It is no secret that navigating nutrition during the Christmas season is harder than usual. This means that fat loss efforts become a bit more tricky too.
From Christmas foods to more alcohol. From socializing to less time for yourself and prepping. Things are not designed to be fat-loss-friendly during the holidays.
So what can you do?
In today’s blog, I share 12 ways or things you can do this festive season to help you navigate it better and improve your chances of staying on track with your fat loss.
1. Knuckle down on your protein intak
Protein is such a low hanging fruit that you do not have an excuse not to keep your protein game up during the Christmas season. Especially with how prevalent protein foods such as meats and dairy is during festive eating.
Keeping your protein adequate will help you feel more full, regulate total hunger, maintain metabolic balance, and help you ensure you keep your gains.
2. Focus on lean meats
This kind of links in with the above point but is a distinct strategy in itself. When choosing the meats to level up your protein in December, try and focus on prioritising lean meats more.
Reduce your intake of the fattier meats and processed meats that are less macro friendly and more caloric. Maintain a balance of both but mostly eat lean sources. Simples.
3. Limit liquid calories (go sugar free)
If you aren’t already making swaps to sugar free for your fat loss plan, now is the time to start.
Depending on how many soft drinks and cordials you will be drinking this Christmas, you could be shaving off and saving yourself multiple hundreds in calories just with this strategy alone.
Reduce or avoid drinking your calories this festive season to make it just that bit more easy to maintain a deficit or not go into a surplus…all while still enjoying the foods and celebrations. Indirect calorie control, anyone?
4. Maintain a movement regimen
It is no secret we all become a bit more lazy once the festive season kicks in. From quite literally being too busy to keep the sweat up, to just feeling like you can relax or should relax…movement tends to drop.
A drop in movement means you become sedentary which is linked with increased weight gain and makes losing weight harder because you are expending less (while often eating more) than usual.
So one low hanging fruit is to maintain your regimen in some way. Keep going to the gym? Play some sports? Maybe level up your walking? Choice is yours.
5. Level up your veggie game
Cliché and a boring recommendation, yes.
An effective one that works, though? Certainly.
Increasing your veggies and prioritizing them will ensure you reduce the amount of calories you can eat by filling yourself up or by making your portions more fat loss friendly.
6. Plate It, Then Eat It! Strategy
When it comes to Christmas parties, the way we celebrate and eat differs. However it is not uncommon to have a social gathering with many finger foods and platters which promotes mindless eating and finger food indulgences.
These kinds of eating situations can easily lead to a mindless eating behaviour and lead you to eat more calories than you expect.
So what you can do is quite simple but effective. Plate it first, then eat it!
7. Slow down eating speed (pace yourself)
The quicker one eats, the less satiety will occur. In other words, if you eat quickly you will over-ate before you realise you have had enough.
That is why slowing down eating speed is a very effective way to ensure you can enjoy the foods you want but more mindfully. Mindfulness is a key theme in this list, in case you haven’t realised.
8. Eat to satiety, not forced indulgence (aka Indulge mindfully)
Very similar to the above point but still distinct, this one is crucial as it impacts so many of us. Indulging mindfully is a very effective way to balance out the enjoyment of festive eating with the key to fat loss maintenance - mindful eating.
People will tend to indulge for the sake of indulgence and eat beyond their limits - even comfort wise. While you can do this and shouldn’t feel guilty, you can not expect to stay on track with fat loss if that is your goal.
So eat whatever it is you are eating, to satiety. Not forced indulgence. Indulge mindfully.
9. Limit alcohol consumption (especially on an empty tummy)
Alcohol is a staple of Christmas feasting so it warrants consideration when talking about nutrition.
The caloric load from alcohol is not small and when you consider how it is consumed (on top of your normal intake and it does not down regulate hunger), you quickly see why managing it can be important for reducing unnecessary bodyfat gain.
This Christmas, try and reduce the amount you drink, drink reduced alcohol versions, or simply at least try and not drink on an empty stomach.
10.Hydrate Yo Self!
Hydration is important all year long. However, it is still common for hydration levels to be lacking. So we need to make sure we still drink enough fluids - namely from water.
Especially with Christmas in Australia here being during summer, dehydration risk is higher which means there is an increased risk of health issues AND for the dehydration to mask itself as hunger.
So regulate your hunger but also upping your water. And maybe the calories will be indirectly controlled a lot more effectively too.
11.Get in your Zzz's (maintain sleep hygiene and routine)
Sleep is key for health and functionality. However, it also plays a big part in regulating how you go about your nutrition.
A lack of sleep can lead to a imbalance between Ghrehlin and Leptin - the hunger and satiety hormones, respectively. So poor sleep can lead to you overeating more than you otherwise would during the day.
Therefore, it goes without saying that better sleep = better nutrition and calorie control.
12.Embrace the mantra of "Experience First, Bounce Back Next"
Last but definitely not least. We have the saying i like to tell people this time of the year…
Experience first, bounce back next.
In other words, make sure you do focus on enjoying Christmas and the time you are spending with loved ones. Enjoy the food. Don’t feel guilty. Celebrate. Eat. Laugh. Experience.
Then bounce back on track the next day and do your best to get back into the plan of action. When in doubt, use this. As long as you do not go days and weeks indulging, it is unlikely you will completely derail yourself.
So just focus on getting back on track the next day as quickly as you can, and learn from it all. You will be fine.
There you go!
Now you equipped with 12 strategies/tools you can wield this festive season to help you navigate the nutrition space better and hopefully achieve better control over your diet - in turn staying on track with your fat loss.
Consider it my present to you. From Nutrition Santa.
However, before I leave you…I do want to ask you some things because maybe you need someone you be your guide on this journey once next year kicks into gear…
Do you feel you need expert guidance when it comes to your fuelling, recovery, and nourishment?
Not seeing the body you feel happier, healthier, and more confident in?
Performance lagging like an early 2000’s dial up internet setup?
I may be able to be of assistance.
If you are ready to take your nutrition and body to the next level and elevate your performance in a way that doesn’t make you want to punch your Sports Dietitian, then let’s chat.
I have developed a bespoke nutrition coaching solution that allows you to work with me personally 1:1 to help start bridging the gap between where you are now and where you want to be with your physique & performance.
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If you want to have someone in your corner guiding you with all this, ensuring you only focus on the ‘right stuff’, and get better results while doing it all… send me an email and let’s chat.
I do high level nutrition coaching for active professionals and athletes and I have spots open for new clients wanting to leverage the power of nutrition with a Sports Dietitian
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Brisbane Sports Dietitian and Nutritionist
Hi there! My name's Aleksa Gagic - i'm a Brisbane Sports Dietitian & Brisbane Sports Nutritionist. I have 7+ years experience in providing professional nutrition consulting and want to help you learn about the power of flexible nutrition.