Tips for surviving the Festive Season
But despite being a “good girl” during the year, I don’t think Santa is going to give me that. Christmas is without doubt one of my favourite times of the year: extravagant decorations, boppy Christmas tunes in the shops and an unmatched excitement and energy from the kids But it’s also a difficult time for avoiding over-eating and binge eating. These times of celebration are filled with abundant favourites that sneak out only once a year that are full of calories, fat and sugar. And of course, exercise usually always takes a backward seat. But the rude fact, is that weight gain does not take a holiday during this time.
Here are my Top 10 Tips for Surviving the “Crazy” Season
These are the 3 big ones:
1. Eating while you are cooking:
This time of year is when we do more baking, cooking and food prep. Unfortunately, this means we are constantly surrounded by food.
Tips: To prevent bingeing while you cook:
- Immerse used dishes and utensils immediately in water after using.
- Chew gum while you cook.
- Use only teaspoons to taste.
- Avoid having a glass of alcohol as you cook despite the appeal.
2. Eating at someone else’s house
During Christmas time, you are sure to be invited for delicious feasts and festive celebrations all themed with alcohol and more food to last the entire month. What can you do when you have invite after invite?
Tips: when you are worried about over-eating at someone’s house:
- Offer to take a dish so at least there will one low calorie option.
- Take a small portion of high calorie dishes and fill the rest of plate with salad and vegetables.
- Bring a fruit salad for dessert.
It may sound obvious but drink alcohol and eat in moderation. Balance your intake by having a glass of water between each one. I generally aim to be 80% full (instead of 110% full) when I leave a party.
Tips: how to eat and drink in moderation
- focus on features of the occasion that make that occasion enjoyabl
- When there is a buffet or a “pot luck” style meal, choose 4 dishes only and stick to them. Even if it is the most fatty, if you choose things you only want to eat rather than a little bit of everything, you will not overeat and still enjoy yourself
- Offer to be the designated driver. Your family and friends will love you and you will automatically have to limit your alcohol intake.
Here are 6 of the smaller ones but just as important.
4. Incidental Exercise and get outside
Take every opportunity to do incidental exercise to counteract all the extra calories you are eating. Park further away, so you are forced to walk more. Always take the stairs. Offer to do something active at parties like looking after the kids, or cleaning up as you are away from the food and off the couch.
You need to remember to drink good old H20 during this time and it will fill you up and keep your body well hydrated. An even better strategy is to only allow yourself to have one non-water drink each function and the rest of the time only drink water. This will be a fail proof strategy of keeping the calories and alcohol down. Keep it a go at least 1 function.
6. Ensure you have one healthy meal a day
With all the fat, sugar and alcohol around, ensure you have at least one meal that is full of good healthy non starchy coloured vegetables or salads, a quality serve of protein and some good fats with plenty of omega -3’s. We just don’t get enough fruit and vegetables into our daily diet and Christmas and New Year is a time we really forget.
Ensuring we get our 7-8 hours sleep each night means we are not over tired, carb and sugar craving to raise energy levels and make better choices about food and alcohol. Prioritising sleep is important for your overall health as well as weight loss. It has been discovered that if you cut back your sleep over a 14 day period, the fat you lost from weight lost reduced by 55% despite eating the same calories. Lack of slack affects your metabolism and circadian rhythm.
8. Swap chocolate for other treats
There is more chocolate during Christmas time than at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory. Make a goal this Christmas to swap chocolate with another healthier snack like a handful of nuts, yogurt or fruit. Put that chocolate in a jar and give it to your favourite person. If chocolate is not your thing, than swap out another favourite treat. This way, you are keeping an eye on calories and making someone you love very very happy.
9. Keep a diary
Eating and drinking can get out of control over Christmas and New Year. Keep a diary on what you are eating. This will make you accountable and let you track all the extra calories you are having. I did this last Christmas, and I was shocked how easily the calories add up.
10. Get support: do it in pairs
Find someone else like your partner, best friend or work colleague to keep you accountable and work together. Good support is important during this difficult time and it feels easier when someone else (not just you) is watching what you are eating and making the effort to exercise. It is hard, but it is worth it!
Merry Christmas everyone. I have the confidence that you will successful over this difficult Festive period if you follow these 10 tips. If you do find you need to get back on track, have a look at our Redefine Metabolic 6 week diet and exercise program.