#MyFitnessJourney: Fitness Expert Lisa Dee Shares Her Tips For Staying in Shape Over Christmas
Lisa has helped thousands of Irish women with her three and six week plans. Now she's giving us some insider advice on staying healthy over the holidays.
So it’s Christmas and we’re worried about weight gain, any advice?
It’s so easy to get carried away with multiple nights out and heavy starchy dinners at this time of year, the good news is you don’t have to turn down a party invite but you do have to take responsibility for your own food and drink choices.
Break up the next two weeks into segments. There’s a couple of definite dates where you’ll want to enjoy your food, like Christmas staff and family parties, Christmas Day , Stephen’s Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day dinner. That’s only six days over the next three weeks.
Out of those, choose three days where you’ll completely relax without thinking about the foods. Maybe Christmas Day, Stephen’s Day and New Year’s Day. Tackle each day one by one. Keep a healthy balance.
What will you be eating on Christmas day?
Would there by any point lying to you?! I’ll be eating anything and everything on Christmas day! For breakfast, we usually have random chocolate Santas from our stockings with tea. Christmas dinner will be around 2pm – I’ll have the full whack with extra stuffing please! We usually have a choice of four or five desserts so I’ll be tasting and munching all evening. Honesty is the best policy!
Holiday time or Christmas time is the only time of year I get to really relax around food and drink so I’ll definitely have a few drinks throughout the eight days I’m off work. I stick with red wine or dry white wine for the most part. Beers, alcopops and soda mixers for spirits are so sugary and heavy. I’d advise anyone to save those calories for actual food choices.
If you’re still on a weight loss plan over Christmas, alcohol should be avoided, it really interferes with the fat loss process. A few drinks will set you back nearly a whole week. Remember, it’s not the calories in the drink, it’s the composition; how it reacts and works inside your body.
Is there a healthy alternative to the chocolate we’re craving?
Half a banana or apple with some nut butter will provide the perfect combo of carbs, protein and healthy fats to satisfy your craving. Add a dusting of cinnamon for added health benefits!
Any healthy dessert ideas?
You NEED to keep a batch of ripe bananas in your house at all times. This sounds too good to be true but simply chop the bananas into slices and freeze overnight. Once frozen, stick in your blender until you have a really smooth texture. The banana flavour almost disappears, you have a really creamy ice cream. Add cacao powder too. I’ve given it to many unsuspecting visitors topped with a low-cal chocolate sauce and berries, and no one has even been able to tell the difference.
Can we eat as much meat as we want?
Usually, yes! Turkey is an amazing lean meat so take advantage of it and fill up. Protein will help keep you satisfied for longer and also stabalise your blood sugar levels, especially if you’re eating a lot of sugary and carb heavy foods. A good tip would be to have a protein source every few hours to avoid a sugar crash.
What about all the potatoes and stuff? We’re nervous about a carb overload!
If it’s only one or two days over the holidays, don’t worry about it! You can’t gain weight in that amount of time. Enjoy your dinner! If you’re worried though, fill your plate with veggies and lean meats before adding those potatoes. It’s not the potato that adds the weight, it’s usually the butter, creamy sauces and chicken fat gravy, so keep an eye on whoever’s preparing that pot of mash.
We don’t want to forget exercise completely. What can we do at home?
There’s so much you can do at home. Make time and fit in resistance workouts (eg. weight or bodyweight workouts) instead of cardio. With all the extra food, you’ll use up more fuel and calories this way. If you’re currently in an exercise group or gym, write down the workouts you do there and then modify them yourself to do without equipment. My online plans have six weeks full of new workouts, which can be done anytime, anywhere.
Can you give us three or four at home exercises that we can do?
A tip is to use your legs as much as possible, as they’re the largest muscle group!
- Lunges are number one, always! Try walking lunges, static lunges and cursty lunges.
- Bear crawls are a fun way to get the heart rate up moving around the house, get the kids or family involved and race around, you’re working your whole body. I use Bear Crawls a lot in my bootcamp classes.
- There are also many variations of squats; squat jumps, side squats and squat holds.
What happens if we forget all of this advice and go overboard entirely?
If you have a massive food binge, know first that you’ll feel like poop the next day. Don’t give in to those negative thoughts in your head. You’re not a failure, worse things have happened in life and the path to success has more bumps than straight lines.
To feel better and to damage control, start drinking water as soon as you wake up the next day, aim for a few litres. Add fresh lemon to all your water. Get a workout in first thing in the morning and you’ll feel better. You won’t want to do it but trust me, the happy hormones will up your energy!
Before we derail completely, what motivational words can we tell ourselves before we fall off the wagon?
Know that all is not lost and Rome wasn’t built in a day. New habits take time to form, especially if you’re used to massive blowouts at this time of year. Try to refrain from saying ‘I’ll start on Monday’, you’re just reaffirming to yourself that this is a diet with a start and end date.
If you slip up and make a choice you regret, move on from it and make sure your next meal is super nutritious. Plan your fitness regime for January now, and stick it in your diary. The excitement of a new plan will keep your energy levels high when you go to do your Christmas workouts!
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