6 proven ways to stick to your plan during the busy festive party season.

By James Belbin & John Berardi, Ph.D.

Its December 5th.  Officially the first day we can all start talking about Christmas.

No matter your denomination, the festive season in the UK affects all of our health and vitality in some way or another.

Whether you party hard or hide in fear of all the celebrations, stress and anxiety play a huge part in our daily lives for much of December and well into January. 

Holiday preparations, family visits, epic meals and momentous drinking (if thats you’re thing)… end-of-the-year festivities combined with our winter can make it feel impossible to get any consistent movement in, inevitable weight gain, landing on January 1st with an epic hangover.

That’s why we put together this Festive Survival Guide.

If summer bodies are built in winter, then we have some tips to help you navigate the season effectively.

It’s packed with the tips and tricks we use to help ProCoach Coaching clients prioritise health, fitness, and nutrition no matter what life — including the festive season — throws at them.

We have fine tuned these over the past 3 or 4 years to ensure our own festive enjoyment hasn’t de-railed our goals.  

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Life can be calm and collected.

Or it can be frenetic and crazy.

The festive season, of course, offers a healthy dose of the latter.

Indeed, my partner and I have a nine month old  — and are due to move to a new house on or around the 21st December this year — so this Christmas will be our first with a little one, the first in our new home together, and if you have any knowledge of the English housing market (its terribly un-reliable), we could not be moving at all!!  The stress has been gently intensifying over the past 2 months and will build and build until the day it all happens.

So, you should see our flat now.  As we pack ready for the move, but not knowing the date yet, everything is chaos.  Nothing can be truly put in a box as we continually hunt for something we may (or may not) have packed.  This will continue for the next two weeks as we wait patiently for our move date from the solicitors.

Half deconstructed beds and wardrobes, bag-for-lives full of bath accessories for our baby.  It’s a wonder we can get out the front door most days. (and we live on the 3rd floor).  Exhausting just typing this.

It’s really NOT fun and it challenges our preferred eating and movement schedules.

But through the past four years of coaching we have come up with some great coaching practices…

We teach these strategies to our ProCoach Coaching clients to help them get the most health and fitness — along with fun and joy — out of their own festive season.

And, today, I get to share this “Festive Survival Guide” with you.

Precision Nutrition often say that your food and fitness strategies should be designed for your most hectic days — not just the easy, or perfect, ones.

So use these five, free, downloadable infographics (plus one short article) to eat and move more intentionally during the festive season. I promise you’ll be feeling strong, confident, and in control no matter how frantic your days.

Festive Survival Tool #1
Article: Eat slowly and to “satisfied” instead of “stuffed”

The most effective (and sanity-preserving) tool for festive eating may also be the simplest one: Eat slowly. (And stop at “satisfied”, instead of “stuffed”).  This one goes particularly well with those big meal times with colleagues.  Enjoy your food, eat well, but eat it slowly.  Stop and talk to your colleagues.  Make a deal with yourself before you go to speak to everyone during the meal.  Small things create great results.

This strategy helps you avoid overeating for two main reasons:

  • Physiological
    It takes 15-20 min for your digestive system to let your brain know that you’re satisfied. Slowing down a meal allows that to happen before you overeat.
  • Psychological
    When you slow down, “sense into”, and savor your food, you feel content with much less. This means you’ll eat less but enjoy what you’ve eaten more.

Indeed, when eating slowly (and stopping at “satisfied” instead of “stuffed”) you can try all the delicious foods on grandma’s buffet without guilt or needing to “work it off later”.

For more tips on how (and why) to eat slowly during holiday food fests, check out Precision Nutrition’s full article on the topic, All about eating slowly.

Festive Survival Tool #2
Infographic: How to stay in shape when you’re busy

It’s one of the most common patterns we see among incoming clients: People who want to get (and/or stay) fit will exercise diligently for months, only to get derailed by the holidays and “fall off the wagon” for the entire year.  Only to start another cycle in January and repeat throughout the year.

That’s why we came up with this simple workout, which you can do no matter where the holidays take you.

This plan takes only a few minutes a day, it requires minimal or no equipment, and it focuses on compound exercise (big muscles, big movements) which makes it very effective when you want a good movement session but have limited time.

To sneak in quick, effective workouts , check out How to stay in shape when you’re busy [Infographic].

Holiday Survival Tool #3
Infographic: Eating well on the go.

The end of the year has most people bouncing from supermarket to mall to party to recital — not to mention the planes, trains, and automobiles routine if you’re traveling.

When you’re on the go, it can feel like navigating a nutritional minefield: Hunger signals overpowering, junk food everywhere, little time to sit down and eat your veggies.

Challenging, of course, but not impossible. With smart strategies you can eat well on the go no matter where life takes you.

To learn how to maintain your nutrition habits even while running around this holiday season, check out 25 ways to eat well on the go [Infographic].

Holiday Survival Tool #4
Infographic: How (and why) to make the perfect Super Shake

What’s a Super Shake? It’s a nutrient-packed, delicious, liquid meal that you can whip up and drink while you help a 4-year-old glue googly eyes on felt reindeers.

You see, letting yourself get too hungry is one of the best ways to end up over-drinking and overeating. And during the holidays, you don’t always have the time to prep a nice, balanced plate of protein, veggies, fruit, and healthy fats.

Since Super Shakes include all four, they’re satisfying + nourishing. And they’re really easy to make.

For quick, healthy, filling, multitasking-friendly liquid meals, check out How (and why) to make the perfect Super Shake [Infographic].

Holiday Survival Tool #5
Infographic: The best calorie control guide

Want to get through the holidays without losing strength? Without gaining extra weight and body fat? That’s all possible.

Sure, it’ll feel difficult with all that calorie-dense food in front of you. But your health can survive another year of Mom’s incredible roast potatoes and Grans perfect Raspberry Pavlova if you just eat slowly and pay attention to portions.

No, no… not calorie counting. That’s often annoying, impractical, and inaccurate, especially at Christmas dinner. So try our “hand measure” system instead.

To learn how to use your hands to measure the best portions for you, check out The best calorie control guide [Infographic].

Holiday Survival Tool #6
Infographic: 3 steps for prepping (and loving) your veggies

Another effective strategy to avoid gaining weight and body fat during the holidays? Eat lots and lots of veggies. They’re water-dense, calorie-sparse, and full of the nutrients you need to keep your energy and mood up for holiday party #17.

The only problem? Many people don’t love the taste of veggies, especially compared to ultra-palatable holiday food.

That’s why we recruited our top food magicians to create a simple 3-step formula for prepping healthy veggies in a way that’s delicious enough for a banquet table. Trust me, these have converted even the most hardcore veggie-phobes.

To cook lots of healthy, delicious veggies this season check out 3 steps for prepping (and loving) your veggies [Infographic].

Want to eat better in just 7 days?

 

Drop us your email and download our start eating better challenge immediately

With 100s of recipe combos, nutrition tips and portion sizing we can improve your nutrition in just 7 days.

  Our top clients always get started with this guide.

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