As ever, in the run up to Christmas as a fit bod on Twitter following a range of bloggers, fitness professionals and athletes, my timeline was filled with a bit of a battle. From some bloggers and fitness professionals came the constant tweets about how to ‘eat clean’ through Christmas. How to avoid eating all the indulgent Christmas food your family offered you. Even, weirdly, how to lose weight over Christmas. Then, from the pro athletes, excited tweets about heading home to eat ALL of the food!
Now, I have fairly strong opinions (no surprise there, I’m sure) about all of this. I don’t think Christmas itself, and the indulgences along with it are the problem, and it would seem that a lot of the pro athletes I follow agree. I think the issue comes if your Christmas starts in mid-November and ends in mid-January. However, if it starts on Christmas Eve and ends on New Years’ Day, is it really such a problem?
As ever, I strongly believe it all comes down to balance. If you spend the rest of the year apart from that short period eating well, training consistently and taking care of yourself, you can probably afford to indulge. Rather than be the miserable spoilsport who refuses all the delicious food and insists on a tiny portion of steamed turkey and vegetables, I say go for it. Eat what you fancy. Spend time with your loved ones and let your hair down. Eat your veggies too, and try and move a little each day, but if one day, you eat most of your bodyweight in fancy cheese and only take a short walk with your family, relax. You have 350+ days a year to be healthy and strict with yourself. Maintaining an obsessive training regime and calorie-controlled diet over Christmas out of fear you might gain a couple of pounds is a bit sad, to me!
Don’t forget, whilst the fitness industry may tweet constant ‘healthy’ advice for you over Christmas, they actually make their money from you having that mid-November onwards Christmas I mentioned and gaining a lot of weight, until you arrive in January bloated, miserable and feeling guilty about your eating. Just remember that…
Me? I have no such feelings of guilt. I finished a run of nights on the morning of December 21st, and enjoyed the odd festive treat in the days leading up to Christmas Eve. on the 23rd, I headed home with James to my parents’ house in Lancashire, and have since enjoyed a lovely, quiet family Christmas. I’ve indulged in a smorgasbord of delicious cheeses, oodles of pigs in blankets, buttery mince pies and put Baileys on everything. BUT, I’ve also been out for the odd ride or run to enjoy some fresh air and movement, and it won’t go on for ever; I go back to work on the 29th, and whilst I’m sure there’ll be Christmas eats lurking around (hospital wards attract tins of Quality Street!), I’ll also be busy at work, and getting back into my usual routine of training and meal planning. I’ll probably arrive back at my house a little heavier, but not so much so I feel the need to start January miserable on a diet, and not so much I’ve damaged my health. I start marathon training properly on January 28th so I’ve got no issues with having had a laid back Christmas- my legs will be working hard enough soon!
Balance. Useful to all aspects of life.