Four Strategies to Drink, be Merry but Not get Fat

Exploring practical solutions to beat the bulge whilst enjoying the party season

Column by Matt Kay at FITISM

Over the years I have seen so many people throw the towel in during the festive period and to pile on the pounds. Weight that can take months to get rid of. Before you stop reading though I want to reassure you that I am not going to use this article to explain how to make healthy mince pies and motivate you to train on Christmas day. December is a month to enjoy yourselves!

This article will help you plan your December so that you can enjoy yourself without putting on too much weight going into the New Year.

Shift Your Mind Set
When you party, party hard but either side of that eat and drink clean because there is no reason not to. Do not focus on body fat reduction over the festive period unless you REALLY want to. For 90 per cent of the clients we work with their focus will shift to disaster management during December.

We like to let our hair down and enjoy the festivities as much as the next person, but the last thing we want is to pile the pounds. To ensure this does not happen you must plan, plan, PLAN and here’s how…

Step 1: Party Forecast
If you own or run a business you will know the importance of forecasting. I want you to think of planning during December much like a forecast, a ‘Party Forecast.’

First get yourself a December calendar and schedule all your social activities. This is an incredibly important first step. When you plan ahead of time it is so much easier to keep the weight at bay. The simple act of planning your social calendar will make the prospect of managing your waistline so much easier.

Step 2: Pre, During, Post Party Habits
The next step is to plan in habits that will help you off-set the impact of the festive indulgences.

Pre-Party
Make sure you go to a party hydrated and with a full belly. If it is a dinner party still eat something before you go so you are less tempted by the nibbles, second helpings or desert. By being hydrated you will not be downing the first few alcoholic drinks simply to quench your thirst.

Eat foods dense in nutrients that are high in healthy fats and proteins. Poached salmon and vegetables would be a perfect pre-party meal. If you do not have time to cook anything, a smoothie containing high volumes of green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale with protein powder and coconut milk would also be a great option.

During-Party
Drink clear drinks to reduce the calorie hit. Clear drinks (gin, vodka etc) are less irritating in your gut compared to darker, fermented alcoholic drinks. The ingredients produced in your body as a byproduct of darker, fermented drinks (congeners) can make the effects of a hangover worse.

Post-Party
Before you go to bed make sure you drink a large glass of water. This simple habit can prevent some painful hangover symptoms and grabbing the water bottle first thing in the morning does not hurt either.

The first step to get over a hangover is water and the second is electrolytes. One of the healthiest ways to increase the electrolytes lost in your blood and cells is to drink coconut water. Coconut water is not only healthier than most sports drinks it is also over twice as effective.

Another fantastic rehydration solution is Pedialyte. Yes… that drink you give to your children. Pedialyte is specifically balanced with a combination of sugar and electrolytes needed to help replenish vital fluids, minerals (potassium, sodium, chloride), and nutrients.

Now onto your food…
Before diving into a greedy fry up, consider healthier options that will make you feel much better and not add to your waistline.

Eggs are great as they are packed full of amino acids, one being taurine which directly supports the liver. When your liver is under pressure from alcohol it breaks down ethanol which leaves behind a compound called acetaldehyde – one of the contributing factors to hangovers. Do not eat bread or ripe fruit as both these foods naturally contain acetaldehyde so would only intensify the problem.

FITISM Granola – you might have expected I would say that but hear me out… Not only will these breakfast granolas give you a superfood hit they are packed full of nutrients and minerals responsible for aiding the neutralisation of acids in the body following a night on the triple vodkas. They will also help to regulate blood sugar levels offering more sustained energy throughout the morning.

Potassium is a mineral depleted due to alcohol so foods rich in this mineral are great hangover cures – many of these foods go well together in a smoothie; banana, leafy greens like spinach and kale and also add yogurt and a squirt of raw honey. The honey will also help to elevate your blood sugar levels and provide a much needed energy boost.

For lunch chicken is a great option, like the eggs it is packed full of essential amino acids that will act to support and boost liver health. Personally I like chicken soup or even better a chicken bone broth on ‘one of those days’ to give me a potent mineral hit.

Now you know what you need, go out and stock your kitchen, so it’s ready and waiting for you when the ‘inevitable’ happens.

Step 3: Plan Your Workouts
Now you have planned your social calendar and you have your hangover cure ready to go, the next step is to schedule in your workouts. Yes, you read that right… Workouts!

Workouts can truly help to sweat out some toxins produced by alcohol. However, ensure you take on board even more water and replenish your electrolytes before getting a sweat on! It is important to stay active, not only to beat the bulge but also to maintain the habit. It takes time to establish a workout habit but it can take as little as one week to break it.

In our FITISIM gyms we deliver a December course called PARTY17. Throughout the course we set our clients a daily 10 minute workout challenge to help maintain their workout habit.

Ten minutes is the perfect amount of time because firstly no one has any excuses not to find 10 minutes to workout, secondly it can be done on a hangover and thirdly it is not too daunting, so as not to break the habitual practice of consistently working out.

Here are a few 10 minute workouts to get you started:

JOG & DROP
REPEAT 2X
30 seconds Jog on the spot
20 Jumping jacks
30 seconds Jog on the spot
20 Squats
30 seconds Jog on the spot
20 Press ups
30 seconds Jog on the spot
20 Triceps press
60 seconds Rest

100 SETS
REPEAT 4X
25 Squats
25 Sit Ups
25 Lunges
25 Press Ups
60 seconds Rest

CHIZEL THE MIDDLE
REPEAT 3X
30 seconds Toe Touches
30 seconds V Sit Up
30 seconds Russian Twists
30 seconds Side Plank (left)
30 seconds Side Plank (right)
30 seconds Plank
30 sseconds Rest

THE HANGOVER
10min power walk in the fresh air – 30 seconds fast pace, 60 seconds medium/slow pace

Step 4: Supplement support
Everyone knows alcohol is not great for your body. Yet few people really understand the wide scale of damaging effects throughout the body. So if you are having a few drinks ensure you take the following supplements before you go out.

  1. N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)

Take NAC 30 minutes before you drink. NAC helps to significantly reduce acetaldehyde – the compound produced by the liver responsible for hangovers.

  1. B Vitamins

Alcohol depletes vitamin B and NAC works even better when taken with B Vitamins.

  1. Milk Thistle

Helps to protect the liver from toxins produced from alcohol consumption.

  1. Vitamin C

Helps to protect the liver.

  1. Magnesium

Significantly depleted by alcohol yet has fantastic anti-inflammatory qualities that can help reduce hangover symptoms. riddle_stop 2

 

If you would like help to structure your personal plan over the festive period you might want to consider our PARTY17 course.

PARTY17 is a 2 week course that goes into detail on the topics discussed in the article. PARTY17 is your ultimate disaster management course offering maximum support from my team here at FITISM and our wonderful community of fellow PARTY goers also aiming to keep the bulge at bay this Christmas and New Year.

Click on this link to find out more: www.fitism.co.uk/courses/party

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