Stay on Track for christmas

 Tis’ the season to be jolly as they say. That of course doesn’t mean all inhibitions have to go out the window.

Many of you have worked hard this year in the gym and on your nutrition. Some of you have achieved amazing results while others are slowly reconstructing the right metabolism for success. It is vital not to undo all that great work with a few weeks of bad decisions.

Now we are not fanatics. We like to think you can have your cake and eat it too! Here are 7 tips for how you can still enjoy the festive season yet combat the onslaught of carbs and booze that inevitably comes along with it.

Christmas tip number 1:

Use cinnamon to sensitize yourself to the effects of insulin. Taking ground cinnamon in your tea or coffee (preferably without milk and sugar), or even sprinkled on cake/pudding etc will go a long way to balancing your blood sugar levels, thus keeping your love handles in check!

Christmas tip number 2

Use lime or lemon in your water to make yourself more alkaline. The more alkaline you are the less cortisol (stress hormone) you produce. One of the reasons elevated cortisol prevents fat loss is by putting the body in an acidified state. By using lime or lemon you can help reverse this effect therefore increasing your fat burning potential!

Christmas tip number 3:

Drink red wine. Red wine contains an antioxidant called resveratrol that if taken in moderation has been shown to reduce your risk of coronary heart disease. Another benefit of the resveratrol in red wine is it’s role in decreasing inflammation, this is especially important if you will be indulging in foods you may be intolerant to. For you guys out there, the bad news is that beer is a form of liquid castration and will rapidly deplete your testosterone levels!

Christmas tip number 4:

Take fish oil with every meal to decrease insulin resistance. Fish oil, high in omega 3 fatty acids has numerous health benefits ranging from decreasing inflammation, improving cognitive function to assisting in cardiovascular health. One of the ways in which fish oil will help you fight off the bulge this christmas is to help blunt the insulin response when consuming high carbohydrate or sugary foods. Basically, fish oils help your blood sugar to rise less rapidly and make the sugar less likely to deposit in your fat cells!

Christmas tip number 5:

Eat fat to lose fat! Despite popular belief (especially in the mainstream media) fat is not the devil it is made out to be….and don’t get me started on cholesterol! Sure there are ‘bad fats’, namely trans fats in the form of fried foods and hydrogenated oils but ‘good fats’ are vital building blocks for our cells and hormones. In the same way fish oil (see tip number 4) blunts the insulin response of high carbohydrate or sugary foods so to do high fat foods such as full fat butter & cream, avocado’s, nuts and coconut oil to name a few. The less fat you eat, the more likely you are to binge on high carb foods this christmas causing rapid rises in blood sugar levels. The result: unwanted kilo’s and a pair of love handles to start 2013!

Christmas tip number 6:

Drink green tea. If indulging in regular alcohol use over the holidays (or anytime for that matter), consuming green tea will help fight the associated inflammation and also help manage your insulin levels due to its powerful antioxidant profile. Another benefit of green tea includes detoxification. Consuming green tea during periods of regular alcohol consumption has been shown to detoxify the liver, resulting in less fat storage in the liver that is a common problem associated with excessive alcohol use. Finally, green tea also has a direct effect on your metabolism. One cup of green tea can raise your metabolism by 3% making in a great fat burning tool!

Christmas tip number 7:

Live life by the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule can apply to all areas of your life but is best applied to your diet over Christmas the following way: Do the right thing 80% of the time and you will get away with the other 20%. Enjoy all that life has to offer during the festive season but get back on the horse as quickly as possible. Don’t let a bad day turn into a bad week, perpetuating a vicious cycle. Enjoying a ‘cheat’ or ‘treat’ meal at least once every 5 days has been shown to be a very effective method of achieving optimal body composition. This method has been shown to help you speed up fat loss by creating a ‘metabolic disturbance’. Give the body the same stimulus day in and day out (diet or exercise for that matter) and it will adapt. Adaptation can be your fat loss enemy! Mentally it also keeps you on track as knowing you have a ‘reward’ around the corner allows you to see light at the end of the tunnel. A zero tolerance philosophy long term just doesn’t work…and isn’t any fun either!