Ahhh Christmas, the time for festive joy, work parties, pigs in blankets and of course the marketing barrage of special xmas drinks. For the many of you who are reading this blog post, being conscious of your health around this time of the year can be very tricky.
Lets take the afternoon coffee run for example (a staple of any sensibly run business). Gingerbread Lattes, Salted Caramel Cappuccinos, Billionaires Hot Chocolate are hard to resist when the whole office is holding red cups.
What once started as a drink at the start of the process generally ends up closer to a dessert by the end. As active and healthy people, how can we successfully navigate ourselves around this time whilst being able to get involved in the festivities?
Decadent Beverages - What you need to know.
We may not always be directly counting them but calories will always count. Understanding that the amount you consume vs the amount you use for energy will dictate how our body composition changes, is a powerful tool that can allow you to make better informed decisions.
Let’s take a look at some examples and what impact they may have on a typical 2,000 calorie day:
1. Small Starbucks Egg Nog Latte - 169 kcals
2. Large Costa Coffee Gingerbread Latte - 339 kcals
3. Large Cafe Nero Toffe Nut Latte - 623 kcals
As you can see from the above, each of these drinks can be included within the example diet, however they will all take up different percentages of your daily targets. Each of these can impact the rest of the days consumption in many different ways. Opting for a small, lower calorie order might not make much of a difference, such as the Egg Nog Latte at Starbucks which is only 8% of the calorie target. However going for a large, creamy Latte is 24% and dramatically impacts the available calories over the rest of the day.
Looking at the nutritional information provided for consumers on the websites/menus can allow you to make good decisions and pick a drink and size relative to you. Because it is important to indulge at times over Christmas
Managing Expectations & Being Realistic
I can remember the nerves and anxiety I would feel around the festive period; I was convinced that joining in on the food festivities with my colleagues could in fact undo all of the progress that I had made this year. Was I really no longer “a healthy person” by having one of these drinks?
Several years further down the line and far better educated, I now know that actually moderating rather than restricting my nutrition choices is probably the “healthiest” decision that I ever made. It dawned on me how important mindset and managing expectations throughout the year are, especially around Christmas. It’s very possible that we’re already setting ourselves up for failure from the outset by placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves.
Context is always key of course. We’re most likely striving to be a healthy mum, dad or partner rather than bodybuilder, professional athlete or olympian.
A more positive strategy for most of us around this period would generally be one of maintenance and moderation rather than over restriction and guilt.
Is it time we all thought about the bigger picture more and learnt to adjust our expectations according to where we are right now?