Written by: Ryan Hodgson, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
The festive period is fast approaching and it’s a time of year for many we look forward to with social occasions and all that comes with them. Often more food and drink than we are likely to burn off, which will lead to weight gain as a result.
Then we see an array of negative emotions relating to enjoying ourselves because we feel we slipped backwards when it comes to our health and fitness. It’s also why in January we see the extreme diets and rigorous exercise regimes that to be honest are simply not sustainable (nor overly sensible).
Now, as a health and fitness professional who works with busy professionals, I feel it’s so important that we obtain an element of balance throughout the year where we understand that our weight and our body fat percentage will move a little based on several factors such as how social it has been, or how active we have been. I regularly share with my clients about how we are a byproduct of the lifestyle we are leading, that lifestyle is built up by habits which we will look into here.
So the upcoming festive period is a prime example of where we are likely to see the scales rise and perhaps see us put on a little body fat. However it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, in fact with the right approach we can begin to see the benefits, both physical and emotional, of having a more relaxed few weeks over Christmas.
With the above knowledge that our weight (and body fat) will fluctuate at certain points, we can begin to work on the mind to remove that emotional connection to the scales. We could even begin to recognize that when the scales have gone up it's a signal that you’ve had a good time, and made some memories, I call this flipping the script.
Now I know that doesn’t change the fact that as high performers we don’t want to feel we are allowing ourselves to slip further back. So we then want to look at the habits we have in place to help us perhaps maintain our body shape (or at least reduce the slip backward).
So here are 5 key points that I use with my clients to help them maintain their progress over the festive period
1. Keep the NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) up
The downside to the upcoming social activities, is it often means our activity decreases, so making a conscious effort to keep the activity high can have a positive impact on progress, getting active outdoors is even better for the mind too.
2. Watch the liquid calories
Now, I’m not saying don’t drink, it's often said in Team HH online that no fun night out starts with sparkling water. However, being mindful will help you keep a cap on things. Awareness is often the missing link.
3. Be aware of hangover habits
That’s right if the hangover kicks in, it's important again to raise awareness of what you’re doing. Often hangovers result in calorie-dense foods and lower activity, both of which are only going to make you feel worse. Get up and move, refer to point number 1, and be mindful of food choices. Plenty of color and a good source of carbohydrates will often help,
4. Watch the nibbles
I often use the question, would you miss the nibbles if you didn’t have them? They’re an easy way to rack up extra calories through mindless eating. Now, of course, if you like certain nibbles, have some, but again it's working on the mind to be mindful about how much we consume.
5. Water, water, water
We all know the importance of water but it is worth highlighting it once again, particularly as often eating out higher carbohydrate and salt intake can lead to water retention. Keeping the water intake up will help reduce any water retention, and it’ll also assist with digestion.
Now all of the above being said, you don’t need a coach to tell you this but enjoyment is always going to be important. I find the issue isn’t so much overconsumption or underactivity, it’s the way we think and feel about ourselves after that. So if you can go out and enjoy yourself guilt-free do it. I often say, we can get the progress back but we can’t get the time back.
Ryan Hodgson, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Ryan Hodgson, is an executive health coach who helps busy professionals outsource their health and fitness with his 6 month coaching program. Having been in the fitness industry 13 years and having worked with over 10,000 people he’s become an industry leader. Having won several awards, and become a best selling author too. Ryan is a family man and has 2 daughters, which drive his passion to have a holistic approach to health and performance. He is the CEO of Team HH online and runs it with his wife and business partner Elly Hodgson.