Lesson 9.3: Successfully Manage Holidays and Celebrations
Too often, we look at holidays as a licence to ditch every healthy behaviour we have been following and to “take a break” from our weight loss journey. The problem with that kind of thinking is that you can easily blow all your hard work and, while it may be fun at the time, you may regret it when you get back.
Do you do some of these unhelpful behaviours on holidays?
- Eat everything in sight. It feels good not to watch what you eat and to give your mind a rest.
- Have desserts at all meals.
- Forget to eat salad and vegetables
- Indulge in “all you can eat buffets” especially for breakfast.
- Drink too much. Holidays can make it suddenly acceptable to drink everyday and at times, all parts of the day. This includes alcohol, soft drinks, juices and cocktails. We often do not drink enough water.
- Not get enough exercise. Resting can be a good thing, but many of us use a vacation as an excuse to do nothing, including not even walking short distance to get to places.
Remember your “fat cells” of do not go on holiday when you do.
What can you do?
Plan ahead. Plan things that are both active and fun in between your rest days. Walks on the beach, bike rides or a snorkelling trip or pool swimming can be great for moving around without feeling like you’re exercising.
Try short workouts. There are a variety of short workouts that will keep you fit without cutting into your holiday time. Do some high intensity interval training and make it short and sharp. Use the hotel gym or pack a skipping rope.
Allow yourself one “free choice” meal a day. It is easy to indulge in high calorie, carbohydrate rich foods. Have one average serve of the food of your choice daily but ensure you have a good healthy breakfast and a lighter “other meal” (lunch or dinner) that has plenty of vegetables and salads.
Limit your drinking: Cocktails have a high amount of calories. If you do drink, go lighter with wine, light beer or alcohol with no-calorie mixers. Perhaps aim to drink every 2nd or 3rd day and no more than 2 drinks a night. If you are drinking more, ensure you have a non-alcoholic drink (preferably water) between each alcoholic drink. Do not allow alcohol to be the focus of the night.
Allow for a little weight gain. Even if you do make good choices, you may gain weight simply because you’re off your regular routine. Use that as motivation to get back on track when you get home.
During the festive season, many of us are subjected to temptation for weeks at a time. Research tells us that the we gain the most weight from mid-December to mid-January due to the continuous end-of-year parties and Christmas and New Year celebrations. Add in the stress of cooking, shopping, socialising and parties and you barely have the energy to plan your food and exercise.
The office can be one of the worst places for gaining weight and mindless eating. Even if you enjoy your job, there are times when work can be tedious and tiring, which can sometimes lead you to that mid-afternoon need for a pick-me-up. 90% of jobs are office jobs that have you sitting for most of the day which slows your metabolism and reduces your activity levels.
Do you face these situations at work?
- Indulgent morning and afternoon teas which are often left in the tea room to be consumed all day long.
- Food which can break the boredom at long meetings.
- The candy dish at the receptionist’s desk, where a few at a time or several times during the day may seem innocent enough.
- Eating out for lunches or with clients that usually involve high- fat quick cheap food or indulgent food that is paired with alcohol.
- After work drinks you are pressured to go to because of networking.
These are some solutions to the situations you may face at work.
- Keep healthy snacks in your drawers like small packs of nuts, small tubs of Greek yogurt, fruit, cans of tuna.
- Bring healthy foods to morning teas or meetings. Organise a “healthy morning tea” theme once a month.
- Get support from your colleagues. Ask your co-workers not to leave unhealthy food around and to bring healthier snacks to morning tea.
- Keep moving. Use your lunch breaks to go for a walk or even a jog. Set up standing stations. Arrange tasks that involve you getting up and moving away from your desk every hour.
MAKING LIFE CHANGES
Delaying life changes such as changing jobs, or moving house until after we reach our target weight goals, puts the importance of weight loss unfairly on the yourself. Think about whether these are valid delays or should these changes be tackled now.