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Top 10 Christmas Diet Tips
With Christmas literally next week and many of you soon taking time out for the festive period this is that time of year where everyone lets their training and diet go, and many of you will undo much of the hard work you've achieved over the last few months. I'm not going to be Scrooge and say you can't enjoy yourself, and have the occasional treat, but let's at least limit some of the damage with these Top 10 Christmas Tips... Don’t Stop Exercising... Many people stop exercising over Christmas and New Year with a goal of starting again in January. However why hold back your training, possibly going backwards in results, when you can maintain your strength and fitness, then progress further in January rather trying harder to get back to where you were. Most of us also over indulge with more food and drink than usual over the festive period, so there's even more reason to carry on exercising so you can burn off the extra calories you consume. Fit an Extra Gym Session In... Leading on from the last tip, I mentioned that many people over indulge with food and drink over the festive period, often with high calorie high sugar options (sweets, deserts and alcohol amongst others). Why not give yourself a helping hand burning off all those additional calories by fitting in an extra workout. Be Aware of Buffet Foods... Whether its your works Christmas do, a party with friends, or your accustomed to buffet style meals over Christmas, be aware that most of these foods are high in both sugars and fats, and what we would often consider 'junk convenience foods'. You can limit the damage by sticking to foods which are as close to their original form as possible, ideally natural whole foods. In other words any foods which are not packaged or processed in any shape or form. Stick to meats, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, vegetables, salads and fruits. Avoid or Reduce Alcohol... If you are going to drink alcohol over the festive period, consider drinking non-alcoholic beverages to limit the damage (also a sensible option when driving). Alcohol contains 'empty calories' which have no nutritional value, and will only be stored as fat. Alcohol is also a toxin to the body, so will require your liver to filter out and detoxify your body rather than metabolise your body fat stores. Don’t Skip Meals... Christmas meals can often be some of the biggest meals of the year. We all look forward to them, and often skip breakfast so we can eat as much as we can when it comes to lunch time. However this is not the way to go. Skipping breakfast slows down your metabolism, making it harder to burn off all the calories you consume at lunch. Also, by feeling exceptionally hungry at lunch time meals you will massively over-consume too many calories. Most people will not have a demand for those calories there and then, so most of those calories will get stored as fat. Skip Starters / Appetizers... A typical Christmas meal usually consists of appetisers before the meal, followed by a starter, main course (often with second helpings) and then dessert. The main meal alone is usually far more calories than your standard main meal. So be sure to avoid eating any pre-meal appetizers, just for the sake of it. Consider skipping the starter and dessert courses, and just having the main meal, or at the very least, miss out one, or ask for reduced portion sizes. Fill up on the Healthy Paleo Options first... When eating your Christmas meal, fill up on the meats and vegetables first. These are the more nutritious foods that will better be utilised by your body, and limit how much sauce you have with your meal. Christmas meals can have as many as 3 different types of potatoes (mash, roast and new potatoes). The calories from these starchy carbohydrates are unlikely to be utilised, and ill only be stored as body fat. If you are going to 'eat till your fill' then load your plate up with the meats and vegetables each time, rather than potatoes. Drink Plenty of Water Every function of the relies on water to function properly. Your metabolism and ability to burn body fat relies on your body been well hydrated. You should be drinking a good 6-8 glasses of water throughout the day anyway, however make that extra effort over the festive period. You'll also find that sipping water regularly throughout the day will help maintain energy levels and control your hunger levels. Avoid Chocolate & Junk Food Snacks Although tempting, Christmas is usually a time where there are always unhealthy snacking options available on hand to pick at, including biscuits, cheese selections with biscuits, crisps, boxes of chocolates (celebrations, quality street, etc) and so on. Don't be tempted with these just for the sake of it. They are loaded with sugars and fats which you will only store as body fat and have to work extra hard to burn off. Also avoid fizzy drinks (including diet sodas), fruit juices and alcoholic beverage. Limit The Calories.... For many of us its going to be hard with avoiding many of these unhealthy foods and snacks. As a general goal, try to reduce your overall calorie consumption by eating and drinking less. This will at least reduce some of the damage and prevent you putting on too much (if any) unwanted weight/body fat. As mentioned earlier, try to limit your calories to whole natural foods, while trying to avoid those foods and drinks that are packaged or processed.
ADDED: Friday 19th December 2014    AUTHOR: Ben Malton