With the festive period now over, and the cycling season looming just over the horizon, many cyclists struggle to get back on the bike and keep up their winter training. As everyone knows, Christmas is a time when people let themselves go a bit- an extra glass of wine here, another slice of cake there. And before you know it, it all adds up and you’re piling on the kilograms.

Just Pedal ride leader Peter Hitt  covers three easy steps to overcome that “Christmas blues” and get back in control of your diet…

Avoid Christmas Fatigue

One of the main feelings after the Christmas period is fatigue- this is often down to dehydration and a sustained period of eating “junk food”. Frequently eating large meals and sugary foods leaves your body with a lot of excess energy, so when you return to a more normal diet you can feel tired and a bit down. Drinking a lot of alcohol over a sustained period can seriously dehydrate your body, leaving you feeling tired and not in the mood to go out and ride.  As you’d expect, drinking a lot of water is one of the first steps to getting your body back on track. However getting back into a normal eating habit can be more difficult. My personal way of doing this is to set a cut-off date; I make sure all my “bad” foods are out of the house by then (so they don’t tempt me…), and return to my normal diet.

However this takes quite a lot of resolve and some people find it easier to just slowly phase back into a normal diet; try phasing out the larger things first (mince pies, biscuits, cake), before cutting out the small things last, for example After Eights, and the occasional chocolate from a tub of Heroes.
There’s nothing wrong with having the occasional treat, perhaps a glass of wine with dinner, or something sweet after a training ride, just don’t overindulge!

Stock Up on the Good Stuff

The next step is restocking the house with “good” foods; vegetables, meat, fish etc. Try planning your meals for the week, writing down exactly what you need from the shops before going, and stick to that list! Supermarkets are full of special offers on sweet foods at this time of year, and it can be very easy to get sidetracked.
I also try to eat something before I go shopping, so I’m not hungry when I go- I don’t get so tempted to buy unhealthy snacks, and I come out of the supermarket with exactly what I’d planned to buy.

Plan Ahead

Lastly, try to stick to your planned meals. I find the easiest way of doing this is to make several meals in bulk and then freeze or refrigerate them. This way you can simply put them in the oven or microwave after a training ride or getting home from work, and you don’t have long to wait before your meal is ready. This works really well for curries (home made can actually be quite healthy), and sauces for pasta such as bolognaise.