The holiday season is fast approaching and with it comes an array of delicious foods – and the desire to eat a lot and do very little. While it’s important to enjoy the holidays, there is a way to do so without completely negating the good work, you’ve put into improving your health and fitness. Here’s 5 of our top tips to help you maintain your weight during the holidays.
Don’t be too restrictive
While your first response may be to panic about your diet at this time of year, there’s no need to overwhelm yourself. The holidays are a time to be enjoyed, and that includes enjoying foods that you might not usually have as often. Although some people will heavily restrict their diets over the holidays, avoiding every holiday food is likely to cause more anxiety than victory, and will often lead to binging later.
Remember that your food choices are not an indication of your value as a person, so if you do indulge over the holidays, that’s ok. Instead of beating yourself up about your food choices, try to focus on controlling portion sizes and include nourishing foods amongst the sweets. Celebrate your victories over this period, and be kind to yourself if you don’t stay on track.
Set realistic goals
It’s perfectly okay to indulge over the holidays – but it’s also a good idea to set yourself some limitations. Be realistic about what areas you’ll be more controlled with, and which areas you might give yourself more freedom in. While “I will eat no desserts over the holidays” is unrealistic for most people, “I’ll only eat desserts at gatherings” is much more doable.
Have a look over the calendar and see what dates might be “free passes”. You don’t want to go overboard with this, but enjoying Christmas day and New Year’s Eve without thinking about your diet is perfectly acceptable. Choosing two occasions a month that you’ll indulge on is a reasonable goal for most. Of course, use your own judgement to set targets within your goals, but don’t go overboard – once you have chosen your special days, enjoy them guilt-free.
Make a plan
There’s countless events over the holiday period that you’re sure to attend. While you should choose some gatherings to be designated guilt-free splurges, other events may require you to cut back on alcohol and sugary treats. If you want to ensure you don’t pack on the kilos, make a plan for how you’ll approach each event that you attend. If you’re going to a cocktail party, for example, plan to eat something beforehand so that you’re not tempted by the food options at the party. You should also limit your drinks and go for low-carb options where you can.
For longer events, make the best food choices you can at the time, focusing on meat and vegetables where possible and avoiding too many pre-dinner snacks and after-dinner desserts. Again, this isn’t about avoiding eating entirely or only opting for carrot sticks – be aware that there will be obstacles to your ideal meal, and make the best choice you can in the moment.
Avoid temptation at home
With the multitude of events and gatherings you’re likely to attend over the holidays, you’re sure to consume a bunch of carbs, sugars, and high-fat foods while out and about. If you want to avoid this becoming your only food intake over the coming month or two, make sure that you have healthy food options at home to balance your indulgent meals.
By eliminating tempting foods from the cupboard and fridge, you’re less likely to turn to them, and will instead stick to better options when dining in. It’s also a good idea to meal prep where possible – if you know you have a delicious, nutritious meal waiting for you at home, you won’t feel as strong a pull to the pretzels and cheese at your work Christmas party.
Keep up with your fitness regime
While you should take some time to rest and recuperate during the holidays, that doesn’t mean you should completely avoid all exercise. If training sessions or dedicated exercise is something you can still commit to, keeping this as part of your routine even over the holidays will help you maintain your weight, health and fitness.
If you do want to take a break from highly focused exercise, try to incorporate some fun physical activity into your holiday. Going for walks with friends and family, hitting the beach or pool for a swim to cool off, or playing a round of backyard footy or cricket can be a great way to keep active while still feeling like you’re having a rest.
Do you need some targeted tips to help you stay on track over the holidays? Contact us to discuss a tailored fitness program to suit your needs, with expert tips and tricks to help you reach your fitness goals.