Autre Choix

Four Steps Not To Lose It Over Christmas

Now that presents stocking and calorie-burning shopping trips are over, it’s time to lift yourself up from that fluffy carpet in front of the chimney and get back to eating your veggies, which might have come second during the last weeks of treats, right after chocolate and hearty pies. Think of how good you’ll look in that super cool SS16 outfit you’ve already purchased and get out there into the white, snowy wilderness! Or – if you’re in the city – back to swapping that gym card on your way in. 

The last days of the year are made for spending time with family and friends, enjoying the last bits of Christmas spirit and holiday treats, which also call for the ultimate challenge.
If you, like me, a bit of a fitness freak and enjoy early morning runs and trips to the gym – while also watching your diet – you’ll be well too aquatinted with the constant temptations of these days. From chocolate to staying in wrapped up in a blanket rather than getting wrapped up into your lycra to go off and nail a 10K run, it would be lying of me saying that I kept the motivation of a greek god working out every time I said I would have in the last few weeks.
I do struggle with this, especially these days when things like the younger ones in the family suggesting a game of snap with hot chocolate tend to happen. I couldn’t let my nephew down, could I?
But this year – while all of this was churning through my mind in the lead up to Christmas, as I was about to leave London to go back to my family home in Edinburgh – I thought it would be a good idea to get some external advice. More of a professional outlook rather than me telling myself what should have been done, and then cheat.

Catherine De Kiewiet is a sportswoman in her own right. Immersed in tennis and squash from the age of four, she soon began to compete for County and Regional Scotland teams. Deciding to start her university career in the world renown University of St Andrews, Catherine then began to ‘gain a deeper understanding of why it meant to be fit, strong and healthy’, as she told De Choix.
Through the strenuous training that became a requirement to participate in the University’s tennis team – and which challenged her massively – came her her love for olympic lifting, which led her to obtain an internship in strength and conditioning, followed by her coaching the men’s and women’s first tennis teams.
Throughout the rest of her university career, Catherine explored many areas of fitness including Body Building, Calisthenics and CrossFit, challenging herself to witness the overall consequences these disciplines had to her health. Today, she still holds the same motto she always had close to her heart, continuing to be ‘the best version of myself: mentally, spiritually and physically’.
Having trained athletes alike, Catherine went onto do her UKSCA in strength and conditioning qualification, followed by an MA in body building nutrition.

Speaking with Catherine, we came up with some key aspects that will help you guide your mind and your body through this festive period. Even if my conversation with Catherine clearly unveiled our mutual love for Christmas and indulging in it, we also agreed that a slight fear of loosing shape during the festive period should by no means be a way of pushing calorie counting to new levels, or telling Santa and his elves they are no longer welcome.
Instead, let’s note down four simple steps which will keep you enjoy every second of your holiday, lowering the guilt from that last egg nog and keeping you tuned with the ‘new year, new me’ craze.

Step One: Don’t give up
Now – although I’d love to see myself as one who’d never give up and push on forward until I’d reached my goal – truth is that once off the horse it’s hard to get back on. That innocent cheat day can turn into a cheat week and, before you know it, you’re taking a dangerous trip down the road of  loosing everything you’d been working for. So here’s your step one: don’t give up. That cheat day that came around unexpected did happen, but now put it behind you, get back on the horse and follow through the rest of the week the way you planned it. Before you know it, you will want to push even harder and work harder at achieving your goal, being it your fitness plan or just keeping in shape.

Step Two: Pick up the pace
This is the most useful for those wanting to loose a bit of holiday weight or keep it under control: introducing interval training into your cardio work outs. This can be adjusted and developed to be the most effective. One of the most popular ways of doing it is to jog for around 30 seconds and then sprint for 30 seconds: this will get the heart rate up and speed up calories dropping too. Try this for 12 minutes and you’ll instantly notice the difference. It may not be the most intense work out you’ve done and – if you had the time – jogging it all off would give an extra hit to your overall workout. But by picking up the pace you’ll put your body into a slight shock mode, making it easier and faster to get rid of that extra mince pie that you snuck in the night before.

Step Three: Be Honest
Probably the hardest of the lot as it’s easy to have those inner conversations with yourself – or even the more embarrassing version of the same with your trainer – where you go on explaining and justifying every one of the days you’ve missed out on your plan and every extra treat you’ve indulged in. However, by not justifying and taking into account what you’ve changed or which area we you’ve slipped up on, you’ll be able to move forward with our goals over the holiday period.

Step Four: Make Adjustments
Being honest might be the hardest, but making adjustments is key. Together they form the foundations to you getting places with your body and mind during the holidays and at any time of the year. I’ve been fooled too often into thinking that if I worked my wee bum off the lead up to Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, then I could let loose, eating everything and anything I pleased. Realistically – if you think it through – why eat a month worth of chocolate in one day, rather have a small bit everyday? I know which option I’d pick, and it’s only been through these conversations with Catherine that I figured out what I was doing wrong. By not adjusting my regime and diet, I did nothing but taking the fun away, rather than boosting it and developing a better understanding of my intake. Ultimately, I realised how I to have my slice of cake over Christmas and enjoy it not as a one off mistake but as part of my balanced diet.

Diets and workout regimes are completely unique to each individual and Catherine stressed over and over how by no means is there a one size fits all, which is often what the media feeds us.
By keeping in shape, trying to push your limits and adjusting how much it works for you to eat in order to be healthy and – most of all – happy and satisfied, you’ll also be able to be in tune with your body and understand what needs to be changed and what works just fine.

Happy New Year everyone!


Original illustration by Carlos R. Ruiz 

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