By Zoe Bradbury
Christmas can be a joyous occasion for many, full of good food, drinks and family company. But days of excess indulging can often leave people feeling negative and down, like all their health and fitness results from the past year have gone to waste.
Leading dietician at Fitstop, one of Australia’s boutique fitness challenges, Claudia Cramer, says it’s a mindset people should try their best to avoid.
“Give yourself permission to have a break over the holidays, whether it be with training or nutrition,” she says
“I’d recommend people shouldn’t fall into the trap that one day of poor eating will ruin your progress, because it’s highly unlikely that will ruin all of someone’s hard work.”
Choosing healthy alternatives at the Christmas table can be the key to letting post-Xmas dinner guilt go. And don’t be afraid to eat that dessert if you want it.
Claudia suggests ensuring your plate is balanced and full of macro and micronutrients.
“Load up 50% of your plate with non-starchy vegetables and salads first,” she says
“Then add in some lean protein, such as turkey, ham or fish, and the rest of the plate can be starchy carbs such as potato.”
Claudia says the key is not to be restrictive and deny yourself of foods.
“If you don’t eat enough food, this can lead to feeling restricted and deprived, which can result in bingeing and overeating,” she says.
Having a healthy Christmas also pertains to feeling mentally well, regardless if one overeats.
Overeating isn’t the be all, end all, especially if it is only occurring on events such as Christmas and New Year’s, where time should be enjoyed with family over worrying about dieting.
While overeating can lead to bloating and feeling uncomfortable, Claudia says it is important to acknowledge the feeling is only temporary.
“Bloating won’t last forever, it’s only a temporary feeling and it will go away,” she says
“Once you get back into routine, everything will be fine. Enjoy the food now and enjoy the holiday.”
Claudia’s top strategies to beat the bloat include getting outside and exercising, even if it is something as gentle as a walk.
Stay hydrated, and is symptoms are particularly bad, try herbal teas.
“Herbal teas are great to help with feelings of bloating, because they get the digestive system moving so you can feel mentally and physically clearer,” she says.
With a plethora of desserts, Christmas chocolates and delicious sweets common over the Christmas table, it can be easy to give into sugar cravings and overeat.
Claudia says the easiest way to stop sugar cravings in their tracks isn’t to ignore them and restrict yourself, but choose healthier options.
“Options like dark chocolate, jelly and custard, or sorbet and fruit” are great healthier choices, she says
If you do want that piece of chocolate cake though, don’t deny and restrict yourself.
“If you want something that is more unhealthy, have a small portion, and move on,”
“Don’t obsess and worry over it, acknowledge you’re going to have a piece, enjoy it and move on.”
Home-made options are always better over store-bought, as healthier alternatives can be included, and you can be certain no added preservatives are bumping up the calories.
1/2 cup coconut oil (heated and melted)
½ cup smooth peanut butter
½ cup cacao powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1.Mix ingredients together and pour into a small lined container to put in the fridge (can line with baking paper).
2.Once filled, put the lid on and place in the fridge to set. Once it is set, cut into ~12 bite sized squares.
Feature image credit: Fitstop
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