Hello all, I hope you had great weekends and are looking forward to the week ahead, after (let’s be honest) a pretty crazy last week in many people’s eyes! I have an absolutely fantastic guest post today that is definitely worthy of a space on my blog, by the lovely Sharon from New Dimensions Fitness. Sharon’s a firm believer that living and eating healthily is about changing your mindset, and not just yo-yo dieting or following the latest fad.
This post of her’s couldn’t have come at a better time for myself, as it’s this time of year that I find it hard to stay on track with healthy eating and looking after myself (hands up who else just wants to sit on the sofa eating biscuits on a gloomy day?!), so her advice is more than welcome, and I thought it might be useful for other people too.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Autumn — the colours, the smells, the decor — but the onset of autumn and the rapidly approaching winter months often trigger a comfort switch in many of us that’s pretty hard to control.
You know the one: the instinctive hibernation, an increase in cosy nights on the sofa in front of the telly, hearty comfort food, and visions of all those Christmas indulgences to come! It really is my idea of heaven, but there is reason to be cautious.
Many of us work hard on our fitness and nutrition for most of the year, being mindful of the food we eat and what we’re doing to stay active. For many reasons, though, the onset of the colder weather and the creeping hand of Christmas can throw us way off course — something that isn’t helped by readily available booze *guilty* and treats at knock-down prices and the lure of festive markets.
But winter doesn’t have to go hand-in-hand with a loss of control over nutrition, and the inevitable weight gain that comes with it. Colder weather and shorter days don’t mean we have to abandon our exercise regimes and strike up a far too intimate relationship with the sofa!
Luckily, Sharon Morrow, a Personal Trainer and Body Transformation Expert with nearly twenty years of experience, is on hand to share some advice about staying on track with nutrition in the countdown to Christmas.
Oh, and I also have a great giveaway at the end of the post to win a copy of her new nutrition e-book, either on Kindle of PDF, for two lucky readers!
Over to Sharon…
Reduce the carbs
Autumn and winter have the potential to provide us with some seriously good seasonal fruits and vegetables that can be easily thrown together into hearty one-pot meals, or left to cook in the slow cooker while you’re at work.
The thing to remember is to try and avoid an unnecessary increase in your carbohydrate intake. The temptation is to add bread or other carb-rich sides to soups and stews, when you are already getting all the nutrition you need from the main event. You don’t need the added carbs!
Carbohydrates are by no means bad for you. We all need some in our diet, but the current recommended daily allowance of around 60% is, in my opinion far too high and the recommendations of where these carbs should come from are ambiguous at best.
Your main carbohydrates source should be vegetables. Try to consume seasonal, leafy greens and vegetables that are fibrous, which in autumn and winter means things like kale, lettuce, cauliflower, leeks, and sprouts.
Carbs high in starch such as white potatoes, white pasta, and white rice can easily be replaced with less starchy alternatives like sweet potatoes, root vegetables, and quinoa.
The temptation to skip out on planned exercise in favour of the warmth and comfort of the sofa can be strong, especially if your usual regimen involves exercising outdoors!
But even if you decide it’s too cold out to go for a run, or boot camp in the freezing December rain just isn’t floating your boat, that time in your day has already been put aside for exercise, so execute an alternative!
There’re loads of free bodyweight exercises that you can do at home that do not require any equipment or expensive video guides. If you’ve got a bit of clear floor, whether it’s in the dining room, living room, or even the garage, you can do a full and proper workout at home that’ll feel just as good as a summer boot camp session.
Inevitably, the winter months bring with them a certain amount of indulgence — and that’s fine (within reason). Just be mindful of what you’re indulging in and don’t forget that alcohol counts too!
So, if you know you’ve got the office Christmas party coming up, or you’re planning a trip to a Christmas market, try to stick to your guns with your nutrition in the week leading up to it. That way, you can allow yourself the indulgence of a few drinks and naughty nibbles without feeling guilty.
Also, plan and prepare treats yourself so you know exactly what you’re indulging in. These no-bake chocolate peanut butter yummies, for example, are absolutely delicious and super quick to make:
Ultimately, you’re in charge of the decisions you make when it comes to food and the actions you take to care for your body.
With a bit of planning and time taken to understand what you’re putting into your body, staying on top of your nutrition in the run-up to Christmas really doesn’t have to be a chore.
To win a copy of Sharon’s e-book on how to sustain long term fat loss and get healthier, ( either PDF version or grab a copy for your Kindle via Amazon, I will sort out a voucher for you https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M3SRWEP/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1477052247&sr=1-3&keywords=sharon+morrow) just fill in the Rafflecopter below using as many options as you’d like.
Good luck, and have a healthier festive season!
The terms and conditions:
You must be a UK resident to be eligible for this competition. The prize is a copy of Sharon’s ebook either as an instantly downloadable PDF or as a voucher given to download on Kindle via Amazon, no cash alternatives to the stated prize will be offered; Entrants must be 18 years and over. Competition ends midnight on Sunday 11th December 2016. Winners will be notified within 5 working days.