With just days to Christmas, things are starting to slow down and allow you to get into the festive spirit.
Hopefully you can de-stress and reflect on the year that has passed, as well as spend some valuable time with friends and family.
As always this time of the year, I will return to the motherland, Sweden, for some much-needed rest and spend some serious quality time with the people I love the most.
Christmas is probably the trickiest season to stay motivated and stay on track with your body composition goals. The abundance of food and sweets, as well as it being a “sweatshirt season”, where you don’t need to show any skin any time soon.
But before telling you how I manage my way around when I’m not in the routine, let’s call it strategies, it still needs to be said that you alone are in charge of how to handle this season and where you’ll be once it has passed.
What do you want more? If the answer is ‘fast results’ you probably already know what I will say next. But if you want some balance and want to enjoy the festive season AND are okay with slowing down, stalling or reversing your progress for a while… it’s better to be honest with yourself now so that you can read on and hopefully implement these tips.
When I go back home I want to relax, not count calories (unless I am prepping for a shoot of course), and enjoy myself as much as I can. The following strategies I find help me stay on track (or not go too far off track) when I travel away.
1. Eat Less, Eat Cleaner
If you know you’re about to sit down for a Christmas dinner, save your calories for that meal. Or even better, reduce your overall food intake throughout the whole week so that when you do overindulge, the weekly overall caloric intake will not be as bad as it would be if you didn’t plan ahead. Make sure your meals are clean and balanced with protein, vegetables and healthy fats.
2. Have a Piece, but Don’t Go Crazy
It’s okay to have a mince pie here, or some Christmas pudding there, just don’t have 10. Make sure you enjoy what you decide to eat from the Christmas table. The worst thing you can do is to eat something, start bingeing and then feeling guilty about it. It’s a vicious cycle, don’t do it. I used to, and it isn’t a happy ending.
3. Move More
Simply put, you burn more calories by increasing your energy output via movement. If you have time off work, there really shouldn’t be an excuse as to why you aren’t moving more. It doesn’t mean spend X minutes a day on the treadmill (even though this would a great option too). This time of the year you can really be inventive.
Do your Christmas shopping on foot and not order online, go ice skating, look at Christmas decorations and the street lights, go for a walk and catch up with someone you don’t get to see very often.
4. Sleep and Chill Out
The best thing about being on holiday is not having to set an alarm at crazy hours and allowing myself to get in tune with my circadian rhythm again. Sleep is vital to balance out the stressors in life and super important for body composition and staying lean.
5. Keep Up with Your Regular Training
This is a big one for me. I love lifting and I love feeling strong.
People who aren’t gym-goers don’t understand it and might even look at it negatively. But if you think about it, humans enjoy and feel good with routine.
So keeping up with the training not only gives you some routine in a time where routine is out of the window, but you also feel better about yourself and will most likely make better decisions with the rest of your day. Another thing is that with the decreased stress and increased sleep you’re sessions will more likely feel easier than usual. Plus the gym is probably dead.
6. Don’t Fall off the Wagon Completely
If you implement all of the above and you end up gaining a little after Christmas, the best thing you can do is to not freak out, get back on track on the days between Christmas and New Year, and just get on with it. You didn’t reach the end of the world and jumped off the edge, just go back to eating balanced meals, keep up the training and stay active and those extra pounds will fall off again.
You didn’t reach the end of the world and jumped off the edge, just go back to eating balanced meals, keep up the training and stay active and those extra pounds will fall off again.
7. Reflect, then Set New Goals and Strategies for the New Year.
This is specifically aimed at body composition but it can be expanded to pretty much every aspect of your life. I think it’s super important to stop and reflect and be grateful for where you are in this moment in time before thinking forwards. But if you’re like me, you will also be thinking about New Year’s resolutions and what you want to achieve in the next year.
So Ask Yourself and Be Honest and Clear:
- Where are you now and where do you want to be?
- Are you happy with the efforts that you put throughout this year?
- Is there anything you could’ve done better?
- Where do you want to be in the next three months?
- Do you know what needs to be done in order to get there?
- Do you need help from a professional?