Christmas party season is awesome. It’s a great chance to catch up with family and non BJJ friends as well as a rare opportunity for your friends from the gym to see you out of your gi and in something a little more glamorous! Plus for me it’s my birthday and my friends birthday so basically December ends up have the potential of being one long excuse to eat and drink! But the Euros is creeping up and even if it wasn’t the more weight you sneakily put on now the more you’ll have to lose in the new year which can make anyone miserable!
Last year I enjoyed myself a little bit too much which meant I had three weeks pretty hard dieting before the Euros which I’m determined not to repeat this year. So I thought I’d share some of the tips and tricks I’ve used throughout the year and how I’m trying to use them to limit the damage whilst still having a great festive season.
Manage Your Diary
Gym events, work events, family events, nights out with friends the list is endless. You need to plan which nights you have to go to (and can’t avoid) and which you want to go to. Plus some invitations are guaranteed to clash automatically losing a few from your diary. From there I look in my diary and pick out the nights where I actually will want to let my hair down. I’ll be honest I do like to have a drink once in awhile with my friends and on my birthday so I basically plan around that! I know alcohol is basically empty calories but this is about balance as well not just performance!
Certain nights due to their location, timings or just because I’m saving myself for another event means that I will volunteer to be a designated driver. Drink driving isn’t something I’d ever mess with so it’s a guaranteed way to stick to my plan and not drink saving lots of lovely calories. Although I’ll be honest I might still have dessert! Plus on the positives everyone gets home safely and my friends love not having to get a taxi!
Basically make sure you eat sensibly during the day. I know it’s common sense but starving yourself during the day won’t help for a number of reason. Firstly if your starving then you’ll want to eat everything in sight and any good intentions regarding your diet will go out of the window! Secondly if it’s a corporate event its even more important to eat especially if you’re not too sure about the meal (mass catering). Actually consider eating beforehand or even stick a cheeky protein bar in your handbag (yup I’ve actually done it). It better to snaffle that whilst your “outside making a call” than going hungry or having to fill up on the bread basket to survive the night.
Restaurant Choices / Scope the Menu
Not all menus are equal and some are more diet friendly than others. One gym I know tends to go to a Brazilian BBQ / Steakhouse which is great as a have a high meat / protein diet. Another always visits a chinese buffet – a bit more tricky due to the chocolate fountain and my love of noodles but again lots of healthier options. If you can’t influence where you are eating have a look at the menu in advance (most are online). At least then you have the time to make an informed choice and not get rushed into an impulsive decision on the night.
I am a huge believer in the 80 / 20 rule. Life is about balance and that should apply to your diet too. This blog isn’t about avoiding fun or pleasure! I aim to eat healthily about 80% of the time which means that I am able to have a takeaway at weekend or go out for a meal. Using this rule is even more useful at this time of year as it makes planning your xmas nights out a little easier if you use them as your 20% i.e. cheat meals. Yes I still try and make intelligent choices when I’m eating out but it also means my diet hasn’t gone out of the window if I’m a little naughty!
It’s not for everyone as I know some team mates are all or nothing and they just can’t handle any cheat meals so stay clean eating all of the time. The best way of describing it is that they don’t just fall of the wagon but that they can literally wake up in a bathtub of nutella with a sugar hangover.But for me it’s the opposite, a little of what I fancy is literally what stops me committing total carbicide!
Home & Work Preparation
This is linked to the 80/20 rule. Don’t let having a cheat day result into a cheat weekend or cheat week. Keep your food focused at home and in the office. Especially in the office as there is nothing more tricky than avoiding the chocolate brought in or the meeting mince pies. One of the helpful things to keep an eye on this is tracking my food which brings me onto the next point.
Track Your Food
Resist the temptation to stop tracking your food. You might think there is no point as we all know that 3 course meal with wine is going to take you over your calories for the day. Yes it probably will but not always by as much as you think especially if you’ve trained earlier the day and made sensibly ish choices. I find there is something reassuring about knowing that yeah I’ve had a cheat day but it actually wasn’t that bad and I had everything I actually wanted to eat! Plus it’s about habit as mentioned above tracking helps me stop a cheat day turning into a cheat week! If you don’t track your food I recommend My Fitness Pal as a free version.
I love xmas and I love food so this is a tricky time of year for me! But with these tips I find that I can limit the damage, still train well and not have a miserable pre-competition period or at least that’s my plan! I just hope my tips and tricks are useful to someone else too!
Photo Credit – My Fitness Pal