I understand that this time of year is busy, stressful and you may not want to work out. I am not suggesting you HAVE to, but doing a little and looking after ourselves over the next week can have an impact on how we feel.
This is not a blog telling you off, or being bossy. It is a blog about looking at some alternatives and ways in which you can help you with your current goals and even kick-start some new year’s resolutions.
- Move. This does not mean you have to go for a 5k run, it simply means ‘move’. If you want to go for a 5k run then do, set yourself a target of km/miles to run between Christmas and new year based on your fitness level. Our friends, Kev and Claire run a virtual event called Run Up to Christmas: why not extend your goal the following week? If you are not a runner, fine, go for a walk, a swim, a bike ride with your family or perform a resistance training session. Anything that gets you off the sofa and moving!
Getting up and moving helps in many ways. Sitting still for long periods lowers our metabolism, reduces the level of good cholesterol in our blood and reduces the number of enzymes that help to break down fat. By moving we waken our metabolic state, increasing the good cholesterol, keeping the fat burning enzymes switched on, better insulin response and levels when we eat.
- Eat. This time of year, is difficult to stay on a healthy eating plan. However, you can make a few simple changes and alterations to help you keep on track. Instead of having 3-4 days of Christmas food, follow similar rules to a training plan.
Allow yourself to relax on Christmas Day – eat what you like (within reason!) Try not to worry too much about what you’re taking in, and enjoy the day and being with your family and friends. Try and go back to normal if you can on Boxing Day: make alterations to some foods, making healthier choices – for instance, have a mince pie but without the cream. On the 27th, eat as you would the rest of the year – perhaps no mince pies! Fill up on vegetables and try to avoid alcohol today. You could cycle this pattern throughout the seven days, meaning that you get treats but don’t go overboard!
You can also look at alternatives and swaps, I always come back to these info-graphics released by Guru Performance several years ago.
- Drink. Tempting as it can be at Christmas, not just alcohol! Stay hydrated with water where possible. Water is important for the body as it helps provide us energy, regulates your body temperature, transport system carrying nutrients and oxygen to muscle cells. Before you reach for the port, set yourself a target of water to drink 1 lite/1.5 litre before you do. Other options are to have a pint of water between each alcoholic drink. Alternative drink options are again provided by Guru Performance, who a few years ago released this info-graphic relating to drink swaps at this time of year. Be careful when you decide not to have alcohol, you may be surprised by the sugar content of alternative options which are alcohol free, and this is why we always recommend water as it has no hidden calories/sugar.
Whatever you do this Christmas, have fun and enjoy it. The tips above are just that, if you have a week ‘off’ don’t worry about it. Just be ready a refreshed to start the following week.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Body Happy team