Health + Fitness

Staying in shape during Christmas

By: Editor-in-chief Lenush Lebedeva

We all dig into our Christmas favorites and perhaps drink a little more than we should during the festive season, it so happens that the favorites are normally carbs filled with butter, sugar, meat and cheese. Not exactly the most ideal combination for the perfect body. Those of us who are scrupulous when it comes to our appearance and diet are hysterically panic noxious when we consume otherwise forbidden ingredients during the holidays. It is my personal belief that some are a little extreme and, in some cases, might even be eating disorder victims. However, for the more stable lot it is quite the standard notion that we only live once, and regardless of how hard we work out at the gym and take care of our skin, there is always a good time to let loose and enjoy the dark side. Christmas is this time.

Obviously, none of us want to throw away our bikini bodies or months of hard work on our physique for 12 days of overeating. Anyways, there is nobody out there who can honestly say they are happy to fill their belly to the point of passing out for two weeks daily and not be disgusted or feel unwell. It is unnatural unless there is an underlying condition that causes such behavior patterns, but that is an issue better taken up with a therapist. If one wants to allow themselves freedom in food choices while spending precious time with their loved ones, it is best to keep track of the quantity rather than quality and perhaps choose specific days such as Christmas day or eve as opposed to the entire period to over-indulge. The persons who want to maintain their figure should also maintain their training schedule over the holidays, but as I have mentioned in my article ‘Diet culture: Body shaming goes both ways’ it is not the training effort that keep the kilos at bay, it is the eating effort. This will just be helpful in order not to have a long break and see your fitness level declining, as a two-week break can cause a rapid decrease in physical ability, not to mention motivation. Of course, it still burns calories, even if you can not outrun a bad diet, you can still reduce its effects. I know it is also popular belief that a detox can salvage a continuous disastrous diet. It is not quite so black and white. Yes, for those who are in good health and well acquainted with their own body, it can be a good starter to get back on track, but it rarely lasts long for these individuals.

christmas wine staying in shape

Nutritionists have dividing opinions on the matter of detoxing, and what a good detox really entails. Now, I am not an advocate for fad diets, in fact I don’t believe anyone interested in health and fitness is, however a short detox is not a fad diet and even less so is a one-day water fast. In my personal opinion which is not backed up by a medical degree nor a nutrition course, I can say that before an event filled with food an alcohol, I believe a short water fast is helpful to both work out an appetite and is also less overbearing on the system when indulging. The fast itself does not always last more than 24 hours and in some cases can be as short as 12 hours. Longer detox periods or few day water fasts are a little more dangerous due to blood sugar spikes, and it is subject to the state of everyone’s health, so I strongly recommend NOT to undertake such experiments without consulting your GP or a licensed nutritionist. Anyways I am sure I haven’t discovered America here, but in sharing my personal experience I would say that if a detox is done (after a medical consultation), there is no rule of thumb, it depends on each person’s hunger level, and ability to refrain from eating over a few hours in a day, and make sure it does not result in a major pig out. Which is the reason I personally slowly come off the holiday bandwagon, I return to my normal eating habits, by slowly removing the fat and sugar filled options from my diet. I can do this in a number of ways, such as: I continue the holiday regime and remove the forbidden goods for just two days a week and continue until I reach a full 7 days, another option I have explored was removing one of the unhealthy ingredients from my menu and continuing the sequence by removing a new ingredient or food type each day until I am back to my normal eating routine, and of course the last but not least is the most extreme is fully returning to my clean eating plan cold turkey and allowing one cheat day, which in following weeks is reduced to 2 cheat meals, then 1 cheat meal, to just a cheat snack after which is completely removed. Nevertheless, I enjoy my chocolate brioche, mince pie, mulled wine and yorkshire pudding so to me unless I need to find alternatives due to severe health issues, it is a no brainer! Enjoy your delicious Christmas menu. Read my Christmas season articles in the Gourmet category for ideas! Merry Christmas! xxx