Christmas, the time of contemplation, anticipation – and eating. However, the holidays are not an excuse to get fat. This guide is for everyone who wants their pants to fit after the holidays. I’ll explain how you should approach Christmas, give you tips for different situations and, above all, explain what’s going on in your body.
Let me give you a little all-clear beforehand : If you don’t overdo it with the food, the days around Christmas won’t hurt you much in terms of weight – so don’t drive yourself crazy. It is important to spend the time calmly, but with caution.
For the fitness freaks among us: At Christmas you can also eat a little more and / or skip a training session. You don’t get fat right away, and your muscles don’t shrink right away if you eat something “bad” or if you are out of the gym. Even if you don’t exercise for a week, you won’t lose any muscle mass. For everyone else, here are a few helpful tips and suggestions to get through the Christmas season a little lean:
Your guide for the holidays
1. The pre-Christmas season
It makes no sense to try desperately on the days before Christmas to gain an advantage with diets or starvation, and then lay on lazy skin on the holidays and all in rough quantities to devour. Keyword: yo-yo effect. Stage athletes are familiar with this phenomenon: if they are not careful, they will gain the weight or even more in a few days after their competition that they had laboriously lost over several weeks.
Tip: Stay away from crash diets (cabbage soup, FdH, etc.) before Christmas (and otherwise!) and instead let persistence. Better to do something for your health and body all year round. If you don’t see the Christmas season as a free ticket for endless feasting, nothing can happen to you.
2. Mulled wine, punch and Co.
You should greatly reduce alcoholic, sweet drinks or, best of all, simply omit them completely. Alternatively, you can use an alcohol-free and sugar-reduced variant – how about a nice hot fruit tea, for example? A children’s punch made from purely natural ingredients without added sugar is a good alternative.
Why? There is a lot of alcohol and sugar in mulled wine, punch etc.
Alcohol works Toxic in the body (poisonous) and can lead to cell damage up to severe brain and, as is known, liver damage. This does not refer to drinking several times a week, but to alcohol itself. This means that whenever you bring alcohol to yourself, there is an interaction between it and the protein in the cells, which disrupts their function.
In addition, alcohol can easily get into the brain, where it damages nerve cells. The fact is, the more you drink, the more likely you’ll experience these disorders.
The only positive aspect of alcohol is the social component of sociability, which is a stress reliever for many people. Of course, you don’t have this effect when you drink alone.
The excessive amount of sugar it contains ensures that your fat burning is stopped immediately because your body now stores a large part of the energy supplied and no longer has to tap into the reserves. This is not a problem at first, as this happens with every food intake. The problem, however, is that the high amount of sugar that is consumed at once causes an abrupt, strong rise in the blood sugar level and thus a high level of insulin.
The insulin enables the storage of sugar (including fat). The more insulin there is in the blood, the more is therefore stored. These large fluctuations also lead to food cravings. The bad thing is that your pancreas (which releases the insulin) is overworked as a result, especially if the fluctuations persist throughout the day due to recurring food cravings. If you master these, you will in most cases want to consume more calories, mostly in the form of other sweet or high-energy foods.
Please note that this representation is very simplified. The underlying processes are very complex and cannot be fully described here.
Tip: Think carefully about when you consume alcohol and whether it does so is necessary at all. The best thing to do is to do without it completely. In addition, you should definitely pay attention to your sugar consumption so as not to crank up the mentioned blood sugar roller coaster.
3. Biscuits, cookies, Christmas stollen, chocolate Santa Claus and Co.
I think everyone knows that the delicacies listed may taste very good, but are also the typical fattening foods at Christmas time. Since they are available everywhere in large numbers, they sometimes get into our hands in an uncontrolled and unnoticed manner between the actual meals and immediately afterwards into our mouth. Consumption should also be kept in mind here!
Why? Sweets, regardless of their form, consist mainly of carbohydrates and fats. Carbohydrates and fats are unbeatably nutritious in combination and make our body want to strike well in any case, because it already recognizes what it is about by the smell and taste: A lot of energy that the body uses for everyone Fall wants to get through the winter well.
Reserves are vital for the human organism and even today the body strives to fill its stores. He can also easily expand the fat stores, which results in Hüftgold and Co. What we now know, in contrast to our body, is that nowadays food is available all the time and everywhere. So there is no reason to build up large reserves.
The problem is that foods as high in calories as sweets do not occur naturally. In the past, you would have had to eat tons of beets, grains, fruits, … for the same amount of calories, and the water, fiber, etc. contained in it would have made you full much faster. In addition, the body cannot cope with the calorie density of sweets – it therefore signals far too late that it has had enough. At the onset of saturation you have z. B. with biscuits already consumed a lot more calories than would be the case with potatoes or other natural foods.
4. The main meals
Gans, red cabbage, dumplings – a popular Christmas meal that can not be objected to. With hearty meals, only the following should be considered: For example, a dumpling has fewer calories than the sweets listed above, but if you eat five or more of them, it adds up surprisingly well! This is especially true if you mistake the gravy for a side soup. Less is more here too. So this Christmas you just forego the dumpling competition with Uncle Heinz. 😉
Tip: Don’t eat too much and enjoy the food a little more slowly, then you will be more likely to be full. Incidentally, the feeling of satiety only sets in after about 20 minutes.
5. FdH or would you prefer reduction days?
Who doesn’t know it? By December 26th at the latest you will be so saturated with all the food that, if you are honest, you have no appetite for what’s to come, let alone hungry. Here it is advisable to take a reduction day, during which you should not go hungry or skip meals (!), But simply eat more consciously and a little less. Skipping meals or even starving to compensate is the wrong way.
Why? You will end up eating more.
Your stomach is used to getting regular food. If you skip a meal, there are two conceivable consequences: Either you can’t hold out until the next meal and plunder the cookie jar in between, or you eat a lot more than usual with the next meal. At the end of the day you get more calories as if you had simply eaten the usual amount at each meal. The forced fasting phase leads to the fact that the body gets really hungry because the blood sugar level drops sharply. Accordingly, he calls for high-calorie food (sweets) – a vicious circle.
This also applies to questionable diet forms such as FdH (eat half). Of course these work – as long as you hold out. Whereby the term “function” has to be considered differently: you will lose a little fat and water, but unfortunately you will also lose a lot of muscles. The reason for this is that you eat less of everything at FdH, including protein.
The body helps itself to compensate for this deficit with protein from your muscles. The consequences are even more problems when climbing stairs or carrying shopping bags and the visual component (sagging skin and reinforcement of the “problem areas” because the muscles underneath are less …) is certainly an issue for many.
Tip: Eat less with each meal and sprinkle more healthier foods again. Make sure you consume enough protein. Don’t forget to drink a lot (water, unsweetened tea, …). This will be good for you and especially for your digestion! 😉
6. Training at Christmas time
Most of the time, the fitness studios are also open on the holidays. You don’t have to do without the usual training. If you still want to take a few days off, you can also increase your activity with endurance training outdoors, longer walks, hikes or excursions. This way you keep moving and don’t turn into a lazy couch potato after a few days.
Not only will this be good for your cardiovascular system, but you will also pass the time better with these activities than in front of the TV, where sweets are within reach at the same time.
Tip: Continue your training and / or – if there is not enough time or inclination – keep taking short walks or the like in between. This keeps your cardiovascular system going, you feel better and at the same time you burn calories that are supplied in sufficient quantities, especially at Christmas. 😉
7. Christmas as a stress reliever and not the other way around
Most people, especially those who have a large family, know it: Christmas as constant stress! Whom do I give what? Who are we visiting and when? What is there to eat and when? Even if it sounds difficult to many: Avoid stress as often as possible.
Why? Cortisol puts more stress on your body than an unhealthy meal.
The cortisol (stress hormone) that you release when you are constantly worrying about your body and your weight will harm you more, as if you treat yourself to something “unhealthy”. It favors the filling of fat and carbohydrate cells and thus inhibits fat breakdown. Important to know: The body is not only stressed by stress at work, etc., but also by little exercise, improper diet or negative thoughts – so much more than you think. Sometimes it’s just better not to think too much, so not to stress yourself too much.
Tip: ask you to keep your stress level low through good planning in advance as well as sufficient sleep and relaxation – be it passively on the couch or actively with, for example, a walk. Always take a deep breath and only then think and act. 😉 Christmas should ultimately be fun and also offer some relaxation from the stressful everyday life.
As should be clear by now, Christmas is no reason or excuse to overeat for days. Nevertheless, the time is too special for most people not to indulge t something. In order to survive the holidays unscathed, you should focus on a healthy basic diet – then it is also no problem if some meals are larger or unhealthy than usual.
To compensate for it, skipping other meals or starving yourself doesn’t get you any further, it only makes you end up being too much and the wrong thing (cookie jar 😉). Enjoy the time, avoid stress, eat more slowly and make sure that you always incorporate a bit of exercise in the form of short walks or the like – then nothing can happen to you.
I wish you a relaxed one Christmas time!