Christmas can be an amazing time of year, spent with family and friends, food, and usually,a lot of it. For many people it is a time to switch off and relax and have some much needed recovery time.
However,this time period can also be stressful and cause some level of anxiety when it comes to food and fitness. With training and nutrition potentially taking a back seat, it can be easy to get in to the‘all or nothing’ mindset. Thinking ‘oh well, I’ve done it now, I will be good again in the New Year’.
If you are in this category and feel like you are having to ‘start again’ or you have ‘ruined all of your hard work’ over the Holiday break, here are a few strategies to help you get back on track.
1. The first thing to do is to simply to move on. Forgive yourself. This might not be the easiest thing to do,especially if you feel like you have ‘ruined’ your progress. But, honestly, if you had some extra food or drinks this festive season is it really the biggest deal? Unless you are a professional athlete or a competitive body builder in your ‘on-season’, does it really matter if you ‘overindulged’? Realistically, the Christmas to New Year period is only a few days and even though you may feel like you have lost all progress, this might not be the case. Let’s assume you ate and drank a bit more than usual for the 7 days between the Christmas and New Year. That is only~1.9% of your whole year. Is it really worth throwing in the towel and giving up now after ‘blowing out’ for under 2%of your entire year? Surely not. Yes, it might take a little bit longer to get back to where you were pre-festivities,but it is not the end of the world.
2. Remove the Xmas leftovers! It can be very tempting to continue on with the ample food from the holidays as it sits in your fridge into the start of the New Year. Especially if it’s decadent Xmas Treats such as processed pastries, chocolates, cakes and puddings. While these foods can definitely be enjoyed as a part of a healthy lifestyle, they can add up quickly in terms of calories so it is not recommended to be having these regularly. Even if you are still tossing up whether to keep those little treats hidden in the corner of the fridge, this is your friendly sign to either give them away or throw them out.I promise you it is easier to just bite the bullet and get rid of the temptation. If it is in your fridge, you will eat it.
3. In saying that, try not to have any ‘guilt’ or restrictions. This is important not just around Christmas, but also throughout the year. The more restrictions we place on our eating behaviours, the more likely we are to‘rebel’ against them. Another way of looking at it, have you ever told yourself you CAN’T have something (i.e. one choc-chip cookie) and then found yourself having MORE than you were initially thinking about having (half of a packet)? By giving yourself the freedom from any food restrictions you are actually helping yourself in the long run.
4. Set some realistic goals around what you actually can do now. Yes, you probably will feel a bit rusty with your first few sessions’ back; that is expected. It is not realistic to be jumping back into the New Year and trying to go to 2 sessions per day for the next 5 days to ‘work off’ any bad food over the break. However, by setting some realistic goals, it will switch you back in to the right mind-set and help you to have some objective measures you can focus on for the next few months. If you were looking for a place to set some realistic goals, I’d recommend the first Fitstop Refine You Challenge of 2019.Included in the challenge is a Body Scan, which gives you some great clinical measures about the composition of your body, which can be a valuable baseline tool to help you create some goals for the New Year.
So, as the Finding Nemo saying goes, ‘Just keep swimming’. Try to get back into your regular routine as soon as you can and in no time you will be back into habits to make you healthier and happier.