Navigating Christmas

I thought this would be the perfect time to write this, Christmas carols are playing in the shops and even the Coca-Cola advert is back on the TV. So, what does this mean for average Joe?

An excuse. An excuse to eat more, drink more alcohol and under the guise of ‘it’s Christmas’.
Now don’t get me wrong, (if you put aside the materialism of it all), I love the general spirit of Christmas and I like a ‘GOOD’ mince pie and Christmas pudding like the next person but where I differ from Joe is that I don’t use it as an excuse and I’m on point with my nutrition 95% of the time. No, I’m not perfect but that’s the beauty of being in control. You can relax and have a PLANNED deviation from your day to day protocol without derailing all your efforts so far and leave you the day after Boxing day wondering where to start and oh, wait a minute, I might as well start after New Year!

Oh but they’re soooo good! or are they?

If you have subscribed to my page, you have done it to get leaner, stronger and faster for next season and how that happens is by following a structure.
In that structure planning is a major component so having a look ahead at the week and seeing what social events you have to/want to go to and make better choices.
Ultimately CALORIES ARE KING and if you are over eating from your targeted BMR you will put on body fat. So, be mindful that you need to take into consideration any extra treats you do allow. For example, a Sainsbury’s all butter mince pie has 240kCal, 8.5g Fat, and 24.8g Sugar. That’s before you put a good dollop of brandy butter on top. ONE SLICE of their Christmas cake is 268kCal, 5.3g Fat and a whopping 41.6g sugar!

Also bear in mind the other message I drum on about and that’s the VALUE OF CALORIES. Eating the numerous sweet treats on offer may taste great but will send your body’s blood sugar control mechanisms into overdrive, leading to HUGE insulin surges which will cause a crash later in the day, and that oh so tempting second mince pie more difficult to refuse. Make choices which will give you the best nutrient profile (bang for its buck) and keep you fuller for longer, help not hinder your metabolism and fat burning and make you come through Christmas feeling kick ass and training on point.

Another protocol I often recommend is to reduce calories the day before and the day after a big event so the net gain in calories is limited.

Now I’m going to touch on alcohol as most of us will partake in some over the next month. As with the food, I would say moderation, moderation, moderation. YAAAAWN but here’s why…….
Without getting too geeky, alcohol or Ethanol gets metabolized by the liver to acetate. Acetate is toxic which is why it gets immediate priority over fat, protein and carbohydrate as a fuel source. The problem with alcohol it’s a potent inhibitor of lipolysis – stops fat burning in its tracks and promotes dietary fat storage.

Most of us are not elite athletes but small improvements in day to day nutrition and training can make a much better machine of us come race day. So why would you want to go and get drunk, which will probably push us over our calorific target, probably make us eat more rubbish, have a detrimental effect on sleep which will increase physiological stress. This in turn will affect hormonal output, metabolism, fat burning and leave you struggling for days afterwards with lack of energy and quite often poor mood.

Again, I’d say it’s down to making better choices. I don’t drink often but when I do it’ll be a couple of glasses of a ‘REALLY GOOD’ red. Have ‘inbetweenies’! A pint of water in between drinks will help to limit any dehydration but will also make you feel full – less likely to drink more or binge on some crappy chuckwagon food at 1am.  If you really want to have a treat, use it as a that, and not an excuse to over-eat for the whole of December with the ‘I’ll start on Monday’ syndrome.

Keep on track and who knows, you could be getting those KOM’s on Strava!
You can make it work.

1 Comment

  1. Eleanor on 4th January 2018 at 9:47 am

    Thanks for the Christmas advice, Tim. I definitely ate more treats than all my initial good intentions but, unlike most Christmases, it was limited to a few days rather than stretching on for weeks of ‘oh, it’s Christmas’. I definitely feel like I have done less damage than normal, so thanks for helping me learn to do moderation 🙂

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