December is here and everyone seems to be getting anxious about the upcoming Christmas parties, drinks nights, family dinners, holidays away and the BIG day!
How am I going to stay on track?
How am I going to track my macros?
How am I going to track the food I didn't cook?
How am I going to get through this Christmas party?
Life shouldn't be about scales and measuring. It is to be enjoyed with friends and family and that does involve food and alcohol.
So how do you find the balance with life and the body you want??
Firstly, this time of year doesn't mean that you have to go backwards with your health and fitness goals.
It also doesn't need to be an excuse to eat and drink yourself silly.
It also doesn't mean that you avoid those occasions either, go into hiding or be the bore in the corner or sober Sally.
People overthink and stress about this time of year but its very simple, you can do one of two things.
a) Not give a shit and eat and drink until your heart is content. Be totally ok with putting on 5kg and start a new in January (I'm sure this is not want you want!)
Managing your expectations:
The first thing you need to get right is managing your expectations.
You are not going goto lose 5kg's over December. Simple as that, It is very difficult to lose body fat in December.
Purely because there are far more social occasions in one period than any other time of the year. And you want to be enjoying this time of year not dieting!
I have been explaining to my clients that this time of year isn't about losing but maintaining where you are right now whilst still enjoying social occasions, guilt-free and anxious free.
I'm not saying it's not possible to lose body fat over December, I'm saying that if you choose to eat, drink and be merry over this time then let's get a little more realistic with the results you expect to see.
By managing your expectations you are not setting yourself up for failure if you don't see a decrease in the scales over the next month. You are also going to enjoy this time of year far more without the stress of having to perform a certain way.
Rather the opposite, in that you will start the new year feeling pretty good, knowing you stayed on track, didn't avoid any social events and didn't overeat.
Having the right mindset before going out to an event, dinner, drinks function is imperative. Are you telling yourself I'm going to smash 4 cocktails get wasted and just not going to track anything today?
Or are you preparing yourself for what's to come, planning how you can enjoy a drink or two and still stay on track?
Do you plan you macros for that day the night before, decide if your drinking and how much food you're sacrificing for alcohol.
Do you eat before going to a drinks function and allocate X amount of carbs to a few glasses of wine, you are setting yourself up for exactly that, when that 3rd glass is offered to you you are more inclined to say no, just like saying no to the canapés as you are full from the dinner you ate before coming out.
If you, however, didn't plan ahead, didn't eat before heading out, you are more likely to a) overeat on canapés and still feel hungry and b) say yes to the 4th 5th and 6th glass of wine plus the cocktails that got passed around.
If you know you have a dinner out plan your meals for the day around this, save some of your fats and carbs for dinner, have protein and veggie/salads based meals during the day. Keep these meals calorie conscious but tasty with low-calorie sauces.
If you know you're going to drink, decide how much you want to drink and how many calories you're prepared to sacrifice for alcohol. Trust me when you sit down and work this out you will much rather eat cake for the number of carbs you lose in alcohol.
Let me tell you once you realise how much food you have to sacrifice for a drink you tend to think twice about it. But here is a summary of how to track alcohol.
1g carb: 4 calories 1g fat: 9 calories 1g protein: 4 calories
1g fibre: 2-3g calories and finally... 1g alcohol: 7 calories
If a drink represents 150calories, we can take this from either carbs or/and fats.
Carbs - 150calories from alcohol taken off carbs (150 divided by 4) = 38g (rounded up from 37.5). For a glass of wine that provides 150 calories, this is equal to 38g carbs.
Fats - 150calories from alcohol taken off fats (150 divided by 9) = 17 (rounded up from 16.6). For a glass of wine that provides 150 calories, this is equal to 17g fats.
So let's say your daily macros are P120 F80 C150. You plan to have 2 x150ml glasses of white wine on Christmas day. Each glass of wine worth 150 calories.
So depending on your total daily macros decide which macronutrient you want to deduct from.
As you can see, it really doesn't leave you with much room for Christmas pudding!
So you know you have a big day of eating and drinking and you want to be able to track this and stay on target but you don't think you will have enough macros leftover for this meal.
So this is where you can 'borrow' macros from another day or days.
Example, your macros are P140 F70 C200. You would usually have 5 small meals.
You know Christmas day at your parents is always full on and you love your mums cooking, there will be Christmas pudding and wine. Even if you just had 3 meals that day and saved most of your fats and carbs for dinner you know you won't have enough to cover it.
So you can reduce your carbs and fats for 1-2 days prior. Carbs 50g and Fats 10g for 2 days before will give you an extra C100g and F20g to your meal.
Macros for Christmas day would look like this P140 F90 C300.
Now all you need to do is plan your day. Start with alcohol, how much are you planning to drink and then deduct it from fats or carbs as per the calculation above.
Have a protein + plant breakfast or even skip breakfast and extend your overnight fast. Personally, I would eat something light, if I skipped breakfast I'm hungry and when I'm hungry I just want to eat not think about it, this equals poor decisions.
You can apply this thought process without needing to track your diet. As long as you decide ahead of time how many drinks you would like, know how much that does look like in a calorie total, then just be mindful to keep your meals largely lean protein and plant-based you will be fine.
Christmas period is a busy social time and this social time is around food and drink. You will expect to consume more in a day than normal with Christmas parties and family gathering, these few days won't be the end of the work if you have some consideration to your food choices around the events the days either side of them.
Protein and plant meals will allow you to stay satiated, whilst calorie-conscious. I am a big fan of egg white omelettes and 200g veggies with salsa or ajvar for flavour.