Surviving the Holiday Season

Christmas may be over for another year but the holiday season is well upon us. It’s the time we take a much-needed break from work to relax and unwind, a time to catch up with family and friends, a time to shop and a time to party. Unfortunately it’s also a time we let ourselves go and fall off the exercise bandwagon with the thought that “I’ll get back into it after New Year’s”. The fact is, now is the most important time to stay active and even amp up your exercise so you can burn off the extra calories you’ll be consuming. This doesn’t have to impede on your holiday celebrations, but you should aim to do something every day and enter the New Year feeling fit, not fat. One of the biggest barriers to exercise is lack of time so take advantage of the holidays when you’re off work or have a partner at home to watch the kids. Here are my top tips on how to keep your health and fitness in check during the festive season:
  • Plan your meals ahead of time and then go and buy all the ingredients. I do my food plan and shopping every Saturday for the week ahead so I don’t have to think about what I’m going to cook or what I have in the fridge/pantry to make. I also build in a few treats. This keeps me on track with healthy eating and avoids bingeing.
  • Research suggests the average craving lasts around 10 minutes so keep busy for this amount of time (outside of the kitchen) to see if the craving passes before caving in.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of “I’ve had one bad thing today so the rest of the day is a ride-off”. This is a very common thought. One bad snack or meal does NOT give you an excuse to continue this pattern for the remainder of the day or week. Get back on track as soon as possible.
  • Fit in a high intensity exercise session the morning of the party to burn off the extra calories you’ll be consuming that night.
  • If you’re attending a party, offer to bring a plate. Make it something healthy such as chopped vegies and low fat dip or chicken salad that you can eat without feeling guilty.
  • At a party, use portion control. Fill a small plate with food then move far away from the buffet.
  • Avoid drinks with high sugar content such as gin and tonics, creamy cocktails, spirits with soft drinks. Opt for a healthier alternative such as vodka and soda water or wine and SIP, SIP, SIP! Have a glass of water in between your drinks to keep you hydrated and avoid a nasty hangover the next day. Also, make sure you eat before consuming alcohol.
  • If you’re going out for dinner, look at the menu beforehand to plan what you’ll eat – and stick to it! Choose a healthier option and avoid creamy pastas, pizza and bread. Perhaps have a light snack before leaving home to avoid over-indulging then order a smaller meal (entree). Try sorbet or fruit salad for dessert instead of cake.
  • Eat slowly and savour the food. It takes your brain 20 minutes to register that you’ve eaten enough.
  • For those of you who are travelling, pack a skipping rope. It takes up very little space and gives you a great cardio workout, burning approximately 125 calories in 10 minutes!
  • Incorporate exercise into your day and include your family or friends. It doesn’t always need to be intense. Go for a bike ride, play a game of soccer, jump on the trampoline, power walk or run along the beach, enjoy a refreshing swim at the pool.
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and safe New Year, Dimity x

1 Comment

  1. Jessica Taylor
    August 1, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Hi Dimity, I just read your blog on surviving the holiday season. Great tips, especially the 20 minutes it takes for the brain to register that you are full. Thanks, jess.

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