Its all good intentions going into December. We tell ourselves that we will stick to the healthy eating plan we have mapped out for ourselves and won’t give into all the festivities.
Then our first Christmas party rolls around and we find ourselves saying “Oh it’s just one time.” Which then results in spending the entire next day nursing a hang-over induced from tequila shots and a late night kebab run.
Our bodies then spend the next 48 hours attempting to detoxify our burdened liver and we get minimal fat burn, no matter how hard we attempt to relieve our sins at the gym.
Of-course we swear that was a one off and we are on the straight and narrow from now on.
Until that besties guilt drinks is thrown our way on Friday and suddenly, here we go again.
December is basically the enemy of weight loss and at the very least, weight maintenance. And why should you have to go into hibernation and slap your social life in the face, just because its like spending just as much on calorie surplus as it is on gifts?
So, we’ve put together some hacks to help resist the festive season remorse, that takes the next three months to pay off.
Choosing alcoholic drinks and cutting the sugar
Saying no to a drink or two when its on the company tab is no easy task, so if you decide to indulge in some bevvies, choose wisely. Alcohol is very calorie dense, amounting to 9cal per gram. Add soft drink with its huge sugar content and you could very easily be consuming over 2000 calories just in drinks!
Champagne comes out as the drink of choice is you’re watching calories, with only approx. 91 cal per glass. This said, choosing a “brut” or otherwise known as dry, hence less sweetness, is the way to avoid those pesky sugar calories. But it is carbonated, so good luck with the bloating, farting and hang-over if you go overboard.
If you’re more of a spirit’s type of person, then drinking it neat or on the rocks is the best way not to over-do the calories. If you’re in need of something a little fizzy to get it down, then go with either a tonic or soda water (no sugar, no calories). The benefit of this method is that you will stay more hydrated and likely take longer to get through each drink.
The drinks that will cost you are:
Red and white wine – 200 calories
Beer (larger) – 180 – 200 calories, plus it often contains wheat content, so it can cause some serious bloating and irritation to those with gluten issues. Even the low carb beers can still be high in calories, so be careful.
Try fasting a few times per week
There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the concept of fasting, but follow the science and you will find there is some compelling evidence to suggest it has some pretty awesome health benefits.
By reducing your food intake to certain hours and abstaining from carbs, fats and proteins during the rest, your body will initiate a response to start utilizing fat stores for energy. Everyone will tell you different lengths of time it should be done for, but if you can handle doing 16 hours in a fast and 8 hours in fed, then that will yield some pretty good results, regardless if you have a few bad days of eating.
Because it’s not a diet, it does not restrict you from going out for dinner, but instead just gives your body a break from producing insulin all the time and having to constantly break down carbs and proteins.
This doesn’t give you a green light to munch on junk food, but it will help keep off those unwanted kilos and possibly even help you lose a couple!
Steady state cardio – walking works!
A common mistake people make is thinking that destroying their body in physically intensive work-outs will give them the weight loss they desire.
Well that’s true, to a point.
When you participate in physically grueling work-outs that make you almost feel nauseated, then you are increasing your levels of adrenaline and cortisol. That’s a normal stress response from the body, but what happens when we are already under some serious stress this time of year and our cortisol levels are already high?
It ends up landing on our hips and not being conducive to our intended outcome.
You see, cortisol is produced by the adrenals as a response to stressful situations. Your body doesn’t know the difference between being chased by a bear and just being yelled at by an enthusiastic trainer. So, our cortisol levels rise as a response to this and it helps to bring us back to a state of homeostasis.
But if we are pushing ourselves hard constantly, then cortisol has to continuously be produced by the adrenals and they start getting tired our shit. Unfortunately, excess cortisol loves making itself at home in fat tissues, particularly transverse fat commonly seen around our bellies.
Don’t despair, slowing down a smidge can actually tackle this issue super easily.
Given the improvement in weather during Christmas time in Australia, going for a 40-minute walk with a heart rate sitting around 100 -125 beats per minute puts you in an anaerobic state that helps break down stored fat. When you do a vigorous work-out, you will elevate your heart rate into a cardio state, which is good, but not all time, especially if fat loss is your target.
Do acids, they’re in
No, I am not suggesting you do that kind of acid (what kind of article do you think this is?) But rather add more alkaline inducing foods to your regular menu.
Our bodies have a PH scale and its preference is tended toward being more alkaline at 7.4.
Here’s where it gets weird.
By eating more acidic foods, they are actually converted to an alkaline state once consumed. When our body becomes too acidic, we start using up too many minerals like potassium, sodium and calcium, in an attempt to restore order.
Over the festive season, we are consuming foods like alcohol and more meat, which we might not normally intake and this can often leave our bodies feeling out of whack and for lack of a better word, toxic.
Symptoms of being too acidic include:
– Brain fog
– Stomach bloating, gas, indigestion and reflux
– Hair and nails might become dry and brittle
– Aching joints, especially around the neck.
Here’s a list of things you can do to counter-act these potential problems:
– Mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into 200ml of water and consume before meals
– Add lemon or citrus to foods
– Eat veggies … lots of veggies
– Drink lots of water or try coconut water, almond milk and herbal teas
– Exercise, sweat will help move some of that acidic build up
If you want to test out whether you’re in an acidic spiral, then you can get home tests that involve you weeing on a strip. If you’re results are below 6.5 then your body is in a bit of trouble.
Only do two thirds of the whole
When out for a delicious meal, its easy to get sucked into going the whole hog, even when you don’t actually feel like it.
You know what I mean.
Entrée, main and dessert.
The trifecta of dinner etiquette. And also, the proverbial “bump-bow” for your skinny jeans.
Think about it. Entrees are seldom healthy.
Who orders the roast veggies as their starter?
Ahh no-one I know.
So, if the bowl of chips (yes, I am basic) comes out, there’s some deep-fried goodness of approximately 460 calories. Yep, that’s just based on a medium sized serve from Macca’s.
Then the main comes out. Maybe you controlled yourself and ordered a healthier option, but you’re still up for at least 400 calories there based on serving size.
Then you blow the budget completely and do the double chocolate lava cake, with ice cream, I might add and, well, let’s not even talk about that.
Add in a couple of glasses of wine at 200 calories per drink and you’ve just eaten more than half your calorie intake in one sitting.
See what I am getting at?
Abstaining from just an entrée or dessert will mean you keep your unneeded carb load down and you haven’t really missed out on anything.
I hope you can utilize some of these hacks over the next few weeks and of-course, if you’d like more information or a personalized consult, please register your interest by following the link.