The month that takes its toll on our otherwise sturdy health and fitness plans has arrived! But we don’t have to see December like that. By following my 7 Rules for Success you can “have your cake and eat it too” without over indulging on all things “festive”!!

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is only weeks away and with trying to get all your work done for the year, Christmas shopping to be finished, work Christmas parties and catching up with family and friends means one day blurs into the next and our healthy eating and exercise can be put on the backburner.

The good news is though, that by following a few simple rules you can stay on track and start 2014 on the right foot rather than with excess weight from a few too many festive treats!

Rule #1 - ALWAYS eat a LEAN source of protein at EVERY meal!
You can get your lean protein from many different sources.  Some of these include chicken breast, lean beef, turkey, fish, kangaroo and egg whites.  Eating enough protein is VITAL for muscle growth and repair not to mention many other essential bodily functions!
Christmas feasts include lots of fresh seafood and lean turkey so this rule is very easy to follow during the silly season!

Rule #2 - Always eat 5-7 meals EVERY day about 3-4 hours apart
I always eat 5-6 small meals each day in order to keep my metabolism on fire. If you skip breakfast the chances of your metabolism becoming slow and sluggish is increased significantly. I want to make sure my metabolism stays revved up and in top gear throughout the day.
Christmas eating often means overeating at lunchtime and spending the afternoon on the coach in a food coma. You can still enjoy all the yummy foods, just have smaller portions and eat more frequently.

Rule #3 - Eat your greens…
Try to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day as a means to help boost immune function and reduce risk for chronic disease. Remember restricting any one of the major food groups can lead to a macronutrient imbalance and corresponding vitamin and mineral deficiency.
Summer brings with it some of Australia’s best seasonal fruits, amazingly sweet tasting without the guilt!

Rule #4 - Every 9 out of 10 meals you have, has to be in your plan. (the 10% rule)
In other words if you are eating five times per day, you would eat 35 meals per week in total. Effectively 3.5 of them can be your choice, within reason of course! I call these my junk meals, so try to find out what combination works best for you. In order to stay sane all week, I always indulge in a few small treats every second day as my reward. This does two things, keeps me sane and keeps my body guessing as to what I’m doing. This approach seems to work well for me as I really look forward to enjoying what I want. Chocolate, cheesecake and Caramel Slice … YUM!
This means that over the silly season you can schedule in those Christmas treats and not feel guilty about it!

Rule #5 - AVOID sugar and Limit your simple carbs with your last two meals unless you are active at night!
There are many schools of thought on this however there’s one that almost everyone needs to be aware of!!  SUGAR!! Hidden sugar is the number one enemy for most “saddle bag” sufferers and is a major reason why many people fall short of reaching their health and fitness goals. Read your food labels carefully and try to avoid rich sauces and fatty dressings that contain large amounts of sugar as they can be disastrous when trying to control your blood sugar levels and manage your weight. Excess consumption of simple or complex carbohydrates in the later part of the day (unless you are training) can also contribute to an energy surplus and if you are not careful can easily be stored by the body for later use. Portion control is paramount!

Rule #6 - Drink at least 500ml of water with every 10 kg of body weight
Water is my number one weight loss secret! It has no calories, sugar or fats and is a great way to quench your thirst without adding to your waistline. Many people often mistake thirst for hunger, so if you drink plenty of water throughout the day, you may need less food to keep you feeling satisfied. Not to mention, water is the only thing that will eliminate waste from your body. If you don’t keep well hydrated, your body simply cannot rid itself of those nasty toxins which inevitably end up on your thighs and hips.
Christmas brings the warmer weather, so it’s very easy to stick to this rule. Water really is so very important and should be second nature!

Rule #7 - Move more!
Try to get yourself moving each day for a minimum of 30-45 minutes before your day begins. Whether you get outdoors for a walk or hit the gym just remember to schedule it in before the day ends. I find it best to get it over and done with first thing in the morning. That way if I am tired from a hard days work, it doesn’t give me an excuse not to do it. Remember consistency is the key! This will kick start your metabolism for the rest of the day and help you get revved up and off to a good start! Any type of regular physical activity, no matter how moderate, can help you to lose body fat. You can always increase the level of intensity to speed up your results.
Christmas generally means holidays which means MORE SPARE TIME. So there really is no excuse to not get out there and get active with your family!

Above all, enjoy the festive season. Spend time with your loved ones, enjoy a treat and look after your body and your body will look after you!

Merry Christmas Everyone!
Lindy xxx