Here are some simple strategies for women over 40 to stay fit during Christmas.
It can be tough to stay fit during Christmas. With a constant flow of chocolate, mulled wine and mince pies… staying fit and healthy is often pushed to the bottom of the to-do list! It can sometimes seem impossible not to get carried away and over indulge.
For most of us, it’s easy to see a few extra pounds creeping on at the end of December! While this can be a problem for many, it can be especially difficult for women over 40.
Women in their 40s and 50s are already dealing with many changes relating to getting older and the menopause… both hormonal and physical. This can make it much easier to gain weight around the middle… and harder to lose it! The Christmas period can leave these women with unwanted weight… which feel impossible to shift!
This yearly occurrence can push the scales up year after year, which can be really frustrating. From having to buy new clothes to living in baggy tops… this weight gain can be terrible for self-confidence.
Luckily… there is a better way!
You can stay fit during Christmas… and have fun doing so!
We’ve helped thousands of women over 40 to get through the Christmas period without gaining a single pound… and without missing out on anything. These women are able to succeed while enjoying their favourite foods… and without having to step foot in a gym.
Below are out top 7 strategies for women over 40 looking to avoid Christmas weight gain.
1. Realise it’s possible to stay fit during Christmas
Most people tend to give up when surrounded by tempting food. When going to social events or spending weekends with friends… they assume it’s not possible to stick to their diet. So, how can you turn this around?
What we find works well for the women we work with is to make a list of the events you have coming up throughout December. From Christmas dinner to New Year’s Eve, tally up how many meals you’ll spend indulging.
Next, compare this to the rest of the month. For example, if you have ten ‘cheat’ meals to consider… and 100 meals throughout the month… that’s 90% of meals which are within your control! This is plenty of chance to maintain – if not lose – weight over Christmas while still being able to enjoy yourself!
2. Set a realistic goal
A lot of people assume that, if they can’t lose weight, eating healthy is pointless. This “all or nothing” mindset can cause people to swing the opposite way and over-indulge!
But, what if rather than focusing on losing weight during Christmas, the goal was simply to maintain? By setting a more realistic goal like this, you can still enjoy Christmas but start the new year with no excess weight to lose… and without feeling guilty!
Maintaining your weight is a much more realistic and achievable goal for most people over Christmas and what we recommend to our clients.
3. Take Christmas and Boxing Day off
In reality, Christmas and Boxing Day are just two days in the entire year. So we always recommend people just enjoy themselves take these days off from any worries about eating or exercise!
Weight gain is a slow process which happens over weeks and weeks of poor eating. Having a couple days off is not a problem in the long run… and you’ll feel less guilt if you allow yourself to enjoy them.
Jump back onto your usual routine afterwards and you’ll be raring to go for the New Year!
4. Save the Christmas food ‘til Christmas
It can be tempting to start buying Christmas food as soon as it’s on the shelves (as early as October these days!). It’s easy to be tempted by mince pies in November, yule logs on December 1st and boxes of chocolate weeks before the “big day”. Herein lies the problem…
Your willpower isn’t going to be as strong when you’re tired and stressed. Which means, if junk food is in your house… at some point you’ll eat it!
It only takes one mince pie a day to gain 2lbs in a month. Add in a couple of extra treats and a glass of wine or two ant that can easily add up to half a stone or more! Plus, having these treats can mean they feel less “special” when you actually get to Christmas day
So save buying those tempting treats until the week before Christmas and you’ll thank yourself later!
5. Proactively manage Christmas stress
Christmas can be more stressful than you realise. From financial pressures to Christmas shopping and family problems… stress levels can be a rollercoaster throughout December.
This can lead to increased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. When cortisol is high, it has a negative impact on weight and can make it easier for your body to store fat (especially around the middle) which is detrimental in the long run.
So, what’s the solution?
Firstly, try to keep in mind what you’re trying to achieve this Christmas. Is the festive period about giving the best presents and having a dinner fit for MasterChef? Or is it about spending quality time with those you love?
In our experience, it’s often hard to remember the gifts we received when we were younger. But… it’s easy to remember the laughter, board games and being with our family. It’s about what we do, not what we get.
There are a couple of things which can help to manage stress over the festive period. Exercising regularly, spending time in nature and staying mindful are all really easy and proven to be beneficial.
We’d recommend keeping a diary of what you’re grateful for throughout December – this can just be a couple of things per day. Then you can look over this when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed to help put things into perspective. Practicing meditation is also a useful tool for many women over 40 and something we recommend to all our clients.
6. Stay active in December
In our experience, a classic reason for December weight gain is lack of movement.
It’s easy to blame shorter days and busy schedules for doing fewer steps. We choose not to walk to the shops in the colder weather. We say we’ll skip our usual early morning gym sessions. We decide it’s too icy for our usual walks…
Collectively, this can lead to burning less calories and putting on excess weight!
To combat this, we recommend setting a step goal. This simple strategy will balance out those extra mince pies… and it’s an easy and fun way to stay ahead of any Christmas weight gain. Start with just 5,000 extra steps every day which is enough to burn an additional 200 calories!
You can get your family involved to keep things fun too. Go on a bike ride or walk around your local park and make a routine of it… even if it is colder than normal!
7. Invest in your own fitness
Christmas is the hardest time of year to stay consistent with fitness. One reason our clients are about to maintain (or even lose!) weight over Christmas is because they aren’t doing it alone.
Our clients have help and support from a coach when they feel fed up or stuck. They have someone to keep them accountable… and to give them a friendly nudge if they fall off the wagon!
They also benefit from a strong, friendly group of like-minded women on the same mission. These women understand their struggles and offer support for anything they need.
When you have a support network like this, it becomes much harder to fall off track than it does to stay on it! Staying fit throughout Christmas becomes second nature… and it can even start to feel enjoyable.
Ask yourself… what do you think is more important to your family: your happiness and confidence… or one extra gift they don’t need?
If you want to make sure you are as happy and healthy as possible through Christmas and beyond… you might want to look into our Fit Over 40 programme. Whether you’re looking for a gentle nudge to get back on track… or you want to kick-start your New Year’s goals… we’re here to help!
We’ve helped thousands of women in your shoes to lose weight over the festive period and reach their goals! If you’re at all interested, you can find out more here.