Liam Mahoney explains how to avoid too much temptation over the holiday period
Self-control? But what about the mince pies, advent calendars, festive parties, and not to mention the free flowing booze!? Whilst the lead up to Christmas and New Year seems like a perfect excuse to overindulge, many of us will want to salvage the hard work we’ve put into our clean-eating this year and exercise some self-control to limit the damage.
The brutal truth is that the average person consumes an extra 500 calories each day over the Christmas period, so don’t let that be you. To lend a helping hand, top nutritionist, Liam Mahoney from leading sports nutrition brand, Grenade shares his six top tips to help you exercise self-control and avoid feeling full of regret come January:
1. Is it worth it?
Whilst surrounded by festive treats this Christmas, mentally take a step back and look at what is in front of you, and whether it is worth how you will feel later on. A lot of festive food is loaded with calories, fat and sugar, so when feeling unmotivated and tempted by a slice of yule log, take 10 seconds to really think about it. Is it worth it? Is there something else that you could have that will satisfy you without leaving you with the unwanted guilt? Chances are there will be something else which will satisfy your craving, or at worst opt for half a portion, so you can still indulge, but with less guilt.
2. Be prepared
Snacking is a common habit for most people, and is an opportunity to consume healthy nutrients, and fuel your body with what it needs to perform at its best. Unfortunately, this is difficult at Christmas time when you are surrounded by a plethora of delicious foods. To help avoid temptation, carry a healthy, protein-packed snack with you so there’s always an alternative to unhealthy festive foods. I’d recommend a Carb Killa® protein bar from Grenade. These bars are just 220 calories but loaded with protein and fibre to really fill you up, give you energy and also provide a sweet treat without the sugar which won’t make you feel like you’re missing out.
3. Master your mind-set
Christmas is a limited period, with a set end date, and this means many see it as a reason to overindulge and get into the ‘Christmas Spirit’. For those of you trying to exercise self-control, you need to change this mind-set. We get involved in festivities all year round, including Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and Bank Holidays, and that’s before we even consider how much we consume over birthdays, holidays and other celebrations. Once you realise that every ‘special’ occasion does not need to be an excuse to over eat, you will find it a lot easier to restrain yourself from indulging over Christmas.
4. Stay active
Our social lives are often busier in December than they are throughout the whole year, and as a result going to the gym can become last on your list of priorities. However, working out and staying active over the festive season can really help you to exercise self-control, and stay on track. Firstly, you will feel more motivated not to binge on the unhealthy treats, as you will not want to ruin the hard work you’ve put in at the gym. Secondly, any treats you will have had can be counteracted at the gym, so you do not need to feel too bad.
5. Keep moderation in mind
That’s right, sweet treats can be consumed in moderation during the festive period. It’s Christmas, no one should be telling you not to enjoy yourself. Everything at Christmas can be eaten, in moderation. That means not eating the whole biscuit tin in one go, rather, enjoy one. This way you will still be able to enjoy the festive foods but will also avoid over-eating.
6. Fuel up before you head out
You’re less likely to make wise food choices when you’re hungry. It’s alright to be a little bit hungry if you know that there is going to be food where you’re going but arriving ravenous is often a big mistake. If you’re too hungry you won’t be able to resist temptation and it’s incredibly likely you’ll overindulge, eating anything in sight to curb the hunger pangs. Before any Christmas event, it’s advisable to have a small, healthy meal or snack, this will help you to avoid temptation and make smarter choices when it comes to treating yourself.