Festive fat loss... You need a plan!
Tis the season! For socializing, festivities and weight gain.... Ummm hang on...Whilst we definitely want the former two, we most certainly want to avoid the latter if we can... And you most certainly can avoid the Christmas kilo's creeping on with a little forward planning, a dash of awareness and healthy serving of the front of mind realization that's there's always a choice! Oh, and you could also implement one of more of these next 12 tips for keeping the Christmas kilos at bay.
TIP ONE: Pre-party glycogen depletion -aka doing a workout
One of the best times to have your carbohydrate is post workout. During this post workout window (30-60min post workout) your body isn't interested in storing body fat, it's only interested in replenishing spent muscle fuel (called glycogen). Use this post workout window to your advantage and complete a workout as close to your Christmas part/function as you can. What you're aiming to achieve in this workout is to use up as much of your muscle and liver glycogen as possible (glycogen is the fuel your muscles use for contraction), try and make it an intense session! By working out prior to your function and burning as much muscle fuel as possible you can use your Christmas party/function as an opportunity to help refuel your spent muscle fuel stores and avoid any spill over and excess calories being diverted to your hips!
TIP TWO: Pre-training fuel up
If you can’t train before the Christmas party/function/social event then you can use the social event as a pre-workout fueling opportunity, this means you’ll have to do a workout later to burn off the calories that came in. Don’t use this tip as an excuse to overeat! Remember weight loss is about burning off more calories than what's coming in!
TIP THREE: Move your indulgence day
One important tip for changing your eating habits and getting your food to work for you is to avoid an 'all or nothing' mentality. This 'all or nothing' approach chews up (pun intended) a lot of mental energy and willpower and usually doesn't work for any length of time before feelings of deprivation start creeping in. So therefore, balance is needed. Indulging is by no means bad it just becomes unhelpful when it happens too often! Indulge sparingly and with awareness and enjoy every mouthful. Now if you usually like to indulge each week or fortnight on a Saturday night and your Christmas party/function/social event falls on a Friday night, simply more your indulgence day! Be flexible with your eating habits and social calendar and if you can sync them up so that they work for you not against you!
TIP FOUR: Rules of engagement
If a workout before or after the party isn’t an option and you don’t want to move your indulgence day, then you might have to choose (there's ALWAYS a choice!) to limit the calorie influx at the social event by sticking to three simple rules to help keep the calories down! These three rules are:
1. Adopt a pastry free policy. Pastries are high in calories and full of nasty trans fats! This rule would be great to stick to in general.
2. Limit your alcohol to 0-6 glasses per week. Alcohol is very calories dense and it’s much easier to drink your calories than it is to eat them leading to a higher calorie intake overall without you are noticing.
3. Drink a glass of water when you arrive, during the party and between any alcoholic beverages. The water will help fill you up which helps satiety (that feeling of fullness), which might help you eat and drink less.
TIP FIVE: Driver needed.
Put your hand up to be the designated driver. If you’re the designated driver you won’t drink alcohol and you’ll be saving yourself a heap of calories!
TIP SIX: Get your groove on.
If there’s dancing at your social event get out and shake your thing! Dancing is a great calorie burner (especially if you’re not good at it!) perfect for helping burn off some of those extra calories.
TIP SEVEN: Don’t arrive hungry.
If you eat your normal meal or healthy snack before you go to the social event then you’ll feel more satiated and be less likely to overeat when you get there.
TIP EIGHT: Move away!
When you get to the party don’t socialize/talk/stand around/near the food table. If the food is in sight you’re more likely to eat it even though you might not be hungry.
TIP NINE: Just leave it.
Did you know that you don’t have to finish everything that’s on your plate! Gasp! Shock horror! Yep, if you’re feeling full just leave it on your plate. It’s better in the waste than around your waist! By ignoring your bodies ‘feeling full’ signals it’s possible to eat a lot more calories than normal. So, eat slowly and with awareness. It takes about 10 minutes for the ‘feeling full’ signal to go from your stomach to your brain. If you’re still hungry after that 10-minute wait, then eat some more otherwise it’s ok to leave food on your plate.
TIP TEN: One or the other?
If you have multiple social events to attend in the same week then you need to choose which one you’ll relax and indulge at (maybe using your indulgence day switch or pre-party glycogen depletion tip) and which one you’ll limit your calorie intake at. One high calorie social event won’t undo everything but 2 or 3 in one week will be quite unhelpful if your goal is to lose weight over the festive season!
TIP ELEVEN: Balance it out
If you know ahead of time about your social event, then you can try and balance out the extra calories at other times of the day or even the day before or day after. For example, if you have a dinner which you plan to indulge at then try and make breakfast and lunch earlier that day clean, simple and low calorie to balance it out. You can also do this the day previous or the day after to further balance out the calorie equation, don’t just think about your daily calorie intake, your weekly total/average is what matters more.
TIP TWELVE: There’s always a choice.
You don’t have to implement any of these tips! However, reaching and maintaining a new weight/size or a new level of health requires that you make, cultivate and maintain a series of new habits and choices. The trick is to know your weaknesses and develop a plan as to how you can overcome them. If social events are one of your weaknesses, then putting one or a few of these tips into practice may just help takes your results to the next level.
We are a reflection of the choices we make!
There is no magic pill or easy way to lose weight. Throwing in being social whist try to do so can be frustrating and hard work. And when you’re surrounded by temptation and have little control over the food that’s on offer can make it harder still.
It doesn’t have to be that hard though! It’s not easy but it can be SIMPLE, it’s all about choice. By implementing and sticking to a simple plan like the one above and by manipulating your training and food intake at the right times, there’s no reason why you can’t have your cake and eat it too! Maintain your awareness and keep front of mind your priorities/goal(s). So, get out there and enjoy being social but remember when it comes down to it there’s always a choice… what will yours be?
Until next time... Rethink. Redefine. Evolve.