This post is written by PGG contributor, Kim Angelo.
Losing weight is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions because we keep on jotting it down to our planners on a yearly basis yet we often fail to sustain it as the year goes along. I admit, avoiding weight gain during the Christmas season is a real struggle. A lot of reasons, but it all boils down to the “it only happens once a year” excuse.
But that doesn’t mean that you’ll just have to throw in the towel after all your hard efforts because you will soon realize that the guilt you would feel after self-sabotaging your weight loss and muscle gains will kill you afterwards.
So how to avoid weight gain during the Christmas season?
Well, first it’s important to understand energy balance as you will see in the figure below.
The equation is as simple as that in the illustration. It’s all about calories in and calories out. However, that is so much easier said than done especially during the Christmas season where there are parties with tempting food being served everywhere.
So in order to help you prevent weight gain during the holidays, I’d like to give away some tips on how to stay in good shape this December:
1. Mindful Eating – Select Your Food Wisely
There will be a lot of splendiferous table’s offering especially during the Noche’ Buena (Christmas Eve Feast) and Media Noche’ (New Year’s Eve Feast). It is very important to always be mindful about what you are eating and drinking.
White carbs intake should be minimized. Choose high protein food options from the Christmas buffet and some that contain fiber. Protein-rich food are heavy! They make you feel stuffed easily for a long duration and foods rich in fiber are excellent for digestion.
Booze should be moderated as well. However, during the compelling moments in drinking sessions with friends, I suggest you pick small amounts of hard drinks instead of beer as we definitely hate having a beer gut!
2. Feast and Fast
For me, food is an integral part of the formula for happiness. Indulging is a fraction of it but everyday should not be a cheat day during the Christmas season. Eat all you can during the feasts but make sure you go back to your diet the day after. By fasting, it doesn’t mean eating blank or nothing at all. You can eat but limit yourself, very strictly. Some nutritionists and fitness coaches suggest at least 500-caloric intakes during fasting days. However, I don’t count my calories, I just know whenever I am exceeding my daily intake target. I suggest to use a small plate, very small to reduce your portion sizes without complicating yourself to count calories.
3. Try Your Best to Workout
For me, no skipping of workout for the entire season. It’s part of my lifestyle and as much as possible, I adhere to my workout regimen. Exception should only be the actual days of Christmas (24-25 Dec) and New Year (31-Dec – 1-Jan).
During this season, working out is not necessarily be performed at the gym. Some of you might be having vacations somewhere so I suggest that you perform some quick workout even in your room or in a very minimal space at home. You can create your own bodyweight program like below.
This is what I usually do for bodyweight training:
• 5 sets of 20 reps pushups
• 5 sets of 20 reps squats
• 5 sets of 10 reps burpees
• 5 sets of 10 reps jumping jacks
• Finishing with 5 sets 10 reps situps
4. Be Active With Family and Friends
Christmas is also known for sharing love. Why not be active with your family and friends by doing some outdoor activities that can increase your incidental activities?
Incidental activities are the usual activities that you don’t notice you’re actually burning calories while doing it. It’s like using stairs instead of elevators, walking instead of riding for short destinations, and other activities that can keep your body moving!
Activities will be best enjoyed with your families and friends and you’ll surely not notice that you are burning a lot of calories because you are in good company that you enjoy the most.
5. Mind Your Mind
What is fitness to you? If you think it’s all about achieving a ripped and strong body, then the case is completely different in my perception. I see fitness as a balance of physical and mind wellness. You will find it hard to shape your body if you cannot control your mind to be positive.
If you are frustrated about your hampered body progress due to Christmas breaks and over indulgence, then you are just making it worse. Frustrations lead to stress and you will most likely result in eating more as your body copes to the emotional imbalance. Also, stress has a repercussion in your sleeping patterns. Either you oversleep or you lack sleep – both will lead to decreased metabolism and the eventual growing of your tummy is inevitable.
Workout your body and mind to achieve a perfect balance. Aim to always think positive and you would definitely achieve a positive result!
6. Don’t Disconnect with your Body Goals
Making the most of everything is not always good. That’s the usual issue with us when it comes to fitness. When you feel like you’ve lost track because you ate a slice of cake, then you might be tempted to give in and go all the way by eating the entire cake as if there’s someone patting your back, saying, “it’s okay, you can restart your diet on Monday, or next week, next month, and worst… next year? Or probably just in your dream?
So my advice is never neglect what you have started. When you fall, make sure to stand up quickly and not savour the ground for long!
Important note: I am sure that some of you are already aware of the tips I put together in this article. My goal is to remind you because I believe in the power of reminding yourself about what to do. Congratulations because you earned an ounce of enthusiasm to keep on going with your fitness journey and I wish you an extraordinarily joyful Christmas season!
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Kim Angelo is a digital marketer, fitness enthusiast, and educator. He teaches business-related subjects on a part-time basis in a small college in Quezon City, where he holds a degree in Marketing. His fitness activities fuel his passion for mind and body empowerment.