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How to survive and thrive in the build up to Christmas and New Year

It’s the most wonderful time of year, or so the song would have us believe.

However, if you’re trying to stay in shape and keep making progress it can be a minefield.

Endless temptations abound from Christmas parties, more office treats (who doesn’t like Roses at this time of year?!) and a general feeling of sod it, I’ll start again in January.

The truth, though, is going bonkers over the next 6 weeks can set you back months on the other side of New Year, whilst a little self-control and some sensible choices can mean you either continue to make progress up to Christmas and the New Year or worst case go into January no worse off than now and in a great position to really get stuck in from January onwards.

Let me caveat: no one is saying live like a hermit for the next 6 weeks, far from it. Life is too short for that and the social interactions at this time of year can do wonders for mental health and strengthening connections with friends and family.

Our Christmas Tips

So without further ado, here are our 4 top tips on how to survive and thrive in the build-up to Christmas and the New Year:

Tip 1: Keep exercising. Using weights where possible.

It seems obvious but if you sack off exercise for 6 weeks your metabolism will drop, you’ll lose muscle tone and it will be more painful when you get back on it after the new year.

As well as keeping your metabolism raised the good habit of continuing to exercise will spill over into other areas of your life. You’ll be less inclined to eat badly if you’re exercising for example. You’ll have more energy so be better able resist all those treats and instead pick and choose when to splurge, rather than riding the sugar high like a surfer trying to ride a 20-foot wave.

Aim to exercise three times a week, with two of those using weights.

Tip 2: Drink plenty (2l minimum) of water.

Fat metabolism slows without sufficient water.

Your liver is the organ that metabolises (burns) fat. Fat is burned in the liver into usable energy for the body. This is the process of burning fat and is the major process for losing weight.

When you don’t drink enough water, it is actually your kidneys that can’t do their job due to the lack of water. Your kidneys are the organs that filter waste products from your blood and they require a lot of water to work properly. When you are low on water (dehydrated) the kidneys slow down and the liver has to pick up the slack to filter out the waste. This means that the liver now has to do the kidney’s job of ridding your body of toxins and is now too busy to metabolise fat, thus fat metabolism slows down and you lose less weight.

So when you are low on water, you aren’t burning as much fat!

Tip 3: Remember the 80/20 rule.

The festive season is meant to be fun. Just because we’re saying don’t go bonkers doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

If you plan ahead you’ll know when you’re going to go off-piste (we don’t mean the pre-Christmas ski trip) and know when you need to be eating well.

If you don’t plan ahead then you’ll lurch from one bad choice to another.

The solution is simple, take 5 minutes at the start of the week and write down what you’re going to eat, when you’re going to eat out, any socials coming up. That way you know in advance when you’re going to treat yourself (and when you’re not) so can enjoy those treats guilt-free.

Tip 4: If you fall off the wagon get back on it.

Don’t use it as an excuse to say sod it to the rest of the year. Don’t try and skip meals to make up for an overindulgence. Just reset and go again.

Ultimately how you go into January depends on you and the choices you make in the next 6 weeks. If you make sensible choices you’ll set yourself up for a great 2022.

We know you can do it and we’ll be right here to support you.