(it doesn't involve egg not lattes, unfortunately)
Festive season is upon us! It's still not technically December just yet, but, the Christmas lights are all on, decorations are going up, and we’ve probably all got our office Christmas party outfits sorted - or at least whittled it down to around 5 potentials waiting to hit buy in our ASOS saved lists. Apart from trying not to spend your Christmas present budget entirely on yourself - (guilty! Sorry mum dad and boyfriend) - one of the hardest things about the festive season is trying to stay healthy. With all of the parties, free alcohol, alcohol in general, and then canapés, who can really resist? I know I struggle. And with a 10 day trip to Thailand booked 3 days after Christmas, I can’t really afford to be getting too merry and eating all of the (mince) pies. Who’s going to like my Instagram picture of me looking cute wrapped in a towel on the beach when the reality is I look like a pig in a blanket? My mum. That's all. And that's only because she's likes every thing that I post.
The main thing to keep in mind is that trying to be healthier doesn't mean you have to press pause on having fun. Memories that are alcohol and food induced are worth so much more than the couple of lbs you may put on whilst creating them! This is the month for enjoying yourself, letting yourself go (a little), but it'll be a lot easier to get back on track in January (#newyearnewme) if you stay on track during December. Keeping things healthy now will make you feel less guilty about indulging too much, and then make it a lot easier for yourself to make a push in the new year.
1. Figure out your indulgent dates in advance so you can plan around it
Planning is important. Know when you’re going to be getting merry and try stick to those dates. I have 4.5 dates in my diary where I know I will definitely be eating naughty food and drinking a little too much (yep, precise)
1. A dinner with my best blogging girls Allie and Sarah
2. Office Christmas lunch
3. The office Christmas party
3.5 the day after the office Christmas party - bacon sandwich will be needed.
4. Christmas Day
Now I have these big indulgent days pencilled in, I can plan to do a really big workout. That way I will have earned at least some of the naughty food and drink, guilt-free.
On the days where you aren’t indulging, eat as healthily as you possibly can.
2. Stop Feeling Guilty- ditch the fuck it effect
Feeling guilty about eating certain things often leads to more unhealthy eating. It’s the “fuck it” effect, if you will. So you eat all of the chocolate in your advent calendar by 3rd December. Don’t think fuck it and go and eat your sisters and then 10 mince pies. Abandon the guilt and let yourself enjoy the indulgence guilt-free, then get back to your normal routine around it.
3. Stop thinking December is a free pass
What happens in December stays in December, right? Wrong. What happens in December - i.e. eating all of the chocolates, sweets, cake, roast potatoes, and drinking a gallon of gravy - goes with you into the new year in the form of a few extra lbs. The biggest mistake people make is seeing December as a get out of jail free card for eating and drinking whatever, because well, December… and you’ll start a gym membership next year because new year new you. Stop the excuses, cut the crap, and let yourself indulge only when you really need to.
4. Do you want it because you like it or because you think you should have it?
Mince Pies! Chocolate coins! Christmas Pudding! Pigs in Blankets! Stuffing! But are you eating these because you really like them, or because they are just Christmas foods you don’t usually eat? Do you really want a gingerbread latte smothered in cream from Starbucks because it's a special one-time-of-year thing, or just a normal one? Work it out.
which leads me to...
5. Pick and choose a few things to indulge in
Rather than indulging in every naughty treat on the table, choose your two favourites to treat yourself too. They will feel more special that way. Eat what you love, leave what you like.
6. Try limit your alcohol intake
I’m not saying skip the free bar or say no to every glass of mulled wine, but unless you have something special planned, it’s best to avoid it as much as you can. When you drink alcohol, your body starts to burn that off before you burn off any food at all. Any food that you eat after or whilst you drink will more than likely be stored as fat - unless you really dance hard on the D-floor. Work out when you’re major festive parties and meet-ups are planned and allow yourself to drink then, but skip that casual glass of red by the fire on your evenings in.
7. When you drink, head for a G&T and slimline tonic
If you must, take a less calorific option! A big hefty squeeze of lime will make this better. Or cucumber.
8. Balance foods out with more vegetables
An easy one to begin with. When piling up your roast dinners, stick to a more vegetable heavy side, followed by protein, and then carbs. Eat the vegetables first too, so you fill up on the healthier stuff first leaving less space for the naughtier foods! I'm beginning to sound like your Mum preaching "eat your greens! Eat your greens!" over and over. But the mum's were on to something...
9. Go Bodycon or go home
Oversized clothes look cool, but they’ll encourage you to eat more as they have oh so much room for expansion! Body-conscious clothing will keep you just that - body conscious, so you won’t want to over indulge so much.
Like I said before, there's absolutely no need to press pause on the fun of the festive period. But a few simple changes will stop you from feeling the guilt - and the pressure to get in shape - when January arrives.
Love, Sophie x