How to cope with holiday temptations

Mmmm. Cakes!

Mmmm. Cakes!

Right, Christmas is approaching rapidly, and for nearly all of us, this means eating more food, consuming more drink, and eating crap like it’s going out of fashion at an alarming rate. Yeah, I know you all want to eat what you want, and not care about things, and I covered that in last month’s blog here.

Look, it happens. You get invited to a party, someone brings a box of cakes to the office, or simply you work late and have to meet a deadline — you get home and have a take away. It happens to all of us (including me!), but can we try and plan our way through some of these issues.

Firstly, I’d like to point out the obvious: while it isn’t a great idea to go mad, stuff our faces and pile on the weight, it also isn’t bad to indulge at this time of year. So, there’s absolutely no need to beat yourself up because you’ve eaten a cake/mince pie/had a drink/stuffed your face with roast potatoes (I’ve added that one, because, that’s me!). Here are some top tips on how to cope with holiday temptations and not go off the rails!

  1. Take a look at your diary and see when your events are. Select a couple so that you can let loose at these. Maybe a friend is having a party and you want a few drinks then. Go for it! Maybe you want to eat more food than usual, choose a day or two for this. For me, I like Christmas Day and Boxing Day to indulge so I let loose then!

  2. Keep training. I think we’re waaaaay past the point that the off-season meant no training, we’re much more into training year round. There’s no reason why you can’t train either normally in December (or the Christmas period), or just make some minor alterations (short on time, get a 45-min high intensity interval session done. Or, go for a walk after Christmas dinner. Better still do both)

  3. Got a party in the evening? Drink (non-alcoholic) and eat (go for low fat and high protein) during the day to fill yourself up. Protein has a high satiety value and can fill you up. Don’t starve yourself prior to the party, as, for most people this will likely have you crack and go mad eating and drinking way too much.

  4. Look at what you’re eating and drinking (whether it’s a party or home). Lots of high fat, high sugar foods tend to be bad for most people as it starts off major cravings. Is there a buffet? Eat some crudites, look for a houmous to dip in. Fill your plate with better quality foods, such as veggies. Avoid triggers that tip you over the edge (being honest, I’m like a hyperactive child on E numbers if someone gives me a Starburst sweet — and I rapidly turn into the cookie monster. So i know to avoid these at all costs).

  5. Mix your drinks with water or similar, or alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. You’re more likely to be able to get up and do a ride the next day.

  6. Don’t stress about partying (or anything else) as this tends to make you eat more. Binge eating (and drinking) isn’t good at any time of the year. Relax. A couple of parties and food aren’t going to ruin your fitness or season.

  7. If you’ve hosted the party don’t keep any left over cakes etc. Give them out to other people to take home, spread the happiness and reduce your temptations to eat them

Have a nice time
Remember the holiday season doesn’t last for too long, so a few parties and over eating is fine. You’ll find that all athletes will have some reason at some point of the year to indulge. You’ll be fine. Don’t stress about it.

Me? You can bet that I’ll have a few too many roast potatoes on Christmas Day (and maybe even Boxing Day). I’ll go for a quick spin on Christmas morning (maybe just 30-mins), then Boxing Day I’ll hopefully get in 90 to 120 minutes of zone 1 and 2 endurance riding. Oh! And, I’ll eat a few chocolates as well!!

Richard Stern