“In the final weeks leading up to Christmas, millions of office-based UK employees are battling the bulge. It’s the ultimate time for indulging, with Christmas meals, celebratory drinks with the work crew, and people bringing in home-baked treats for the staff to enjoy.
No matter how committed you are to your fitness and diet regimen, those stacks of cookies, mince pies and chocolates in the office kitchen can sway even the most dedicated gym bunnies. If you want to stay on track this holiday season, follow our handy tips so that you can remain healthy throughout December.
Bargain with yourself
For some, the temptation of sugary treats in the kitchen and cocktails after work is just too much to stay perfectly on track throughout the festive season. If this describes you, it may be best to simply try not to get too out of control over Christmas rather than trying to stick to your strict routine or fitness habits.
Try bargaining with yourself. Making deals with yourself such as running an extra mile or an extra 15 minutes on the cross trainer to burn off that plate of shortbread can be very helpful. You could also try walking or cycling to work throughout the month to counteract some of the calories. But make sure you follow through with your deals, otherwise, you might find your snazzy new outfit for the Christmas party doesn’t quite button up…
You could also give yourself an “unhealthy allowance” throughout the month to keep yourself somewhat on track. This might mean allowing yourself one small indulgence each day, whether it’s a piece of fudge or a beer after work with your colleagues. You could also try giving yourself one day a week in the office when you’re allowed to eat and drink what you want. Try tying this day in with your toughest workout of the week in order to counteract the effects.
Give yourself a timeline
Some of us might not be able to go with the bargaining and allowance approach. This is probably true for those of us who are all or nothing – either 100% on the bandwagon or lying facedown in the Christmas cake after falling rather gracelessly off said wagon. If this is you, it might be best to give yourself a timeline.
Try setting a specific date in December, perhaps just a few days before Christmas. Up until this point, stick religiously to your diet and workout plans. It’ll be tricky turning away from all the temptation up to this date, but when it arrives, you can feel free to let loose and indulge without feeling too much guilt.
If you choose this route, it’s important to also select a date to end the freedom so that you can easily get back on track with your goals.
Prepare ahead of time
Food prep has long been praised as the best friend of the health-conscious. By preparing your meals ahead of time, you’re more likely to stick to healthy choices. If you don’t have something healthy for lunch or waiting for you at home for dinner, it’s more likely you’ll grab convenience food while out and about. And let’s face it – we all know these types of foods aren’t healthy.
If you struggle with a sweet tooth, try keeping sugar free gum or boiled sweets on your desk to help you keep up your willpower. Packing snacks high in protein and healthy fats can also help curb the cravings. Fresh fruit, nuts, dark chocolate, or apple slices with almond butter are all satisfying but low-guilt options that can help keep you away from the sugary treats your co-workers are bringing in.
Choose healthy versions of unhealthy foods
You can also find recipes for healthy versions of your favourite Christmas treats on blogs or Pinterest. So whether you’re craving creamy fudge or spicy gingerbread, you’ll be able to put together your own guilt-free option! This will allow you to take part in festive foods without feeling like you’re straying too far from your goals.
By: Richard Edwards
Published: 11th December 2017