Written by Angele Satariano

Woman & Westie dog wearing matching antlers with christmas tree and stockings in the backgroundWe can’t believe it too… December has already arrived!! Time flies when you’re having fun, they say… or should we say time flies when you get older 😂

I’ve already started receiving comments from clients who are worried about messing up all their progress during the Christmas period. With all the activities that we’re expected (and want to 😊) attend during the festive season, these worries aren’t unfounded and I completely understand.

I feel that looking at it from a ‘kilos gained’ perspective isn’t enough to fully appreciate what our body goes through when we overdo it in the food/alcohol department. Apart from the extra weight and how we feel/look from the outside, our body is deeply affected by our nutrition and daily habits.

If you’re pregnant or had a baby recently, you’ll want to be extra careful during this time. You may not be aware of it, but even though everything looks fine from the outside, your body is still healing post-baby! What we eat and drink have an affect on every single cell in our body. Those same cells make up our muscles, ligaments and tendons and these connective tissues need healing post birth especially if you’ve had a C-section, pelvic floor trauma or have diastasis recti. Connective tissue can only heal if given the best environment and tools. Your eating habits are ESSENTIAL to your healing, and not just to helping you fit into your jeans!

Even if you’re not a post-natal mum, your daily habits will have an impact on your body and how well it functions including hormonal balance, your body’s fat burning potential, and more.

Don’t worry, you’re still in time to set yourselves up on the right track and avoid all the January disappointment and regret. To help you out, I’m sharing some tips that I’ve found useful and which help me remain fit and healthy at this time of the year. Here’s to a better start to the New Year….

1. Eating out

Who doesn’t love long lunches and dinners at restaurants? I usually try and keep eating out to a minimum, but I know that’s difficult at this time of the year. Try picking a healthy option from the menu. I don’t really eat salads at a restaurant because I’m often disappointed (my salads at home are fit for a King!), so I usually opt for rice or fish, and I skip the chips and request potatoes instead. I also like to order some roast vegetables on the side, just to get in that dose of greens.

I make an extra effort to make the meals which I eat at home healthy, meaning that they’ll be primarily made up of vegetables, lean meat like fish/chicken/turkey, and healthy carbs (quinoa, rice, potatoes).

2. Parties

Staff parties, pizza and wine nights (my husband is the culprit for this one!), Christmas Eve, NYE – the list goes on and on. Apart from socialising, alcohol and party food are the main attractions.

I usually try and make time to prepare and eat a small healthy meal before I head to a party. If I don’t, I’d arrive to the party ravenous, and when I’m in that state of hunger, I eat everything I see without even thinking about it! Arriving to the party with my hunger at bay stops me from over indulging in the unhealthy stuff.

Alcohol isn’t such an issue for me since I’m not a big drinker, but if you’re drinking, make it a point to keep yourself well hydrated with water during the the night. Doing some light exercise in the morning will really help you feel better even if you’ve got a hangover. Alcohol is very high in calories and super easy to over consume. It will also have an impact on your body’s ability to burn fat in the hours after you’ve consumed it. Drinking often, and overdoing it will inevitably lead to weight gain, so that’s a choice you must make for yourself.

3. Secret Santa

If this years Secret Santa is being hosted at a friends house and you’ve been asked to take some form of food with you, make something healthy that you wouldn’t feel guilty eating! There are loads of ideas out there on the web – the sky’s the limit!

4. Christmas/New Years Day Lunch

Christmas lunch at my family looks something like this: galletti, dips and crisps to nibble before lunch, Nanna’s timpana for starter, a selection of meats and potatoes for main course, Christmas pudding and custard for dessert, an assortment of chocolates, mince pies and Christmas cake throughout the afternoon. Wow I feel full even just writing it!

On Christmas day I usually sleep in a bit since I would have got to bed late the night before. I love starting the day off with a run, and afterwards I make sure to have a good healthy breakfast. That way, I don’t arrive at lunch too hungry. When at lunch, I eat everything that’s on offer but I stop eating BEFORE I’m full. When I feel that I’m not so hungry anymore, I just stop. That full belly feeling where I can’t even breathe must be avoided at all costs! It’s just too uncomfortable. I’m always ‘not hungry anymore’ long before the dessert comes out, so that makes it easier to skip the sugary stuff.

5. Training

Even though your schedule might be jam packed with events, do your best to keep up some form of exercise routine during the holidays. If you can’t train in the evening because you’ve got an event, wake up slightly earlier and do your training in the morning before work. Training takes priority in my everyday routine and I wouldn’t miss it even if it means I’ll be a little bit late to a party or event. You’ll also feel so much better about yourself while you’re at your event, knowing that you still moved your body and sweated it out!

If you struggle with motivation, find a group exercise class which you can sign up to and pay upfront. This way you’ll be committed and more likely to remain accountable. Attending a class and seeing so many other people who are still keeping up their fitness routine during this busy time can be incredibly motivating! It’s a realisation that “I’m not crazy, everyones doing it!”.

If there’s no way you can add commuting time to your fitness schedule, 30 mins is all you need to break a sweat and workout hard in the comfort of your own home! We have plenty of workouts you could follow on our Instagram and Facebook pages –>> Facebook: @activespiritmalta & @activespiritmums Instagram: @activespiritmalta & @activespiritmums

6. Each and every moment is an opportunity to start afresh

Just because you didn’t eat healthy food at lunch, doesn’t mean the day is ruined so you might as well have an unhealthy dinner too! If you skipped yesterday’s workout, make it a point to train today. The past is the past, and what you do now is what counts! Don’t wait till January to start ‘being healthy’. You can be healthy each and every day, even if that day has some elements of ‘unhealthy’ in it!

6. Don’t forget to have fun

Having fun is SO important for us. Don’t over obsess about what you’re eating and suck out all the fun from the Christmas period. Go out and have fun with your friends, there’s no reason to miss out. You can still eat and drink, just don’t overdo it! Honestly, that’s all there is to it!

I hope that you’ve found these tips helpful and that they’ll work for you! If you need that extra bit of motivation to keep up your fitness routine during December, our fitness classes will not disappoint 😉Don’t forget to share this with your friends ❤️

Wishing you a fun, happy and healthy December!

At Active Spirit we offer a range of fitness classes that cater for all fitness levels. The classes are designed to help you strengthen your whole body and improve your cardiovascular fitness. Check out our class timetable and also do not hesitate to contact us if you need any fitness tips or have any questions!

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