Getting out on the bike for a few hours burns a few calories, but not as much as we think. In food terms it may not even be a mince pie in terms of fat oxidation. We still have to consider the food we are consuming. Unless of course you are managing 3-hour plus rides per day? I have enclosed a list below of how long it takes to burn our favourite xmas treats.
The S-word - Structure
This can go out of the window at xmas - and it’s easy for our routine to change radically. We are likely to rest more (a good thing - see Phil and Dave's comments above). But even getting out on the bike for a few hours may only just about offset our usual daily energy expenditures, such as: running for the tube, bus, commute, 2km up and down stairs etc. etc.
When our usual structure goes our eating habits often follow. We may graze more or our eating habits become a bit more erratic.
Turbo in your PJ's?
Getting up out of bed and straight into the training kit helps, and almost gives our metabolism a wee nudge. Even a quick 15- 20 minutes ride / turbo session / run can be a kick start to the day - this can be done without eating to help out a bit with fat oxidation or detoxifying. We may then be more likely to go with some healthy choices on the breakfast front and get set up for the day.
A word on calories - 7500kcal is equal to a kilogram in weight. Keep in mind over Xmas it is possible to gain 2.5kg (equal to 18,7500kcal) or more. Just being slightly mindful and trimming down the portions, one or two canapes rather than 3 or 4 or one less drink or an alcohol swap with a mineral water etc etc.
Suggestions are in the mainstream and they work. Switch some foods to low fat choices for example low fat soft cheese, low fat crème fraiche, low fat dips, ditch the high fat spreads where possible.
Or reduce the portions
Don’t food watch or calorie watch. Just portion control. Just have less.
Damage limitation approach. Do we need breakfast, Xmas dinner, cheese platters and 3 snacks in one day? Perhaps trim back the breakfast and snack and have a lean-day on the calorie front a day or a few days before, and the same approach on boxing day? It is relatively painless to offset a couple of thousand calories this way.
This strategy is often suitable in short term but not an answer to long-term good nutrition.
Happy Christmas everyone. But not too happy eh?
Darren Barclay - Medical Dietitian at Form