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MNDs Christmas Survival Tips!

It is almost Christmas, and we all know that the holidays are a testing time for anyone trying to lose weight or get fit, but in truth I don’t see any reason why we can’t enjoy Christmas, indulge in a  few extra luxuries, relax a little, but not throw weeks or months of hard work in the bin.

This is my approach to surviving the Christmas period without my waistline and energy levels paying the price.

  1. The build up. The days leading up to Xmas can be a time of temptation, we have extra chocolate in the house for the kids, chocolates on the Christmas tree and our cupboards are filling up ready to entertain guests. Yes, I have eaten a few, but as best as possible, I am exercising common-sense moderation and restraint, while getting into the spirit of Christmas with my kids and enjoying a few treats.
    To keep things in order, I am ensuring I find time to exercise every day, I have been juicing (those healthy vitamin-rich green juices help cleanse any sugar and junk additives from my body) and mostly, I am taking a good hard critical look in the full length mirror every day. I feel a little roll of fat sitting on my waist that has crept on over recent months, mostly due to too many long working hours and too many sneaky squares of Green & Blacks Organic 85% Dark Choc, and every day I pinch this roll of fat and remind myself not to make it any worse. Such self-flagellation may not be for everyone, but it works for me.
  2. Christmas Day. We have a house full of family for Christmas Day, so I will spend the vast majority of the day in the kitchen. This is normal, I like cooking and I am a social host and I enjoy being in my kitchen, the difference this year compared to previous Christmas’s is that I will be 100% sober! The last few Xmas Day’s I would have consumed a whole bottle of wine to myself by the time Xmas lunch was served, but not this year!
    This Christmas day, I will enjoy lots of organic free range local turkey, and plenty of fresh organic veggies, but unlike previous years, it will not be washed down with wine, and I will avoid the potatoes. Instead I’ll have a few roast parsnips, crispy and crunchy round the edges, as parsnips are far less starchy than potatoes, because they are a root vegetable like a carrot, not a tuber like a potato. I will avoid stuffing, cranberry sauce or anything else shop-bought. I will just eat turkey and lots of vegetables, with just a little gravy as turkey does tend to be rather dry.
    I’m having Christmas pudding! Hey, just one day each year – no guilt, pure sinful fattening indulgence, and I don’t care!! It’s Christmas!
  3. Exercise. I have blogged before, about how you need to plan and prepare in this world in order to succeed. In the disruption of the holidays, if you do not plan when you are going to exercise, there is very likelihood it will not happen. When I am planning the visitors, the cooking times, what I have to get in the oven and when, and who will arrive at what time, etc., I think about it all a few days in advance and plan when I am going to exercise around that schedule.
    It’s no big deal, not rocket science, I’m not standing in the kitchen with a stop-watch dressed up like a school gym teacher barking orders at people, I simply know that for a few days, I need to get my butt out of bed early and go exercise first thing, otherwise it simply won’t happen. This morning I was up early and out training for an hour just after 7am, and I have my Xmas Eve workout already planned for tomorrow. On Xmas Day I know our 3 excited young kids will wake us pretty early, and I know I will have time to pop out on my bike for an hour between playing with the kids and getting to work in the kitchen.
    On Boxing Day we are going out to visit family all day, so again I will set an alarm and rise early, to get out at 7am and train for an hour before daylight. This has actually become a bit of a Boxing day tradition for me, and for the last few years I have always gone to the same place and put myself through the same killer hard hour early on Boxing Day morning. It ‘purges the sins’ of the previous day, and sets me up for a day relaxing and not feeling like I haven’t earned a big lunch and more Christmas pudding!
    Plan. What’s the old saying… ‘to fail to prepare, is to prepare to fail’ Too true.
  4. December 27th to 31st. These 4 or 5 days between Xmas and New Year, they are not designated ‘national sit-on-your-butt and eat chocolate and watch movies’ days you know, they are just normal days. We get to do a lot of eating and drinking and sitting on our back-sides on Dec 25th and 26th, so the days then until New Year are a chance to do a bit more than just watch movies and visit the sales. Schedule in exercise, try a ‘detox day’ where you eat no sugar, but have some fresh juice, home-made vegetable soup, lean cuisine.
    A day or two between Christmas and New Year’s Eve where you go 24 hours with no alcohol, no sugar and no caffeine, can stop the holidays from becoming a ceaseless onslaught on your poor over-worked digestive system, and make the difference between weight gain and weight maintenance. Indulge for Xmas Day and Boxing Day, relax. Enjoy New Years Eve, good for you. But the days in between, don’t be a lazy pig, you’ll only regret it come January. Eat clean, exercise, then you will feel fresh and ready for New Years Eve when it comes.
  5. New Years Eve. Well, a sober New Years! This is going to be a first for me! The last drink I had was at about 10 minutes after midnight at the start of 2012. I toasted the new year with friends (we always have a little party at our house for local friends, families with kids) and drained my glass, and that was the last sip of alcohol I had. This New Years Eve will likely be the hardest test of my tee total ways so far. Come Jan 1st, I’ll let you know how it was!!

So in summary, if you have been trying to lose weight, don’t let one crazy indulgent week over Xmas spoil all your hard work in November and December.

Enjoy yourself, but show some moderation, and unless you are going to exercise a LOT, then go easy on all the stodgy carbohydrates, and try to avoid too much sugar. Plan exercise, schedule it in, to ensure it happens. If in doubt, just get up early and do it first thing, then it’s done for the day and no-one can take that away from you.

Above all, enjoy yourselves and share good times with those you love. Merry Christmas!

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Friday, December 28, 2012: I added a follow-up note:

    Hi folks, I hope you had a good Christmas. I hope you enjoyed a little of what you fancied, without undoing weeks of work during November and December.

    I followed my own ‘survival tips’ and it was all great. I got up early and made time to work out every day – Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and then I ate well, but not in ridiculous quantities, and I enjoyed a huge portion of Christmas pudding, and plenty of chocolates over several days.

    But I kept it in moderation, I had my indulgences, just for 2 or 3 days, and I kept my exercise up, so the scales show no damage done and I feel fine.

    Now the next challenge is New Year’s Eve, but this year, for the first time ever I am a non-drinker, so the evening will be different for me. My advice to you…have a few, enjoy yourselves, but don’t overdo it.

    Psychologically, waking up at lunch time on New Year’s Day, feeling like crap and spending the whole day nursing a sore head and moaning how tired and low-energy you feel, is no way to start the year for someone who says they want to take their health seriously.

    I will start Jan 1st with a lie in bed, for sure, as I will likely not get to bed until 1 or 2 in the morning, but I will be up by 9 and I will have a clear head, feeling great, and I will likely get out straight away and exercise early, before breakfast. After that, I will spend the day playing with my kids and working on writing up my 2013 goals, and maybe I’ll blog with some motivational words if I can.

    Begin the New Year as you mean to go on. If you take your health seriously, keep that in mind the night before. Try this, between every alcoholic drink, slip in a glass of water. By the end of the night, you’ll be amazed what a difference it makes.

    Have fun! C U.

    March 12, 2013

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