Surviving the Silly Season

habits nutrition Nov 27, 2022

December is here, and everyone seems to be getting anxious about the upcoming Christmas parties, drinks nights, family dinners, holidays away and the BIG day!


  • How am I going to stay on track?
  • How am I going to track my macros?
  • How am I going to track the food I didn't cook?
  • How do I track Alcohol?
  • How am I going to get through this Christmas party?
  • How do I control myself?



Life shouldn't be about scales and measuring. It is to be enjoyed with friends and family, which involves food and Alcohol.


So how do you find the balance between life and the body you want??


Firstly, this time of year doesn't mean you have to go backward with your health and fitness goals.
It also doesn't need to be an excuse to eat and drink yourself silly.
Or that you avoid those occasions either or go into hiding.


People overthink and stress about this time of year, but it's straightforward, you can do one of two things.


a) Do Not give a shit and eat and drink until your heart is content. Be ok with putting on 5kg and starting all over in January (I'm sure this is not want you want!)


b) Read this blog!



Managing your expectations:
The first thing you need to get right is managing your expectations.


You are not going goto lose 5 kg over December. Simple as that, Losing body fat in December is tough.


Purely because there are far more social occasions in one period than any other time of the year, and you want to be enjoying this time of year, not dieting!


I have been explaining to my clients that this time of year isn't about losing but maintaining where you are right now whilst still enjoying social occasions, guilt-free and anxious-free.


It's not impossible to lose body fat over December; I'm saying that if you choose to eat, drink and be merry over this time, then let's get a little more realistic with the results you expect to see.


By managing your expectations, you are not setting yourself up for failure if you don't see a decrease in the scales over the next month. You will also enjoy this time of year far more without the stress of unrealistic expectations you have put on yourself.


Mindset is key:
Having the right mindset before going out to an event, dinner, or drink function is imperative. Are you telling yourself I'm going to smash four cocktails, get wasted and just not going to track anything today?


Or are you preparing for what's to come, planning how to enjoy a drink or two and stay on track?


Plan your macros for that day the night before. Decide if you're drinking and how much food you sacrifice for Alcohol.


Eat before going to a drinks function and decide how many drinks you will have; when that 3rd glass is offered to you, you are more inclined to say no, just like saying no to the canapés as you are full from the dinner you ate before coming out.


If you, however, didn't plan and didn't eat before heading out, you are more likely to
a) overeat on canapés and still feel hungry and
b) say yes to the 4th, 5th and 6th glass of wine plus the cocktails that got passed around.


If you know you have a dinner out, plan your meals around this, save some of your fats and carbs for dinner, and have protein and veggie/salad-based meals during the day. Keep these meals calorie conscious but tasty with low-calorie sauces. 


If you know you'll drink, decide how much you want to drink and how many calories you're prepared to sacrifice for Alcohol. Trust me; when you sit down and work this out, you will much rather eat cake for the number of carbs you lose in Alcohol.


How to track Alcohol:
Let me tell you, once you realise how much food you have to sacrifice for a drink; you tend to think twice about it. But here is a summary of how to track Alcohol.


1g carb: 4 calories
1g fat: 9 calories
1g protein: 4 calories
1g fibre: 2-3g calories
and finally... 1g alcohol: 7 calories
If a drink represents 150 calories, we can take this from either carbs or/and fats.
For example:
Carbs - 150 calories from Alcohol taken off carbs (150 divided by 4) = 38g (rounded up from 37.5). For a glass of wine that provides 150 calories, this is equal to 38g of carbs.


Fats - 150 calories from Alcohol taken off fats (150 divided by 9) = 17 (rounded up from 16.6). For a glass of wine that provides 150 calories, this is equal to 17g of fats.


So let's say your daily macros are P120 F80 C150. You plan to have two x150ml glasses of white wine on Christmas day. Each glass of wine is worth 150 calories.


150 x2 = 300kcals
300/4=75g carbs or,
300/9 = 33g fats.


So depending on your total daily macros, decide which macronutrient you want to deduct from.


As you can see, it doesn't leave you much room for Christmas pudding!


How to "borrow" macros:
So you know you have a big day of eating and drinking, and you want to be able to track this and stay on target, but you don't think you will have enough macros left over for this meal.


What do you do?


So this is where you can 'borrow' macros from another day or days or "calorie cycle."


For example, your daily calories are 2000kcal; macros are P140 F70 C200. You would usually have five small meals.


You know Christmas day at your parents is always full on, and you love your mums cooking, there will be Christmas pudding and wine. Even if you just had three meals that day and saved most of your fats and carbs for dinner, you know you won't have enough to cover it.


So you can reduce calories by 100kcal from your carbs and fats for 1-2 days prior and 1-2 days after. 
We are giving you an additional 200-400kcal.


**I do not encourage macro tracking on Christmas day**


The Christmas period is a busy social time, and this social time is around food and drink. You will expect to consume more calories in a day than usual with Christmas parties and family gatherings; these few days won't be the end of the world if you give some consideration to your food choices around the events and the days on either side of them.
It's just a few days out of the month; you will be ok!
Use the knowledge you have about nutrition, your habits and behaviours and make smart, informed decisions. Have the right mindset approaching this period and do what you can with planning to set yourself up for a win.