Here’s why it’s ok to ditch the guilt and tuck into the mince pies this year – just like FloatRower™, it’s all about balance!
We know what it’s like – the extra helping, that extra drink, the last mince pie – this is the season for lots of treats here and there that we wouldn’t have at any other time, and sometimes the after-effects leave us wishing we hadn’t.
But there’s nothing wrong with indulging in an extra treat at Christmas, and it can be done without the guilt, regret and bloating (although we can’t promise the bloating part)! Our Fitness Programmer and Customer Relations Manager, Jude Crisp, shares her secrets to enjoying those healthy and not so healthy Christmas tastes – and not feeling bad about it in the morning.
Water, water and you’ve guessed it… More water!
I’ve said it before, and it’s just as true at Christmas – water is one of the key to aspects of keeping your body and mind healthy, and it’s just as important to make an effort to remember it at this time of year as it is any other. The heat of summer makes us more aware that we need to keep topping our bodies up, and we tend to have more prompts to fill up that water bottle – but when the weather’s colder, we get fewer reminders, even though there are just as many factors that can dehydrate us. Ever woken up with a headache after forgetting to turn the central heating down overnight? Or noticed how dry your skin feels after spending time outside? The effects of windy, cold, damp weather, and the contrast in temperatures between indoors and out, can all be reduced by keeping those H2O levels topped up. And that’s before you factor in alcohol, salty foods and bigger helpings…
So make sure you’re drinking just as much water as you do in the warmer months – we need at least three litres a day* – and you’ll need more if you are working out, drinking alcohol, skipping on extra sleep hours to enjoy time with friends/family, and before a big meal. With alcohol, I always suggest making sure you have a nice big glass of water before, in between and after – it will do wonders to dilute the effects and flush it all through your body.
Be Honest with Yourself and Get Moving - Because it Feels Good!
It’s a forgiving time of year for indulgence – another bowl of Christmas pudding, and we pretend that it doesn’t matter, and it won’t make any difference to our bodies because it’s Christmas. It will, though - and that’s not a problem, but make sure you remain honest with yourself and accountable. Do something to help counter the effects – go for that extra walk with your family/friends/pets, or make time for a quick workout. There’s lots of options to get you moving... You could even have a dance party to your favourite cheesy songs.
Have that second helping, eat that last sausage roll you’ve got your eye on, and enjoy them – but be honest with yourself that you’ve done it. It’s all about that healthy balance.
It’s also very easy to let exercise slide in the darker, colder months, and even resent it, especially when we’re doing the balancing act with all the tempting treats. But the best way to motivate yourself to get moving is to remember how it makes you feel, and not just because you “ought” to do it. Remember the glow you get after a good walk, how lovely it is to be out in the fresh air, and the endorphins you get from a good cardio workout or that pump after an epic weights session. So don’t do it to be good – do it because it feels good.
Chocolate and Mandarins
Having a little treat every day can mean you’re less likely to blowout and indulge massively on a single day – and it’s much less stressful for your body as well! I’ve personally found that looking forward to a little advent calendar chocolate in the evenings keeps me away from the treats during the day in the run up to Christmas, and by the big day it’s a habit I’ve already formed, so it’s easy to keep up afterwards as well – especially if you got some chocolatey gifts for Christmas.
And remember that some treats can even be rich in vitamins! Satsumas, clementines, tangerines and mandarins are as much a part of Christmas tradition as chocolate, and they’re a delicious, juicy little delight – but just like chocolate, don’t eat the whole bag at once, as they do have quite a lot of fructose sugars in them (and unfortunately a chocolate orange counts as chocolate and not an orange, so I wouldn’t recommend eating the whole ball in one go).
Go Easy Post-Christmas - Make SMART Goals
Once the whirlwind of food, alcohol and chocolate has died down and we head into January, it’s tempting to go headlong into a hard-line health bender – working out hard, and slashing your calorie intake. But that can be as bad for you as over-indulgence. Taking your body from one extreme to another is hard on the mind as well as the body. If you aren’t used to exercising a lot or you are wanting to try something new, ease your way in and make sure you get some appropriate advice from a qualified personal trainer and/or medical professional to cut out the risk of injury.
Make slow changes that are easy to incorporate into your lifestyle. Sensible changes to your diet and exercise are the ones that you’ll maintain, and give you greater benefits for your health and fitness over the longer term. Rather than thinking of it as a diet, approach it as a lifestyle change, and make sure any goals you set are SMART goals:
Specific - Be clear and specific on what your goal is.
Measurable - Make your goals trackable, allowing you to see your progress.
Attainable - Is your goal within your scope? Realistic - Can you realistically achieve your goal? Timely - What is your timeframe to reach your goal? Following these guidelines will ensure you aren't setting yourself up for failure before you've even started.
And most important of all - don’t feel guilty, and enjoy your Christmas time.
From the whole team at FloatRower™, we hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – indulge in the tasty things, and indulge in what’s good for you too!
*hydration guidance as given by the NHS: https://www.nhft.nhs.uk/download.cfm?doc=docm93jijm4n10494