Brace yourselves!!! The Christmas season is in full swing… the added demands of school holidays are about to hit the next level…. and the relentless strain of ‘making an appearance’ at every ‘do’ you’ve been invited to…. all add to the potential of your regular ‘healthy routine’, being scrunched up like discarded wrapping paper, and thrown in the bin until New Year’s Resolution (‘recycle’) Day!
But wait…. It doesn’t have to be like that! Whilst all these competing priorities can create additional stress, emotional eating, and cause for missing your regular gym sessions…. or conversely, provide you with the ‘perfect justification’ for relaxing your usual eating and exercises patterns, just a little too much for just a little too long…. there are a whole range of strategies you can put in place now, to ensure that you’re still not ‘trying to get back on track’, in mid-February!
Here are my Top Ten Tips:
- Make a ‘Year End’ Resolution:
With only a small fraction of people actually maintaining their New Year’s Resolutions, start your exercise and healthy eating efforts well prior to the Christmas chaos kicking in! This will place you leaps and bounds ahead because you’ll have already established some good habits, before the New Year calendar begins! It will also help you cope with the additional demands (mental, emotional and physical), that the ‘festive season’ often brings.
- Schedule it In & Step it Up:
It’s a busy time of year, conceded…. but with the additional stress and the (practically unavoidable) additional calories, this is the season to be non-negotiable in scheduling your exercise time, and if possible, aim to squeeze in a couple of additional sessions too! If you can’t make it to the gym, consider going for a brisk walk after every meal…. or even park a little bit further away from the shops or your next function venue, in order to (at the least), increase your incidental physical activity.
3. Plan Your Menus & Portions:
If you’re catering for a gathering at home, take some time to do some careful planning, to minimise over-indulgence and waste. Think about ‘realistic portion sizes’ (for yourself and your guests), as well as the nutritional value of the meal. Keep lean proteins top of mind, focus on salads and/or vegetables that are high in dietary fibre rather than starch, and avoid desserts that are high in refined carbohydrates.
- Raise the Bar & Set a New Standard:
Stand out from the crowd and be the Mum, the colleague, friend or family member that presents the healthiest platter at each festive function you attend. Prepared and equipped with an amazing array of bright, colourful and nutritious seasonal fruits or a roasted veggie antipasto selection, you’ll not only guarantee yourself a healthy eating option, but you’ll be sharing your love for others with deliciously nurturing food.
- Stay Well Hydrated:
With the summer temperatures rising and an abundance of convenient sugary treats on open offer on every table, at every gathering, it’s so easy to mistake thirst for hunger and just grab the most convenient ‘delight’ that tempts your visual senses! Instead, keep your glass (or water bottle) topped up with ice, and keep it with you at all times. Add some citrus slices and a few sprigs of mint for some additional flavour, so you’re also less likely to be tempted by freely available soft drinks or juices. Keep a regularly replenished jug with a few extra glasses on your own table, for others to enjoy as well.
- Set Your Intentions:
Before you hit the next party or take your first bite of a meal, be present in that moment and mindfully set (or reinforce) your intention to enjoy the occasion, but not to over indulge. Remember also, the broader context of the festive season…. It’s rarely just a single ‘high calorie’ event, but rather a whole series of them. Honouring your intent will prevent gluttony, and of course, the ‘food coma’ regrets!
- Eat from a Plate:
Rather than picking and grazing all day direct from platters, trays, or bowls, serve your desired selection onto a plate. In doing so, you’ll more easily maintain appropriate portion sizes, and you’ll have a far better opportunity to recall the actual number of portions (and the likely number of calories) you consumed. Add lean proteins and salads high in dietary fibre to your plate first.
- Enjoy a Christmas Breakfast:
Christmas lunches or dinners are traditionally the ‘big events’, and the meals that are most likely going to result in excessive calorie consumption. Whilst you may be tempted to avoid breakfast in order to either ‘fit more in’ at lunch time, or to off-set the additional calories by commencing the meal in deficit-mode, you’re actually less likely to indulge if you’re hunger is already feeling satisfied from breakfast and you’re feeling good about starting the day well nourished. Foods high in dietary fibre, protein and functional (healthy) fats and low in refined carbohydrates will keep you satisfied for longer.
- Keep Alcohol to a Minimum:
Although it’s extremely tempting to completely unwind and relax during the holiday period with a few drinks with friends and family, alcohol is really high in calories and also disrupts the normal digestion process. Adding sugary mixers or indulging in cocktails can clock up even more calories than your Christmas dessert! Water is a great option (see Tip #5), but if you really want to enjoy a Christmas or New Year bevy with loved ones, try a lighter option such as a half wine/half soda spritzer or low carb option, alternate between alcohol and water or soda based drinks, or even top up your cocktail glass with an non-alcoholic alternative that mimics alcohol.
- Keep a Good Sleep Routine:
Late night Christmas present wrapping projects, endless parties, or increased stress levels can all impact on regular sleep patterns, but this too can impact on your ability to think clearly and resist all the festive temptations. Chronic sleep loss can also affect metabolic processes that influence hunger and weight gain, so set a reasonable bedtime and stick to it, regardless of the occasion!
BONUS TIP – It’s Ok to Simply Say ‘No Thank You’:
There’s absolutely no reason to feel pressured by family or friends to overload your body with more than it needs, when you’re attending functions and get-togethers. You don’t even need to justify your ‘no thank you’ response either… even though you may feel compelled to explain your reason for not following the majority. It’s YOUR choice, end of story.
MY Christmas Gift to YOU…..
Are you ready to IGNITE! Your Lifestyle Revolution in 2019?
If you’d love to learn 7 Simple Secrets to Spark Your Lifestyle Revolution, register now for my IGNITE! Program. It’s MY gift to YOU!
Commencing in mid-January and delivered online over 7 days, you’ll create and apply your very own Master Plan to spark your Lifestyle Revolution, based upon my top seven, simple, yet highly powerful self-honour rituals.
Come and JOIN us HERE:
You may also like to read: