Christmas Survival Guide

How To Look And Feel Fitter And Firmer By New Year’s Day WITHOUT Going Without

On average people put on 5-7lbs over the Christmas period, however, there are people who put on a stone or even two stone.

Although this weight gain seems to be the norm, it doesn’t have to happen to you.

In fact, you can look and feel fitter and firmer by New Years Eve without going without.

If you are like most people you will want to enjoy your food and maybe even have the odd alcoholic drink over Christmas. With the right strategy in place you can still do this whilst toning up and even losing weight.

Having a strategy will mean you can still have the things you want, but it doesn’t mean you can go overboard. It just means plans will be put in place to limit the effects of indulging yourself over the festive period.

So what plans can you put in place over the Christmas period which can help you look and feel fitter and firmer by New Years Eve without going without?

 

Before the big night of indulgence

Diet Strategy

If you know you are going to be eating a lot of food and drinking alcohol then a few days before your night out start eating very healthy and cutting down on the amount of food and calories you eat. You can also cut down on the amount of carbs you eat as well.

Cutting down on the food you eat before your night out can work as a form of calorie cycling or carb cycling where you vary the amount of calories and carbs you eat. Calorie cycling is where you alternate between periods of lower calories than normal and slightly higher calories than normal and carb cycling is where you alternate between lower carbs than normal and slightly higher carbs than normal.

Both methods can be used for weight loss and are good to break through weight loss plateaus. By eating lower calories and carbs before your night out, your night out will be your refeed of higher carbs and calories and then the day after your night out you will have a few days eating low carbs and calories before resuming your normal diet again.

 

Exercise Strategy

The day of your night out eating and drinking have a very hard workout. Doing this will limit the amount that will be stored as fat and instead will help to push the glycogen to be stored in your muscle.

If you are struggling for time, even a minute of press ups or jumping squats before your shower before you get ready for your night out will make a difference. The more calories you can burn off and the more you can boost your metabolism before your night out the better.

You could also train harder than normal for a few days before your night out as well to burn as many calories as possible before your binge.

 

During the big night of indulgence

During your big nights out over the Christmas period make sure you fill up on protein, vegetables and water before you eat your deserts and drink alcohol. If you feel full then you can always skip desert. Drinking water will help prevent dehydration which makes you feel rubbish the next day and makes you want to continue your binge.

Regarding the food you eat it is good practice to eat till you feel satisfied rather than stuff your face. Don’t be afraid to leave food on your plate. If you really want to have desert you could always miss the starter or leave some of the carbs from your main course such as the potatoes so you are not overloading too much on carbs.

It is important to enjoy your food but also to be sensible with the amount of food you eat. Whatever you do eat, enjoy it and don’t feel guilty. It is when you feel guilty you are more likely to continue to binge for a few days or even a few weeks. Enjoy your night out and get straight back to eating healthy the next day.

 

End of the big night of indulgence

At the end of the night, whether you are indulging in foods you normally wouldn’t eat or if you are drinking alcohol it is important that you go to sleep as early as possible.

During the night when you are asleep is when your hormones reset, however, if you go to sleep too late and don’t give your hormones enough time to reset, then the next day your hormones are out of whack. This then leads to uncontrollable cravings for food and can turn your 1 night of treating yourself into a longer binge.

Ideally you would still want to be going to sleep by 10.30pm, however, if you are going to a Christmas party it may not finish until the early hours of the morning. If this is the case then go home and go to sleep as early as possible. The earlier you go to sleep the better and the less chance you will have struggling with cravings the next day.

Before you go to sleep it would also be a good idea to drink a large glass of water, especially if you have been drinking alcohol. Dehydration is another reason why people have uncontrollable cravings the next day as they mistake the signs of dehydration as sings of hunger.

 

The day after the big night of indulgence

The day after treating yourself is very important as it dictates whether it remains just a treat or if it turns into a binge. It also contributes to whether the night before is going to lead to weight gain or not or even possibly helps you to lose weight and tone up.

Eating Strategy 1

A great way to prevent weight gain after a night out is to eat lower calories and lower carbs for 2-3 days after. In fact doing this can trick your body into actually losing weight. To do this cut your calories and carbs below what you would normally eat for 2-3 days after your night out before resuming with your regular diet.

Eating Strategy 2

Fast for 16, 24 or 36 hours after your night out eating and drinking. During your fast have nothing but water and herbal tea. This strategy will be very hard for some and could lead to bad cravings but others it works great.

My preferred option for this is a 36 hour fast. 16 and 24 hour fasts can lead to cravings after you eat and make you want to keep eating whereas I have found if I don’t eat anything the day after a night out and wait till the morning after that then it’s much easier to resume my regular eating pattern.

If you choose this method, if you feel faint or ill then eat. It’s not meant to be torture. For most people eating strategy 1 would be best but fasting does have noticeable benefits for your health and can be a great method to turn a night out to your advantage and help you to lose weight instead of gaining weight.

Eating Strategy 3

Juice the day after a night out drinking. This option I wouldn’t use after a night out eating but it is great after a night on the drink to cure your hangover.

Buy a ton on veg (carrots, beetroot, cucumber, broccoli, tomatoes, kale, spinach) a couple of apples, pears, kiwi fruit, lemons and limes and juice it. Don’t use a nutribullet or blender for this it must be a juicer.

Me personally, I juice it all and drink it as I don’t care what it tastes but you might want to try make yours taste nice.

Through getting lots of vitamins and minerals into your body fast you will recover from your hangover very fast. You will also rehydrate yourself and will feel much better making it far less likely you will binge and instead making it more likely you will get straight back into eating healthy.

With this strategy you could either juice alongside strategy 1 of a low calorie and low carb day or you could do strategy 2 and fast except the juices you have.

It is very important when juicing that you mainly juice vegetables. If you juice fruit it massively spikes insulin your fat storing hormone and can give you a big sugar rush as you have took out the fibre. You can juice a little bit of fruit for taste from the ones I mentioned above but the majority of your juice should come from vegetables.

Juicing vegetables should always be the case when juicing. Fruit is ok for nutribullets and blenders but when juicing it should be mainly vegetables.

 

Drinking water strategy

Make sure you drink lots of water, especially if you have been drinking alcohol. Usually it is recommended you drink 1 litre for every 25kg of bodyweight, but if you have been drinking alcohol then you will want to drink at least 1.5 litres of water of every 25kg of bodyweight in order to re-hydrate your body. Re-hydrating the body is essential in order to recover quickly from the effects of the alcohol.

 

Exercise Strategy 1

The morning after your treat night it is a good idea to go for a walk for at least 30 minutes before you eat any food. This will help increase your metabolism and fat burning, however, it will also help de-stress your body and lower cortisol to help prevent weight gain around the midsection. It will also help to boost your mood making it more likely you get straight back into your healthy eating and it will help to cure a hangover as well.

Walking really is great for weight loss and preventing weight gain, however, it is massively underused. The more you walk and the more active you are after your treat night the better. Walk for a minimum of 30 minutes but if you have the time for a 2-3 hour walk that would be great.

Exercise Strategy 2

Do a cardio or HIIT workout to get a sweat on to sweat the toxins out of you and to burn off the calories from the night before. If you’re not a fan of cardio or HIIT then you could do any workout such as weight training but after a night out, cardio and HIIT work best.

If you aren’t feeling too good then do a light cardio session but make sure you get a sweat on, however, if you can muster up the energy and motivation to train hard then a tough HIIT will leave you feeling invigorated. It will likely be very tough while you are doing it and you might struggle more than normal and may even feel a little sick, but after you will feel better about yourself and your motivation will come back to eat healthy and get back into your training regime.

The worst thing you can do is sit around feeling sorry for yourself after a night of eating and drinking as you will likely binge. Getting your body moving again through exercise will not only help prevent weight gain from the night before it will help you to feel invigorated and help you get back into your healthy eating regime.

 

Other Tips To Help Prevent Weight Gain Through Eating And Drinking Over Xmas

Use Milk Thistle as a supplement over the Christmas period. Milk thistle helps support your liver in the detoxification process. Taking milk thistle at times you are eating and drinking more will help your liver to detox the alcohol or the toxic substances in the foods faster so your liver can get back to burning fat.

Reduce stress through meditation. When you are stressed you are more likely to crave sugary foods and eat higher calories foods. For some people Christmas is a very stressful period and it is important to try and reduce your stress levels. Meditating even just 10 minutes per day can help reduce your stress levels. Meditating doesn’t have to be all spiritual. I’m not spiritual at all but tried meditating through headspace after being recommended to try it. I thought it would be stupid but thought why not give it a go so at least I can see what it is like and I actually felt better after. I don’t do it regularly (I should as I do feel better after) but I have done it when feeling stressed which has helped. You can sign up for a free 10 day trial here www.headspace.com. It’s been a year since the first time I used it and still only on day 8 of the free trial so even if you only use it once or twice over the Christmas period you will notice a difference.

Walk a lot and be outdoors as much as possible. Over the winter we don’t go outdoors as much as the summer meaning we don’t get as much vitamin D. Vitamin D is lower this time of year which means we should be spending even longer outdoors. Over the winter the longer you spend outdoors walking and doing outdoor activities the better you will feel. Just make sure to wrap up warm with a hat, gloves and scalf.

Take a Vitamin D supplement. Following on from my last tip we don’t get as much vitamin D over the winter as we need. Lack of vitamin D leads to you feeling tired and lethargic, so over the winter months it might be a good idea to take a vitamin D supplement to combat low vitamin D levels.

 

IMPORTANT

These strategies won’t help you lose a stone in a week or produce amazing results (I’m sure you wouldn’t be expecting that anyway if your drinking alcohol and eating cakes and chocolate), but it will help you to stay on track and lose a couple of pounds over the Christmas period or at the very least maintain your weight whilst everyone else is gaining weight.

 

Get fit, get healthy, get happy.

Your Coach For Life

Shaun McGill

 

PS I will be posting more tips and bodyweight workouts you can do at home on my Facebook page over the Christmas period and in the new year so please like my Facebook page here so you don’t miss out.

PPS Please share this info with anyone you feel would benefit from following this advice over the Christmas period.