7 Tips from a Personal Trainer to Avoid Weight Gain over Christmas
Christmas holidays are right behind the corner. For many of us, it can be a stressful period and not only because of gifts but mostly because of all the food and possible weight gain. Do you feel like every year you turn into a sweet soft cake with eggnog on top? There are two types of fitness enthusiasts: those who see Christmas as any other day, perhaps they allow themselves to indulge a bit more and those who must restrict themselves from Saint Nicholas Day up until Christmas Eve. It requires practice and positive thinking to become a member of the first group. Our NEBBIA Girl and personal trainer Klaudia Mikitkova will let you in on some tips to avoid ruining your fitness progress over the holidays. With these tips, you will start the new year without gaining any extra weight! As a bonus, there is a recipe for healthy honey cookies at the end.
Eat without Food Guilt and Weight Gain
As a personal trainer, I care about my clients’ progress over the holidays just as much as I do during the rest of the year. I understand that we are only human and when we were kids Christmas time had been about great food and sitting in front of the TV. It can take years to create new habits associated with Christmas. I personally slow down as well and I dedicate this period to rest, I avoid hardcore training sessions at the gym, and I have fun while baking healthy desserts. I enjoy the company of my family and the delicious Christmas menu. However, on New Year’s Day, I step on the scale and with a smile on my face, I get off. Thanks to these tips I avoid weight gain!
1. FIND WAYS TO DO PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
If you stop doing any physical activity for a longer period, it can lead to an increased amount of body fat, and you can get out of shape. You can prevent this by doing any physical activity for 30 to 60 minutes a day. Just taking a walk for half an hour is very helpful and it can lift you up mentally too. You should do at least the famous 10 000 steps a day, for example, try going out for a walk or a hike with your loved ones.
2. TRAINING ROUTINE
There are plenty of excuses for not working out over the holidays, trust me, I can relate too. Every day guests are coming over; you have to prepare desserts and treats and a little bit of cleaning up wouldn’t hurt either. If you have a training plan, it’s important to do your best and stick to it. Plant your training sessions ahead and try doing them in the morning when there are no guests nor other responsibilities. The more you move in the morning, the more energy output you will have during the rest of the day. You don’t have to go to the gym; a home workout can be just as effective. The crucial part is to keep moving and have your routine.
3. NOT ALL ALCOHOLIC DRINKS ARE CREATED EQUAL
During the holidays we drink more than usual. If you look at the traditional eggnog that contains a high amount of sugar and fat and your drink one bottle of eggnog a day, it can add up to 600 extra calories and with all the cakes and sweets and the traditional potato salad, it can cause damage to your figure. There is no reason to panic since alcohol in lower quantities is no problem. I recommend drinking dry white wine which is a low-calorie beverage compared to the eggnog.
4. BE MINDFUL AND AVOID OVEREATING
I always say to my clients that Christmas is not about overeating and laziness. Your body functions the same way as on any ordinary day. Enjoy your dinner just as you would normally, have that dessert if you like and stop. There is no need for gluttony. Remind yourself that if you ignore all the rules during the holidays, on the 1st of January you will have to come to terms with the number you will see on the scale and the significantly larger distance between the button and its hole on your pants.
5. EAT ONLY WHAT YOU LIKE
We all have our Christmas favourites. I love wafers with brittle cream, of course, I eat them in moderation. Eat only what you truly love, say no to things that you don’t really like. You can have your favorite dessert but skip the taste testing of others and instead try some healthier snacks. Have nuts or fruit, eat regularly, and give adequate time to your body to digest all the food.
6. PLAN AHEAD
It can be anything from training sessions, outdoor activities, to your meals, plan it all accordingly! If you’re trying to lose weight, you have to be aware of what you eat at all times. Write down your menu for a given day, the exact weight of ingredients in grams is unnecessary. This trick will help you become more aware of what you eat and avoid binge eating. Plus, if you plan your training sessions, you can say goodbye to excuses since you’ve already scheduled them.
7. ENJOY EVERY MOMENT
There is no reason for panic, don’t beat yourself up because you ate white flour and fried fish. If you start overthinking, there is a higher chance of doing endless trips to the potato salad bowl. I am excited about Christmas and the traditions that come with it too. My festive dinner table is filled with Christmas wafers, potato salad, cabbage soup and bombalky (a dish made with sweet bread). I have a bit of everything! A cheat day such as this one is completely fine because I am aware that I eat these meals once a year and I fasted the whole day beforehand. Follow these tips and enjoy the holidays without worrying about gaining extra weight.
HEALTHY HONEY COOKIES recipe from a personal trainer
Cookies are an integral part of Christmas. If you like preparing healthier versions of traditional dishes, you can replace white sugar with honey, white flour with spelt or whole grain flour and instead of using mayo in the potato salad you can use white yoghurt. My number one is honey cookies, and this is my recipe for the healthier alternative:
250 grams of spelt flour, 50 grams of coconut oil, 50 grams of honey, 50 grams of cane sugar, 50 grams of ground walnuts, 6 grams of baking powder, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of honey cookies spice mix, 1 egg for coating
Preheat the oven to 175 °C and line your baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small pot, melt the coconut oil together with honey. In a bigger bowl mix spelt flour and the remaining dry ingredients. Next, you pour the melted oil with honey into the mixture and add the egg. Mix it all together until you get a nice firm dough, in case it is too sticky just add more flour. Leave the dough to rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Afterwards, you roll it out and with cookie cutters make all kinds of cookie shapes. Brush the top of the raw cookies with the egg wash and let them bake in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes. Be careful to not overbake them or else they will become hard. Store them in a closed container.
Merry Christmas to NEBBIA fans and to all who love a healthy lifestyle.