With Christmas right around the corner it is definitely time to start putting into place steps that can help prepare your body for what is an onslaught of desirable treats. These can include roasted potatoes, puddings and desserts, numerous sweets and of course not forgetting mulled wine and other alcoholic beverages. Preparation for the festive period is key and in order to enjoy the above mentioned high caloric foods, you need to prepare your body for the festive season.
Here are some simple tips to prepare yourself for Christmas:
You may already be exercising but if you are not, then get moving! Exercise encourages the body to become more efficient at using glucose, limiting the output of insulin, a fat storing hormone. The more you exercise this December the less insulin your body is going to require to balance your blood sugar, preventing you from gaining fat over the Christmas holidays. It is simple and just plain healthy to get moving.
If you are not exercising already then just try to walk for at least twenty minutes every day, either in the morning or in the evening. Brisk walking is highly recommended. Try to walk at a speed of four miles per hour as it is a very efficient way of burning fat. If your office is nearby, rather than using public transport, consider walking.
EAT YOUR VEGGIES.
Over the next few weeks before Christmas truly kicks in, you need to replace biscuits, cookies and other sugary, refined foods with plenty of whole vegetables. This is going to help boost your immune system and reduce your chances of illness due to Christmas over indulgence. Choose to consume vegetables like broccoli, kale and spinach as they are nutrient dense and the lowest in sugar. You should eat them throughout the day little by little, and cook carefully as they are most nutritious when crisp and not overdone.
If you are someone that cannot eat vegetables due to digestive issues or simply a distaste for the mighty greens, then supplementation will help. Both Complete Greens™ and Complete Multivitamin Complex™ will ensure you get a healthy dose of the vitamins and minerals over the festive period.
The majority of us don’t get enough sleep, I for one often get as little as 4-5 hours a night due to late nights and early mornings training clients. An adequate amount of sleep is always overlooked as a vastly important part of both mind and body well-being. Sleep can aid cognitive function, creativity and improve memory!
Research has shown getting enough sleep can lower stress – preventing depression and anxiety. A lack of sleep can also inhibit fat loss and encourage fat gain due to heightened levels of cortisol. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone associated with stress, responsible for increasing hunger and a temptation for sugary foods. It is this lack of sleep that really makes it difficult for people trying to lose weight. Generally I recommend that my clients get at least 8 hours a night, around Christmas it is very likely you are going to be having some late nights – getting adequate sleep during your pretox will help prepare you for this.
Unfortunately many struggle to sleep at night, both exercise and correct eating habits can help prevent this. ZMA® capsules can help you sleep better at night, the potent levels of Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin B6 encourage a deeper sleep – also known as REM sleep.
The fact that by as early as September the high streets are plagued by Christmas treats, including santa shaped chocolates, ginger bread lattes and mince pies means that we are already over indulging before Christmas has truly begun! There are notable foods that can help you avoid these temptations.
The best foods to stave off cravings are foods that contain both protein and fat. Macadamia nuts are my personal favourite for this, almost as effective are walnuts, pecans or brazil nuts. Other foods for stopping cravings are cream cheese or a rich dessert cheese such as mascarpone. These foods may be on every conventional diets no-go list because they are so calorie dense, but what counts is the effect they have upon your body’s chemistry. Because macadamia nuts have such a high ratio of fat to carbohydrate, they help control your appetite and tend to result in you eating fewer overall calories. Also most importantly, nuts and seeds can easily be kept in your purse or pocket.
A final favourite of mine for overcoming cravings is the avocado, one of the few fruits that contains fat. The avocado not only provides the beneficial monounsaturated fats, but also gives a welcome taste for anyone craving fresh, natural and filling food.
Fuel up with these:
NUTS ABOUT WHEY™ (various flavours)
Drinking enough water will be an important part of your Christmas pretox. Sufficient hydration will make you feel more energised and prevent you from overeating. Your skin will also benefit from being properly hydrated, which is of course great for anyone with a long list of Christmas parties to attend. Try to drink at least 3 litres of water each day, and remain hydrated between meals. If you feel hungry try drinking a large glass of water to see if the cravings are simply due to dehydration.
Try swapping your coffees and teas for green, peppermint or other herbal teas that are full of antioxidants. These are great following a meal as they aid digestion.
Obviously for some, drinking alcohol over Christmas is inevitable, so throughout your pretox aim to cut as much drinking out as possible. Try to make smart choices while drinking alcohol, most alcoholic mixers contain high amounts of sugar so opt for drinks lower in sugar, such as gin and slim line tonic, or vodka and tonic.
Stay hydrated with these:
REMEMBER, alcohol can cause hormonal imbalances, disturbed sleep and dehydration. So throughout your festive period drink plenty of water and try to get as much sleep as possible.
Many will choose to relax their diet’s and even stop going to the gym during the run-up to the Christmas holidays. Instead, the lead-up to the festive period is the perfect time to pretox and prepare your body for what lies ahead. The five simple steps above will help you get your body firing on all cylinders for the upcoming festivities.
About The Authors.
Dejan and Jonny are both fitness professionals stemming from a vast sporting background. Based in London they are the founders of ‘LetsTrain’ – an online, forward-thinking, fitness and nutrition resource.