A wonderful time of year where fun and debauchery seem to go hand-in-hand with our ever-so-flexible rubber arm. However, for all the fun and frivolity there's a darker side to the Christmas story. A one in which a jolly (fat) man comes down your chimney and showers you with gifts.
I'm sure we can all agree that Santa's a giver. A great personal quality when you're five and he gives you a Barbie house or a Supersoaker 3000. But if you're like me and of the legal age to enjoy a few tipples, then what Santa tends to smother you with is generally unwanted. Hangovers, sleepless nights, regretful decisions, and excess fat all seem to be top sellers in Santa's sack of sin.
Now, this isn't to say that it's not fun, I myself love this period leading up to Christmas and New Year, but it certainly takes it's toll on my health. And since I've personally been on Santa's naughty list (which when you're an adult is actually the nice list) for a fair few years, I've had some time to establish a set of strict rules to ensure that I can have my cake without it ruining too many of my hard-earned results.
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1. Find new friends
I'm joking, well, kind of. We both know which friends are fun for a few and which are a few for a fun too many. (No, that's not a grammatical error). I would suggest that over this period you become very selective in your social circle to ensure that you're able to break on through to the other side without burning your healthy bridges in the process.
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We've all heard the clichéd saying that 'if you fail to prepare, you're preparing to fail'. Yes, it's cheesy - but it's also true. And it's ever so tough being the social butterflies we are, right? So many events asking for our attendance that it's hard to decline the invite considering we know that it wouldn't be nearly as good without us.
But, of all the many events that we could go to, the amount that we actually should go to is a different story. Plan your events to ensure that you don't have too many late nights (or early mornings) or over consume too much food or booze. An easy way to plan is to ensure that tip #1 is always top of mind.
3. Maintain consistency
There's no doubt that our nutritional intake and training regime generally take a back seat over this period. But that doesn't mean we have to forget about it completely. Maintaining a 'non-negotiable' number of training days and healthy meals per day is a great way to stay accountable.
Just remember: it takes far less time and energy to correct something that's already moving than it does to move something that has become stationary (and potentially 3-5 kilos heavier).
4. Don't beat yourself up
Ah, it's all in good fun. Friends, family and a work-free environment should be enjoyed over this time. Don't beat yourself up too much if you fall off the wagon, just make sure you do something healthy about it as quickly as you can. Remember, life's short - eat the pavlova, drink the wine, and pass out on the couch.
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5. Set a date for the 'big day'
This is the key. Set a date for you to pull the pin on the silly season. Me, myself, and your liver believe this day should be somewhere in the vicinity of as-soon-after-new-years-day-as-humanly-possible. Start the new year off with a bang.
This means back to eating mindfully, having more alcohol-free days than alcohol-full days, and training with commitment and routine. Life doesn't have to go back to boring, either. It's just a good time to push the reset button and begin to think about the bigger picture when it comes to your long-term health.
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