The Christmas period is synonymous with over indulgence in every way. The back lash to all this festive fun is the ever-expanding waistline, and the inaugural dieting resolution that we must endure for the subsequent months.
Therefore, I have devised these 12 simple steps to mitigate the inevitable fat gain and have aptly named them the 12 days of Christmas dieting.
Day 1. Start as you mean to carry on
Fat loss, muscle gain and general fitness all have something in common, they all need to start the same way, with a solid nutrition plan. Firstly, there is no point trying to diet around Christmas. I am a seasoned pro at fat loss and muscle gain, I rarely go north of 10% body fat (The Fat Al part is thankfully ironic). However, there are so many social occasions, dinners with friends & family, nights out, not to mention Christmas day itself. It is nigh on impossible to avoid over eating or having some kind of junk food thrust upon you.
To deal with this conundrum you need to understand something about eating behaviour and learn to employ a couple of tactics to help avoid the overeating. If you frequently miss meals or are sporadic with your eating, you will more likely binge eat when given the chance. If however, you are already in the habit of eating regularly i.e. have solid nutrition plan in place, it will prevent food cravings caused by drops in blood sugar levels and you will in turn snack less.
Eating frequently also raises your metabolism. This means, if you have a higher metabolism your body is burning calories at a higher rate. For example, a person with a low metabolism maybe going about their day with their body is running at 50 kcal per hour. A person with a higher metabolism maybe having the same day but their body is running at 100 kcal per hour. Therefore, a high metabolism will lessen potential fat gain from over eating.
For most people, I'd recommend that you aim to eat five times a day. This is consuming some food every 3-3.5 hours. This will keep your blood sugar managed and keep your metabolism from slumping. As you get used to eating regularly your hormones that respond to hunger, fullness and releasing body-fat start to work more efficiently. This is in turn keeps you on an even keel, and, on top of that if in one of your meals you do overeat or have some junk food, your body is far better equipped to manage the excesses and is less likely to store it all way in the form of a bigger gut.
Secondly, by eating more frequently, it allows you to occasionally switch out a normal meal with a more social meal as you would have eaten at that time anyway.
The take home message for day 1 of Christmas dieting is, go into the Christmas period eating frequently, carry on through Christmas eating frequently and keep eating frequently after Christmas. It may seem dichotomous to tell you to eat to stay lean, but, it is however the truth.
Look out of Day 2 of the 12 days of Christmas dieting.
Keep on liftin' Ali 'Fat Al' Stewart
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