Karl Henry: How you can enjoy a guilt-free party season
No one expects you to stick to your healthy routine as rigidly as you would during the year, but following our fitness expert's simple steps will ensure you don't completely fall off the wagon this Christmas
December. Can you believe it? Everyone always said that as you get older, time seems to go even faster. Now, at the ripe old age of 33, I can confirm that they are right.
November is now the month that most people stay well behaved, train hard, eat healthily and prepare for the Christmas party season and all that it brings. It's probably the busiest social time of the year, your alcohol intake goes up, you eat out more and your general levels of health decrease as the parties take over.
It's a tough month, no question about it. I could give you a plan that would get you through Christmas without any of the fun, the socialising or the meals out, but in reality who is going to follow that?
Instead I thought I would bring you some top tips for party season survival tips. The idea is that you use the tips that suit you best, that will work for you, it's no use trying to do the ones you hate, no matter how beneficial they may be.
Keep the water with the wine
When you are at the dinner table, always ensure that you have a glass of water beside your glass of wine at all times and alternate between the two during the meal.It's a simple way to stay hydrated, drink less alcohol and enjoy your meal more.
Never go out hungry
If you are heading out for the night, always go out having had a full meal. This will help to stop the cravings for junk food while you are out and keep you from the munchies on the way home.
Keep getting your food shop once a week
One day a week should be your day to get your food shop, stock up on the healthy foods that you will need and stock up wherever you spend most of your time during the day. If the healthy foods are there you will eat them!
Drink one pint of water before you go to bed
This will help to reduce your dehydration levels, help you to sleep better and help to avoid the comfort food the day after.
Accept that you will want comfort food the day after a big night out, generally in the form of processed carbohydrates, but try to discipline yourself to limiting these to one meal and not the whole day. Have your treat meal, enjoy it and get back to eating normally for the rest of the day.
Set an exercise target for the month of December
How many sessions would you like to get done in the month? Now put a reward in place for yourself if you hit those targets. You only get the reward if you hit your exercise target. This is an easy way to ensure that you stay focused on your exercise during the month, and who doesn't love a reward?
Set up a Whatsapp group with your friends
Group support can make a big difference to your motivation levels when you're not feeling like exercising, use the Whatsapp group to keep yourself focused, help others when you're in the zone and let others help you.
Continue to weigh yourself once a week
If you are weighing yourself each week, don't stop in December. It's always better to be aware of your weight and stop it going up too much.
This is especially true if you have a scales that can measure your muscle and fat quantities too, as this is the key ratio when it comes to weight, less fat and more muscle is the goal.
Remember, it's quality not quantity
This goes for your food as well as your exercise. When it comes to alcohol and food, aim for the very best quality, so craft beers and ciders are far better for you than the mainstreams just like high quality food is better for you than processed.
When it comes to exercise, quality sessions are far better for you than just plodding along so aim for quality for both.
Pick your rest days
You know it's going to be a crazy month, you have the nights out pencilled in, so why not pick your rest days to recover from the nights out? At least by doing this you have some control over the month and more structure to it.
Accept that you will probably put on a few pounds and don't worry about it
Pretty much everyone I know will put weight on over Christmas, it is very hard not to. You just need to do your best, apply some of the tips above and minimise the damage.
It's nice to get to January with a target, a goal and a mission. It helps to hit the ground running in the new year and knock those Christmas pounds off!