… In moderation, of course.
Whilst Christmas is the season to enjoy yourself and relax with your loved ones it’s also known to be the season for food. Lots of it, too. And guess what? I love food. The roast dinner, the pudding, the cheese and crackers (although by this point you’re already stupidly stuffed), the tin of celebrations… You name it and I’ve got my eyes on it. So when I see on social media the sudden pressure for ‘staying on track’, ‘a guilt free Christmas’ or the ‘Christmas diets’ it saddens me to think that this kind of pressure is applied to such a festive season. Suddenly people are feeling the need to avoid their favourite foods and beverages to keep or achieve a certain ‘look’. Why should a time that’s about the presence of loved ones, celebration, love and happiness become a time filled with anxiety, guilt and pressure?
Well guess what, I’m here to tell you that the most healthy thing you could do this Christmas is to ignore the pressure and to eat whatever your heart desires because you can.
You don’t have to exercise more. You don’t have to add in more cardio. You don’t have do stupid fad diet’s. All you’ve got to do is continue what you have been doing. Which is working out regularly, eating healthy and allowing yourself treats every now and then. That’s it.
A healthy and balanced diet
When people hear the word ‘diet’ they automatically assume it means all things vegetables, green, superfood, chicken, protein and absolutely no chocolate. Well, they’re wrong. Oh so wrong.
To me a healthy and balanced diet consists of eating clean 80% of the time and having foods I truly enjoy the rest of the time. Also known as the 80/20 diet. However, this can sometimes turn into 70/30 or 60/40.. heck even 50/50. As long as i’m mostly eating a healthy diet throughout the day and week then i’ll allow myself the foods I really crave. Which is mostly chocolate, pizza, ice-cream, biscuits and takeaway food. This isn’t a way of rewarding myself of eating healthy. It’s simply a balanced diet where I don’t restrict myself of the foods I want which later lead to binges. I’d probably say that i’m having a ‘treat’ meal/snack 3 times a week right now.
Don’t restrict yourself of foods at social events
So you’ve got your Christmas party coming up soon and you’re worrying about over indulging, especially on the cake! Well, like i’ve said before – don’t. You’ve got the choice to be in control of your meal choices so choose what you want and if possible choose a healthy main that you’ll enjoy and leave room for the delicious dessert. Note that I say ‘enjoy’ because you really need to like it. If you’re simply picking a healthier option because you feel you ‘need’ to, then that’s not a healthy diet (nor mindset) at all. So if you can choose healthy options then great, if not then don’t worry and allow yourself to indulge and get straight back on track the next day!
Keep doing what you’re doing
Your workouts shouldn’t change just because your eating a little extra over the festive season. You also definitely shouldn’t be doing extra cardio so you ‘deserve’ those extra few calories! I’ve seen this everywhere on social media recently and I cannot help but shake my head at this kind of mindset. Your workouts shouldn’t be a punishment for your food choices. It should be your ‘me’ time. Don’t start revolving your workouts around your food choices.
Take some time off over Christmas
You work so hard throughout the year. You decide to get up every morning and fit in those workouts, you decide to treat your body well and you decide to prove to yourself that you can. So if you can’t take some time off at Christmas to spend with your loved ones and give your body some well deserved rest then when can you? I’ve decided that I’m definitely taking Christmas day, Boxing day and New Years day off from working out (as well as still taking 1 rest day a week) and perhaps a few more days too if I feel like it. Trust me, it do you’ll body, mind and soul some good.
Now, i’m not exactly telling you to go crazy and eat 20 doughnuts a day or live off chocolate and nothing but chocolate. But what I’m trying to say is, don’t take the approach that you can’t enjoy the foods you really want this Christmas because this is exactly when the unhealthy obsession with food and fitness starts to evolve. You’ll find that you’ll start worrying about to eat, how to behaviour and what kind of guilt workouts you need to be doing. However, if you do find yourself crippling under the pressure to these negative messages then unfollow, unsubscribe and perhaps disconnect yourself from social media over the festive season. That way you can eat those mince pies, drink your favourite bevages, say no to the fad diets, work up a sweat (when you want to) and most importantly live life.