The festive season is upon us which often means a lot of Christmas events and an abundance of food and alcohol. I like to celebrate as well but try to be sane about it. Many people can undo a lot of hard work throughout the year over the month or two of the holiday season. You can celebrate and not be deprived and maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout this time. If you do not struggle with your weight then you probably don’t have to worry too much. If weight is an ongoing struggle for you then here are some tips to help you over the holiday period.
With all this extra energy and free time we can step up the exercise
The extra calories we are eating over this time period mean we can go extra hard on our workouts. Often we have time off from work as well which means more time to exercise! Don’t use the holiday season to exercise less as it is the time when you can be doing much more. Even just a walk each morning and night on top of whatever you do regularly will make you feel great and ensure you can eat a little more without feeling guilty. This is also a nice way to catch up with family or friends.
Remember mindful eating
I have written a longer article about mindful eating here. The basic tenets are worth covering again: No TV, no computer, no mobile phone. Just humans and food should be present at the meal table.
When you are at events try to eat the healthy stuff first
Filling up on healthy food will satisfy your hunger before reaching for the junk. Protein rich foods like meats and fibrous foods like vegies will help to keep you full. By eating these first you will reduce the amount you eat overall. You can also eat a small healthy meal at home of veggies and meat before going out so you are not craving for food!
Try to be ‘extra healthy’ during the non party times
If you do want to indulge at holiday events, try and keep your day to day life healthy and leave the treats for the events. This means you can be a lot more relaxed with your eating at any events as you have been mindfully eating so well leading up to it! Pick a few of the best events where you won't worry about your food intake at all and leave the rest of the month to be as healthy as you can.
If you are trying to lose weight, give yourself one month to maintain
Lets say you have been steadily losing weight over the months leading up to the holiday period. Inevitably many of us will gain some weight over this period. The most sensible thing to aim for at this time if you are trying to lose weight is to instead try and maintain your weight over the holiday period. Don’t let your diet go completely but make sure to enjoy yourself a bit. This way you can relax a bit and enjoy the season ready to continue your weight loss in the new year!
Alcohol is not only bad for us on its own, it is a big source of excess calories. The best drinks to have if you are conscious about consuming too much are wines or spirits mixed with either water or a diet drink. Mixed drinks, beers and ciders and all packed with sugar!
More time to cook
Use this extra holiday time to try out some new recipes or make some of your old favourites. Get some high quality ingredients and make some healthy and tasty food. The extra time means you can cook some quality meals that will be enjoyed by everyone.
If you do eat junk food, try to make it good quality
This is in line with eating mindfully. If you do want to eat some more junk food over the holiday season at least make it more enjoyable and get some high quality stuff. I have written before about healthy food tasting good. We may think junk food is great but there are also so many healthier foods that can be enjoyed during the holiday season.
Focus on the company, the most important part of the get together
For most of us the holiday season has an abundance of parties. Between work, friends and family there are often many different parties to go to. Use these as a chance to catch up and enjoy the company of others. Food is nice but you can eat any time, often you won’t see these people for a long time so make the most of it!
At the end of it all the holiday season is a great time to celebrate with friends and family. Whilst eating nice food is also enjoyable, it can cause quite large amounts of weight gain in a short period of time. This can often stay with us well after the holiday season and cause unhappiness leading into the new year. Take the holidays as a time to improve your health not damage it further. It is very possible to enjoy yourself over this time whilst maintaining a healthy lifestyle!
Do you eat big over the holiday season?