How to enjoy Christmas food without losing sight of your goals

How to enjoy Christmas food without losing sight of your goals

Is it possible to enjoy all the festive food and drink without losing all your running progress? Definitely – here’s how to have a healthy, happy Christmas.

This is a tricky time of year for us runners! One on hand it’s tempting to ignore running for a bit and go all-in on the festive food, drink, and Christmas films. But we know that would bring a lot of negative emotions like guilt and regret. Wouldn’t it be great to find a happy middle ground, where you could fully enjoy all the best bits of Christmas whilst also staying true to your running goals?

Reject the food rules

This is not the time of year to be on a strict diet with black and white rules about food. Soften any ingrained thoughts you’ve got about good and bad foods (in truth, there aren’t any).  Don’t count calories. Be sensible, pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, and keep an eye on portion sizes. But say no to any guilt about food.

Quieten your inner critic

Lots of us women have grown up with a noisy inner voice which won’t hesitate to criticise us about our food choices, meal sizes, or body. Tell this voice that you don’t need its opinion. You’re a healthy grown up who looks after herself and enjoys running.

Plan the festive period

Take 10 minutes to map out the festive period before the Christmas madness begins. Use a calendar and put in any parties, family visits or days out. You can then see clear spaces for running, gym visits, yoga classes, and healthy simple meals at home. This approach helps you make the most of free time and reduces any guilt about enjoying so many meals out.

Make smart food swaps (sometimes…)

Nobody should diet over Christmas, but it’s also OK to actively want to make healthier choices. If this is something you’re interested in, focus on filling your plate with vegetables first, then protein, and then the most natural wholefood sources of carbohydrates. Swap heavy sauces and dressings for lighter versions (or go without). And remember that snacks, bite-size nibbles, and all those little between-meal extras are where the calories lurk!

Fuel up before a night out

Take a healthier approach to parties by always eating something healthy at home, and alternating alcoholic and soft drinks. Have a big glass of water or herbal tea when you get in and avoid sitting up late eating.

Drink plenty of water

Not ground-breaking advice, but this really will make the festive period much healthier. Staying hydrated helps your brain, body, digestive system, skin, and energy levels. You’ll be less likely to overeat, and the water will help you digest and process what you do consume.

Move your body every day

You might not have time to run every day, but make sure you do something every single day over the festive period. This could be a short run, an interval session, a bodyweight workout at home, a yoga session, or simply a decent walk. Walking is underrated for health, calorie burning, and mental wellness.  Can you average 8,000 steps a day from now until the New Year?

Don’t wait til January to start again

Finally, whatever happens to your food and fitness habits over Christmas, just get back into your routine as soon as possible. Don’t wait until January 2nd. Any time is a great time to start again!


Windsor Women’s 10k Saturday 23rd September 2023 entries open now click here to enter today

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