Santa’s Little Helf Tips

by Matt Hodges
21 December 2022

Christmas has me feeling extra Santa mental, so I thought it only fair to give you my three best take away health and fitness tips (and my best Xmas puns) to get you through the Christmas period without leaving you feeling like you’ve birthed a Turkey.
Xmas is a time for festivities and that almost always includes drinking when you’re not eating, eating when you’re not drinking, and eating and drinking when you’re not sleeping. But wait… there’s myrrh – you can have a good time without feeling like the new year new me couldn’t come sooner. Let’s have a look shall we…

1)    Rudolph the red nosed alcoholic

As we all well know, the Christmas works do is the most wine-derful time for a beer. There’s no getting away from it – Its ‘out out’ time and there’s no room for a resting Grinch face (ok enough of the puns now Matt). But seriously, I have had a multitude of clients over the years derail their results because of alcohol consumption at Christmas time. Now, I’m not here to be a Scrooge and tell you that you shouldn’t enjoy yourself and have a drink. Of course you should. If ever there was a time in the year to have a drink it’s this one. I’m not going to tell you it’s healthy to drink a lot of alcohol or to consume less (because you probably won’t) BUT what I will tell you is a little magic trick that I have honed over the years that takes the edge off the ‘day after’.

This little nugget of alcoholic manipulation mastery is thus –

The Prep

For every drink you have – have the equivalent of water. This might make you best friends with the urinal BUT it will get you especially ready for the Masterplan.

The Masterplan

For the Masterplan to be as effective as it can be then you should do the Prep (but it’s not paramount). The Masterplan comes at the end of the day/night, so this is what you need to do before you go to sleep. Ready?

Have a half/pint of water, take two paracetamol, and take a Diaralyte tablet.

Now this is snow laughing matter. The next day you’ll be bouncing off the walls like a pinball on Gummy Bear juice.

2)    Tur-key to my heart

There is no getting away with eating, or over-eating at Christmas. Unless you’re beyond controlled with your diet, most people will stray over their daily calorie BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate – aka the amount of calories you need a day to stay the way you are). There really isn’t any way of getting around this other than to ‘eat less’, so if you’re looking at a magic ‘fix’ as mentioned above I’m sorry I’m the bearer of bad news. But, and there is a but, you can make the best of a bad (awesome) situation. Here are a few things you might want to consider in order to feel better about high consumption over Xmas:

  • Eat more fibre. Generally speaking, we get most of our fibre from the Christmas lunch, but if you can be mindful around all the other meals you consume and go for high fibre foods (veggies, fruit, beans, whole grains etc), you’ll find you feel better, and more than likely you won’t have consumed the same amount of ‘rubbish’.
  • Eat more protein (meats, fish, eggs etc). Just like fibre, protein fills us up more AND gives us the added bonus of getting great nutrition to all those underused muscles.
  • Keep on top of hydration. You snow the drill – See the Prep phase as earlier. I can guarantee you will feel ten times better, every…single…day.

3)    Snow place like home

Many of us will be spending the Christmas week up to New Year lounging out at home or coach surfing with friends and relatives. This means that daily exercise will take a battering and I very much doubt that people will hit a 10,000-step marker on the day. The drop in energy expenditure and increase in energy consumption can, biologically, only go one way. And that way, is your waistline auditioning for the role of Santa or Mrs Claus. So how can we get the best from this cosy, fireside, nostalgic film, Baileys at 11am, food coma inducing slump?

The key here, again, is prep. But this time its exercise prep. You don’t need to be Mo Farah at Xmas, there doesn’t need to be any long runs, any gym sessions or HIIT workouts at home. You just need to get some mileage in before the day starts. And what I mean by day starts is the first thing you do as you wake up.

Get up, get your boots on, go for a walk…a long walk. A walk that builds up a sweat. Why? Claus I said so, that’s why! No, but seriously, it’ll set your body up for the day, you’ll burn through a tonne of calories consumed the day before, AND it’ll make you feel better about the day ahead. I know this might sound so blatantly obvious, but it all WORKS!

This article was written by Matt Hodges, you can see all his articles here.