Our 10 Top Tips To Avoid Weight Gain Over The Christmas Season
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes, 7 seconds
Seriously, who doesn’t love Christmas!? It’s an incredible time of year to enjoy yourself and let loose with the family. But at the same time, it can also wreak havoc on your fitness goals. Simply because it’s easy to spend day after day eating unnecessarily large meals and spending too much time sitting in front of the TV. So, to help you avoid this common trap and skip weight gain over the Christmas season, here are our 10 pro tips for staying lean.
1. Watch those liquid calories
First and foremost, you need to start watching what you drink. Perhaps the biggest cause of weight gain over the Christmas season is drinking too many high-calorie alcoholic drinks. Such as beer and cider. But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you need to go teetotal.
Instead, you should try to stick to clear spirits wherever possible. As a rule of thumb, these have far fewer calories. Also, be sure to take diet soft drinks with you wherever you go. These contain far fewer calories and sugar. As with drinking at any time of year, it’s all about moderation.
2. Think strategically when eating out
Avoiding weight gain at Christmas doesn’t mean you need to start saying no to Christmas meals with friends and work colleagues. On the flip side, all you need to do is be smart. Heading out and indulging yourself in 5 course meals is not the way to go.
Instead, we recommend following a few basic rules. Such as skipping dessert, cutting back on the gravy and filling up on lean meats and vegetables. If planned correctly, Christmas meals are actually some of the best meals around as they offer a healthy variety of carbs, protein, fats, and vegetables.
3. Resist all of the 2 for 1s!
Don’t feel like you need to cut out all Christmas treats. That would just be impossible! But do your best to get rid of any unnecessary temptations. One of the biggest ways of achieving this is not giving in to all of the crazy 2-for-1 offers supermarkets have on offer at Christmas. It’s much harder to avoid the calories when there are 2 boxes of Celebrations sitting there instead of 1.
4. Make time for the gym
Feel free to cut back on your sessions over Christmas, especially if you need to travel around to see relatives. However, this doesn’t mean you should cut out hitting the gym altogether. Even just 2 sessions a week can go a long way in keeping the fat at bay.
The key is to make sure that you work yourself that extra bit harder during the sessions you do attend. And mix up your routines so as to ensure you are working all muscle groups. Look at them as maintenance sessions where every muscle gets a going over, as opposed to a heavy hitting growth session.
5. Be active in different ways
Just because you can’t make it to the gym, that doesn’t mean you should spend all day laying about. Being completely inactive will drastically increase your chances of putting on a few unwanted pounds. Whereas even mild activity can help you burn a good few hundred calories.
So make use of your time away from work and the gym to be active with your family. Simple activities like taking the dogs out for long walks will be massively beneficial. Or, if there are kids around, then join in with whatever they’re up to!
6. Try to avoid snacking (or be smart with it!)
Any serious bodybuilder eats at regular, scheduled intervals throughout the day. So don’t use Christmas as an excuse to completely break this rule. Try your best to avoid the mince pies or sausage rolls between meals. However, if you do want to indulge, then instead have a plate of leftover meat to eat. Keep those snacks high protein and lean!
7. Get your rest
Did you know that sleep deprivation can actually lead to weight gain? Well, it can, and it’s important that you get plenty of sleep. That’s right, we’re telling you to lie in! Failing to get enough sleep often leads to you becoming hungrier and more lethargic.
Getting plenty of sleep can also help you to keep your stress levels down. These tend to rise at Christmas if you’re forced to spend long periods of time with family! Keeping stress down is another great way to help avoid weight gain, as increased stress makes you crave junk food.
8. Stick to smaller plates
Whenever you’re at a friends house over Christmas, and there’s a buffet on offer, ask if you can have a smaller plate. It’s a simple logic. If you are given a bigger plate, you are naturally more inclined to fill it above and beyond what you actually need to eat. A smaller plate helps stop this problem.
9. Take charge of the cooking
Better yet, why not be the one in charge of cooking the food over Christmas? There are plenty of ways to help make Christmas meals much healthier, without sacrificing on flavour. Here are some of our favourite festive cooking tips to avoid weight gain:
● Swap out butter and sugar flavourings for almond, peppermint or vanilla
● Instead of frying food, bake, grill or steam cook where possible
● Use skim milk or low-fat milk instead of heavy cream
● Instead of cooking with butter, use mashed banana or applesauce instead (trust us, it works!)
10. Make a pact with a friend
Last, but by no means least, you need to hold yourself accountable! Decide on what steps you’re going to take to control your weight, and then form a pact with a friend. Together, commit to keeping an eye on your weight and avoiding any unwanted weight gain. Having someone there to tell you off and to report to can do wonders for your self-control.
If anything, the Christmas season can be a blessing for any serious bodybuilder looking to pack on pure muscle mass in the offseason. Just be mindful of what you eat and make the most of the ample servings of leftover meats available. Most of all, use the time to unwind and relax with friends and family, before refocusing your fitness goals for the year ahead.