treat. But you’ll really hold back your results if you consume all of these junk foods over the next few weeks. If you have good self discipline, you could even keep them all tucked away out of sight and have them in small doses throughout the year (providing you continue to get good results in the gym). You don’t have to avoid completely, but do try to limit the damage.
ADDED: Sunday 28th December 2014    AUTHOR: Ben Malton