Over the next couple of weeks you’re going to see a lot of these in various places, so I apologise now, I just thought to share some tips on how to stay on track during the holidays, even when faced with some of the toughest social situations which will test your self-control!
Find a healthy balance
Before I dive into my tips for staying on track during the holidays, it’s important to note that the holiday season is a time to relax and enjoy the company of your family and friends! Due to the COVID restrictions I appreciate how hard it is going to be especially if you are unable to spend time with those you love. Try to keep in touch as you can, possibly face time, zoom or portal. Find a healthy balance that allows you to really enjoy the holiday season.
You can apply the 80/20 rule here. So, if you’re eating healthy most of the time (80%) you can allow for some treats (20%). Try to limit alcohol as these are empty calories and can tempt you into eating MORE. It’s also important to remember that the holiday period is family oriented and is a time where it is OK to enjoy this time to relax and practice mindful eating without the guilt.
Don’t go anywhere hungry
Becoming too hungry can lead to poor food choices. Research has shown that as meal skipping increases, the quality of meals become poorer, hunger is aggravated, and excessive eating occurs during the next meal (2). Plan to have a small snack or light meal with some protein and fibre if you have are headed anywhere. At this time of year there are more temptations than usual.
Bring a healthy dish
If it’s a pot-luck style event, bring your own homemade healthy dish so that you know there is one option to turn to if all else fails. Ideas for this could be a veggie tray with yoghurt dip or guacamole! Simple but really easy and tasty!
Use a smaller plate
Use a plate and stay on track to keep your portions in track. It is SO easy to go overboard and return for multiple rounds of finger foods which we just pick, grab and gobble.
Do not hang around the food
If food is in front of us it becomes harder for us to resist. Be social but do so AWAY from the food table.
Do not skip training
Get it done and dusted early as by doing this, you won’t feel guilty about letting yourself enjoy and socialise later on in the day. If you’re not a morning person, try to stay active in other ways like taking the stairs instead of elevator or escalator, park far away while doing your holiday shopping, or even if you are unlucky enough to be working, go for a walk with family after meals.
Drink a lot of water
Ensure you stay hydrated if you are planning to have drinks with your friends. It’ll help you feel so sluggish the next day. Another tip is to also try having one drink and a water in between so you are spreading them out.
Eat a balanced meal before you go and pack protein packed options such as pre-cooked proteins, boiled eggs, roasted nuts, fruit, tuna, a protein shake, hummus and veggie sticks etc. This will ensure you avoid temptation when you’re stuck doing your shopping.
The key to succeeding with your fitness goals is to plan ahead. During the holidays, think about how you will plan to get your workout in. Try an online exercise class, home workout session. Even a gentle yoga class on those days you feel a bit non-energetic?
Say No – it’s ok!
This is the one that hits home for a lot of people. Do NOT feel guilty about turning down high-calorie foods. Don’t feel you HAVE to eat anything that someone offers you. Be selective and get used to politely saying no. It will be tough enough these holidays, physically and emotionally. The odd drink or two and a couple of snacks we probably wouldn’t normally have are not going to hurt. The main thing is to stay in touch with those close to you, but take care to look after you.
The important stuff stays, you can do this.