Food, Fitness and FestivitiesBy Ross Panton, Personal Trainer

2020 – what a year it has been! Lockdowns, social distancing, everything shutting and always forgetting your mask when you leave the house. It’s okay, we’ve all done it!

Now here we are in December; it only feels like 5 minutes since it was January! Christmas is just around the corner and we all know what Christmas is like for food. Should I worry about it? Is it going to undo all the hard work I have put into my fitness this year? Should I only eat ‘good’ foods and avoid all the ‘bad’ ones? My answers to these questions! No, no and no. Let me explain:

Should I worry about my food this Christmas? No. Food and Christmas, they go hand-in-hand. All the Christmas adverts that we are bombarded with on TV are centred around food. There is no getting away from it. Food is central to the big day (and to a few days before and after) so, just enjoy the occasion. I don’t know about you, but Christmas dinner is my favourite meal of the year! Particularly this year. It is going to be a very different Christmas for most of us, so don’t add food to the list of things you are worrying about.

From a fitness industry perspective, it has been a very interesting year.

Joe Wicks stole the show with his weekly P.E with Joe programme throughout the first lockdown. This was a great way to get both kids and adults involved in fitness, some for the very first time and some to keep up their exercise regimes. Personally, I moved all my personal training services online so I could keep working with my clients and it has been a great success. 2020 has not been the year of missed fitness goals that looked likely at one stage!

Is it going to undo all the hard work I have put into my fitness this year? No. A few days of over-eating is not going to undo all your hard work. If weight loss was your goal at the start of the year and you have achieved a degree of that, it is going to take a lot longer than a few days to put it back on. After all, it took a lot more than a few days to shift that weight, right? Now this is not me saying we should go off and mindlessly eat every chocolate Santa in sight. No. We should still be mindful, take our time to taste the food and try to only eat if we are hungry. That way you will be able to keep a level of control over the festive period.

Should I only eat the ‘good’ foods and avoid all the ‘bad’ ones? No. Demonising food is one of my pet hates. No food is inherently bad, but some are significantly easier to over-consume than others. Some foods are what we call calorie-dense, which means they do not have a lot of nutrient value for the number of calories they contain. Typically, these foods are hyper-palatable, so they are too easy to over-consume. It is these foods that are often labelled as bad. Others are very nutrient dense, meaning that they have high nutritional value and a relatively low caloric value. Here is the catch with these though, you can still eat too much of them. The trick, like with most things, is moderation; just a little bit of what you fancy.

My advice to anyone who is worried about Christmas affecting their fitness journey is relax. Try not to worry and enjoy it for what it is. Just get back on track once the festivities are over. Believe it or not, relaxing over this period is likely to be much more conducive to your fitness goals than restricting what you eat. Sometimes allowing yourself a break keeps you motivated. What would you rather? Craving all the foods you wish you could eat, binging on them and then feeling like a failure or eating them anyway, mindfully, knowing that you will be back on in it a few days.

The key thing to remember is that we are looking for consistency over a long period of time not perfection over a few days.

I hope this helps you enjoy your food this festive season.

Merry Christmas!

Ross.

More from Ross over on his Website