Christmas is a time of the year where a lot of us panic about gaining weight. There are endless amounts of Christmas parties, social occasions and boxes of Roses everywhere in sight! It’s a lot harder to keep our nutrition in check and it is a also a lot harder to find time to fit in exercise.

There will be times when you might overindulge over the Christmas period.  Don’t feel guilty if this happens. It’s a time to enjoy yourself so don’t let that stop you. Just try to be more mindful of your choices.
We have created a list of twelve simple tips to follow over the Christmas that will help you stay on track and minimize weight gain. Keep these in mind and it will make January a lot easier for you as you will be in a much better position to push on towards your new year goals.

1.)Practice restraint not restriction.

Restriction is completely limiting yourself and not allowing yourself any cake (for example) ever again because it is way too high in calories.
What does this do?? It makes you want the cake even more. This could lead to a possible binge where you eat the whole cake in one sitting causing a very unhealthy relationship with food.
Restraint can be described as moderation. It’s finding balance and knowing that you can have some cake but you are not going to eat the whole thing. Finding a happy medium and allowing yourself some flexibility with your diet choices. This promotes diet adherence.
We are all human and we all have cravings. If you like cake, allow yourself to indulge every now and again but know your limits and do not allow yourself to feel guilty afterwards. There will be lots of temptation over the Christmas so allow yourself to indulge but know your limits!

2.) Avoid mindless snacking.

This is one of the biggest causes of fat gain over the holiday period. Just eating for the sake of it when you might not even want it.
That box of Roses in work that you pick at all day!!! They may be small but they add up very quickly!!
If you have one every hour and work an 8 hour day, that’s about 320 extra calories!! You would probably say no to a chocolate bar because it is too high in calories but if you are snacking on these little chocolates all day, you may as well have had a chocolate bar or even two!
Yes it’s Christmas but you need to be smart with your choices. There will be plenty of dinner parties/nights out so there is no need for mindless snacking on top of it!

3.) Aim to maintain.

Whatever you do, don’t try to diet or lose weight over the Christmas period. This is a time of the year when it’s very hard to stay on track as there are so many temptations, dinner parties, nights out etc..
What you want to do ideally is minimize damage by maintaining your weight. There is plenty of time in the new year to get back on track with your fat loss journey. The holiday season is stressful enough without trying to lose weight!

4.) Plan & prepare.

There are going to be PLENTY of nights out, dinner parties etc.. so it’s important to try and stay on track as best you can outside of these events.
If you are going out Stephen’s night for example, prepare your meals for the following day. If you are organised, it will limit the chances of you ordering a takeout.
Sure there are going to be times over the Christmas when you might have takeout, but plan them wisely and don’t just have one whenever you are hungover! Maybe allow yourself one takeaway and for the rest, have your meals ready in advance.
There’s a big difference between planning a meal with friends vs just randomly getting a takeaway and eating your body weight in junk food!

5.) Bank your calories.

This is an option for someone who wants to stay on track as much as possible and not go too overboard with the festivities.
If you track calories, you can reduce by 2-300 in the days prior to or after to create more room for food/drink for the planned occasion.
If up you don’t count calories, you can consciously eat a little less in the days before or after (increase lean meat & veg, decrease snacks). There are many variations of this so just do what’s best for you.
Using these types of strategies will help you to maintain your weight over Christmas while not stressing or being too strict (up to a point obviously). When you use these strategies, your scale weight will most likely fluctuate greatly due to different factors like eating different foods, being in a different routine, stress, nights out, meals out and much more. So just keep that in mind and look at it objectively.

6.) Choose low calorie drinks.

This is an easy tip to follow.
A vodka/gin and diet mixer for example is about 70 calories or a bottle of light beer such as Coors Light is 102 calories.
A large bottle of Bulmers is 250 calories.
That’s between 148-180 calories in the difference between both options if you make that switch.
Times that by the amount of drinks you are going to have each night. Times that by the amount of nights you are going out. ?? It makes a big difference. Other high calorie drinks to be careful of are cocktails or pints of beer, Guinness, Smithwicks etc..

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7.) Keep active during the holidays.

A pretty obvious one if you want to minimize damage over the Christmas.
We generally spend a lot of our time off over the Christmas lying around and relaxing. Try and get a few steps in by going for a walk or doing a bit of cardio. You will feel a lot better for it if you try to keep as active as possible. Mood and energy will increase also.

8.) Try high volume training.

I like to not focus on strength training over the Christmas period and instead use high volume training. Try some higher rep work with more sets (metabolite training). Higher volume training will help to deplete glycogen stores so the extra carbs being consumed can go towards replenishing these stores.
Adding in intensity techniques like dropsets, supersets and myoreps can be useful during this time.
This will keep things fun and interesting, and you won’t feel pressure to go in and have to lift X amount on a certain day.
You also will probably be training less & resting more over the festive period so you don’t have to worry about recovery capabilities as much.

9.) Put those extra calories to good use.

You don’t need to be in the gym every day but do try get a few workouts in over the Christmas and put all those extra calories to good use.

A lot of people stop going to the gym altogether over the Christmas which is another reason why they gain weight.

Because you are in a calorie surplus (overeating), you are putting your body in the best position to gain muscle so why not fit in a workout! If you aren’t training, those extra calories will more than likely be stored as fat.

10.) Fill your plate with veg and lean protein.

This is a great way to prevent over eating. Fill up on lean cuts of meat and vegetables and then go back for the higher calorie food options after.

Protein is the most satiating macronutrient so it will keep you full for longest. Vegetables are very low in calories and high in volume so you will trick your body into feeling full.

Go back for the mashed potato and roast potato etc after but just be aware of portion control as these are much higher in calories than vegetables/lean cuts of meat.

11.) Try intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting reduces the eating window you have in the day which can help with reducing your overall calories consumed.

Example: If you normally have your breakfast at 8a.m., push that meal back to later in the day and just have tea/coffee and water for breakfast. If you are going for a meal out/ to a party, this can be a great tool. By pushing that first meal back, you are eating less throughout the day and have more calories then for the night ahead. This is only one way of doing it.

Intermittent fasting works great for some people but others may not like it so do what’s best for you.


12.) Have no regrets.

Whatever you do over the Christmas, enjoy yourself and don’t feel guilty about the food choices you might have made. Appreciate all the memories you have made with family and friends.

Don’t try punish yourself by starving yourself in January or doing hours of endless cardio. Set yourself up to succeed by getting your diet and training on track.

I hope you found these tips helpful and be sure to share them with a friend if you enjoyed them. Thanks guys and have a wonderful Christmas!

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