This blog has been written by Nikki Fischr, Personal Trainer and Admin Manager at Unique Results.

2020 has certainly been a strange and very different year and at this time how we will be celebrating and spending Christmas is not clear.  Will we be able to see our entire family or will we just be celebrating within our own household?

Whatever the guidelines, however tough the last 9 months have been we must stay focused on our health and fitness goals.  Don’t throw away all the great work you have done throughout lockdown and over the last few months.  More than ever now staying fit and healthy has never been so important.  We have all seen the news reports about being overweight and how it can hinder your recovery from Covid 19.

On the plus side, it is unlikely that the usual work parties and client dinners will happen so that has removed one, or more, opportunities to overindulge in food and alcohol.  Although working from home has its own challenges with all the Christmas goodies, snacks and sweets lying around, tempting us.

So here are my 12 suggestions and tips to help you survive Christmas 2020 and maintain your health and fitness goals all the way into 2021.

Suggestion # 1 – Planning

At the end of November plan and prepare for December.  Look at your diary for the month, make sure you can attend all your usual sessions.  If you can’t, look for another day that you could come in.  Don’t drop sessions just because it is December!!  All our classes will be running as normal up to Christmas Eve and then from 2nd January.  Below are our opening times for the days in between.

Suggestion # 2 – Eat Fresh

Focus on eating well throughout December.  Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.  The vitamins and minerals will help your immune system and help protect you  against the usual winter coughs and colds.

Suggestion # 3 – Sensible Shopping

Be mindful when you are shopping for Christmas food.   Think about how many people you will catering for, it may be less than previous years, so don’t over buy. 

Try replacing some of the ‘treat’ foods for healthier options, seasonal fruits or even better make your own.  The internet is full of healthy sweet and savoury recipes.

Suggestion # 4 – Moderate Alcohol

If you are drinking alcohol try alternating your drinks between water/soft drinks and remember everything in moderation.  Try to avoid a hangover the next day.  This is when most make the wrong food choices to try and overcome the hangover symptoms – English breakfast and caffeine drinks.

Suggestion # 5 – Mindful Eating

Practice mindful eating throughout December so that it becomes a habit – eat slowly, chew your food and stop when you reach the point of satisfied, instead of stuffed.  You want to enjoy your Christmas meal not feel uncomfortable from eating too much.

Suggestion # 6 – Don’t Eat & Work

As many of us are working from home it is very easy to eat at your work desk. Don’t let bad habits creep in.  Eating naughty treats in your work space isn’t good. It can trigger hunger thoughts whilst you’re working.  If you need to eat… at least walk to the kitchen 🙂

Suggestion # 7 – Hydration

Increase your water intake.  Being well hydrated helps your digestive system to function and process food better, which is vital during the festive period when we tend to over eat and drink alcohol. 

Our brains also often mistake thirst for hunger so before eating a snack or extra meal, have a glass of water.  You may find that it satisfies the hunger trigger and takes away those extra calories you were going to consume.

Suggestion # 8 – Sleep

Get a good nights sleep.  Aim to have 7-8 hours restful sleep each night to allow the body to recharge and repair.  Poor sleep and feeling tired throughout the day can effect people differently. For some in can result in poor food choices, comfort eating and reaching for coffee and caffeine drinks.

Suggestion # 9 – Start The Day Well

When the big day arrives have a light breakfast and drink plenty of water. If your day is anything like mine, we don’t tend to eat lunch until 2pm/3pm which is very different to my usual routine. This will help to stop you feeling hungry and avoid any unnecessary snacking before lunch.

Suggestion # 10 – Portion Size Matters

Be aware of portion sizes when dishing up your Christmas lunch.   Don’t pile the food up on your plate. Remember you only want to eat to the point of being satisfied, not stuffed like the turkey. For a quick an easy reference guide for portion sizes – use your own hand…..

  • Your palm is a portion of protein
  • Your fist is a portion of vegetables
  • Your cupped hand is a portion of carbohydrates
  • Your thumb is a portion of fat 

Suggestion # 11 – Post Dinner Snacks

We’ve all been there – a biscuit or two with a cup of tea, the huge box of chocolates being passed around everyone. Ask yourself are you really hungry? Are you just eating for the sake of it and to be polite?

Get used to politely saying “no thank you” Try to avoid the additional calories that come with the snacks and treats. Maybe do what suggestion 12 says as a deterrent ……

Suggestion # 12 – Walk It Off

Go for a walk with your family/friends after dinner.  A great way to spend time with each other without the distraction of TV, games consoles and electronic devices. It will also aid digestion, will be your LISS for the day and will stop any afternoon snoozes.

BUT most important of all……. have a great day spending time with those close to you.

Merry Christmas!!

Yours in health