12 tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle at Christmas
JUNE 05, 2021
The Christmas season can be a truly fulfilling time of year where we are able to spend time with those who we are closest to. Unfortunately, it also has the nasty tendency of bringing with it habits of overindulgence, idleness and a lack of motivation. Between myriad holiday events and organising gifts and food, it can be hard to find time to continue to dominate your routine. In this article, I wanted to highlight twelve tips that can help you navigate the season healthily, while still enjoying it and not compromising your schedule.
With events and bank holidays aplenty through the holiday season, being prepared is essential. Stores are likely to close on certain days and postal delivery is stretched to full capacity this time of year, so making sure that you have everything you need at home with you is the first step to a healthy Christmas. Stocking up on any supplements or produce you may need in the weeks before Christmas ensure that you’ll be able to get through the season even if you are unable to make it to a store or online to make an order.
Switch your preparation, not your menu
Instead of opting out of the traditional Christmas dinner, work to make some preparation changes that mean you can enjoy the same great food and stick to your plan. Instead of roasting turkey, try grilling turkey breasts, or try preparing your vegetables in the steamer this year as opposed to the oven. These small changes mean that your meals are more likely to hit your macros.
Don’t rely on party spreads for your nutrition
Around this time of year, parties are filled with spreads and buffets, perfect for social eating and conversation. What these spreads are not perfect for, however, is a nutrition-lead meal. Often the protein portions can be small items of finger food and I find I’d need to eat more than I simply could manage. I suggest eating before you go to any event that may promise food like this to ensure you get all the nutrition you need.
Workout early to get it out of the way
Making sure to stick to your routine is a must. If you are unsure about your plans over the holidays, waking up early to get a morning workout session in can help tremendously. This way, whatever your day throws at you, you know you’ve made that progress. For more thorough guidance, The Hermes 12 Week Beginners Programme is part of our membership package and can help guide you with an expertly crafted fitness programme, as well as nutrition plans and more.
Think about the games you play
When friends and family come together, playing games can be a delight. But I found playing classics like Monopoly can have us sat around a table for hours on end. Try instead this Christmas to invest in and suggest games that involve movement. Whether it’s more traditional games like charades that involve standing and gesturing or more modern ventures like virtual reality games or dancing games on consoles, there are fun activities that will also allow you to not stay static.
The bulk before the cut
If you bulk and cut in order to gain definition, Christmas is a great time to plan a bulk. It is likely food will be plentiful around this time anyway and will allow you to be much more relaxed with your choices. Then, when the new year comes around and many people focus on being healthier, you too can start cutting.
During this season it can be enjoyable to have a drink with friends. However, many menus curate seasonal drinks that are filled with sugar. If you are going to drink, try making considered alcohol swaps. Drinks like neat spirits, gin, and tonics or even some wines are much less likely to be loaded with sweeteners or carbohydrates than beers and cocktails.
Schedule your workouts ahead of time
If you cannot commit to morning workouts every day, or even if you can, scheduling your workouts ahead of time can be incredibly beneficial. Not only does it mean you can inform family and friends of your schedule well in advance, but it also means that you will ensure you don’t have any last-minute confusion or clashes. Dedication is key.
Don’t eat just because it’s Christmas
Throughout the holidays it is likely you will come across a lot of food. Many people make an extra effort to offer food to guests and ensure there is enough for everyone to indulge. It’s also a lot more likely that we will mindlessly indulge on these treats purely because of the time of year. So, I say, before you take a bite, always stop to consider whether you actually want to eat, instead of just eating it because it’s in front of you.
Don’t get too busy
Sleep is an often overlooked but important part of any fitness routine. With social occasions plentiful around the holidays, we can find ourselves staying out to the early hours and forgoing sleep. Although these events can be enriching both for our networks and our minds, prioritising them oversleep is unwise. Setting yourself a curfew can mean you reap the benefits of both a gainful evening and a good night’s sleep.
Tailor your schedule
When working out, if I do not believe something is going to help my progression it doesn’t make it into my routine. Thinking about parties and social events in the same way can help you to navigate the holiday season. If an event isn’t going to enrich my life or feed my soul, I have to ask whether it’s worth my time. By selectively choosing my events, I tailor my schedule to ensure it’s going to be as beneficial to me as possible. If you know you aren’t going to grow, find something else to spend your time on that will help you develop.
Let yourself be happy
The most important thing to remember at Christmas, as it is with the rest of the year is allowing yourself to be happy. We choose this lifestyle because it fulfils us but allowing yourself to spend a day enjoying shared traditions with loved ones enriches us. We work to become the best versions of ourselves not just for us, but for them too. So, allowing yourself a day off to relax and spend time with those dear to you allows you to see why you’ve been working so hard.