‘F**K IT, IT’S CHRISTMAS: The Christmas Crumble’
From the 1st of December every year, Mariah Carey starts playing and the food and drink start flowing. The response to basically everything is, ‘F**K IT, IT’S CHRISTMAS’. I’m not going to tell you that this is not a valid response to most of your December questions, but I am going to point out that too many ‘F**K IT’S’ lead to what I like to term, ‘The Christmas Crumble’.
Over the years, I have yo-yo’d between the ‘F**K IT, IT’S CHRISTMAS’ approach to December festivities, and the Grinch approach (the social recluse, avoid all fun alternative).
Some years, I have decided to go all out throughout December, acting like some sort of Buddy the Christmas Elf. I would find any excuse to give up on my routine and let myself go. Instead of a couple of pints, I drank in excess and ate all of the Quality Street, consistently, for most of the month, because ‘F**K IT, IT’S CHRISTMAS’. This, obviously, felt great at the time, but ultimately left me feeling rubbish, both physically and mentally. The feeling of doom only worsened with January around the corner and the newly formed mountain I knew I would have to climb simply to get to where I had been at the start of December, prior to my Christmas crumble.
Feeling like I had learnt from my Christmas crumble, the following year I started saying no to any festive plans, becoming the Grinch. I made the choice to stay in and avoid situations where I knew I would drink too much and eat all the food. I got to a position where I felt conscious that if I went out and enjoyed time with my friends, I would end up destroying my fitness goals and setting myself back for the new year. As the new year came round, I found myself regretting the time I had purposely avoided with my friends and family, due to the irrational fear of reversing all the work I had put in throughout the year.
Christmas is about spending time with you friends and family and about reflecting on the achievements I have made, which, for me, includes the work I have put into my fitness goals. Ultimately, neither of the above approaches helped me to have a full and unforgettable Christmas period, in fact they did the opposite.
I’m a big advocate of living a balanced lifestyle throughout the year, I don’t believe depriving yourself of things allows me to reach my fitness goals, however some sensible decisions have to be made in order to see progress.
So, what’s the answer, I hear you say…
December is a month of indulgence and I have learnt to accept that progression towards my goals may be put on hold, or at least slow down for a few weeks, but I don’t need to reverse the progress I have made.
I decided I could go to the pub and attend the parties, but after a few pints of lager, I swapped the calorific beer for a gin and slimline tonic. This meant that I could cut down the liquid calories. In relation to food consumption, if I wanted a mince pie (or 5) for breakfast, I had a mince pie (or 5) for breakfast, but I logged it. This enabled me to keep track of what I was putting into my body, and if I needed to, I offset the calories the following day to ensure my overindulgence didn’t have long lasting consequences to my overall goals. Aside from this, I kept up the gym sessions, even if I did less, I didn’t give up altogether.
I’m not saying that I have a fool proof approach to staying on track in December, but I don’t buy in to the ‘new year, new me’ stance as it often means unsustainable dieting and busy gyms.
I work with my clients to affect a lifestyle change that is sustainable and helps them progress towards their goals. This includes enjoying indulgent holidays without having a Christmas crumble.
Merry Fitmas, you filthy animals.