Tips on how to stay healthy over Christmas
Christmas and New Years can sometimes be that time of the year where we let ourselves eat and drink whatever we want. Celebrations are happening, BBQs are firing up and beers are flowing. It can be easy to get carried away around this time of year, and it’s often harder to return to our normal discipline. It then becomes a cycle where we end up feeling guilty or regretful after all the hard work we have put in during the year. Sound familiar?
Well with a little planning and preparation, it doesn’t have to be like that. Don’t throw your progress out the window and set yourself up for success in 2021 with these tips.
1. Be prepared!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Plan your nutrition in advance by considering what you’ve got on for the week ahead. You’ll need to prepare accordingly whether you’ve got a party, if you are travelling or if you’ll be hosting guests.
For example, the day before an event, try to eat lighter by lowering your calories for that day, eating nutrient dense foods which are high in nutrients and lower in calories, and adding more voluminous foods like leafy greens and veggies to keep you satisfied. By doing so, you have more wiggle room for a few cheeky drinks or dessert, without going over your weekly calorie targets by too much, if at all.
General preparedness and having these sorts of meals planned in advance will make you less likely to blow your nutrition targets. Feel free to check out some other helpful nutrition hacks on our blog on Meal Planning.
2. Keep up with your training
It’s known that our routines change completely during the holidays, so if you have to be creative to keep away from the couch, do it!
Hit some home WODS, go for a long walk with your family and friends, try a sport or activity you’ve always wanted to but may not have had the time. As you’ll probably be eating more than usual, it’s key to stay moving! Even if it’s not in a typical ‘training’ session, just getting up and being active will make a massive difference so mix it up a bit and explore your options.
People are often under the impression that exercising in the gym will make or break fat loss, but when it comes to physical activity this is actually not the case. Our bodies burn more energy via a process known as Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, or NEAT, which is how much we move around daily, from walking to fidgeting to typing, to basically anything that requires energy but isn’t sports-like exercise, digestion or sleep. So don’t stress too much if you can’t make it into the gym during the holiday period.
3. Choose to drink water.
Keep hydrated. Instead of choosing sugary drinks, choose water whenever you can. Down a big glassful before your meals to help increase the feeling of being full, ultimately helping you decrease your calories.
Take control of your alcohol. Yes, it’s a time for the silly season, but ruining your year’s worth of hard work and results just to get drunk isn’t the best trade-off. Not to mention the poor food choices you make when you’re feeling tipsy or dusty.
Basically, try not to add excess calories to your day with liquids, as it can be easy to do but not very satiating. (Extra hint: the same applies to sauces – they are often heavy in calories without people realising!)
4. Practice mindful eating.
Practicing mindfulness is not only great for our general mental health, but can be incorporated into our nutrition and fitness habits as well.
Many studies show that those who practice mindful eating are less likely to gain weight. How? Well, mindfulness involves being aware of your mental, emotional and physical sensations.
This will also help connect your brain with the hunger hormones (ghrelin and leptin) so they can do their thing and let us know when we are full.
So take a deep breath before starting to eat and chew slowly. Eat without distractions and engage your senses while you’re eating. Think about the tastes, smells, and textures, how your body is responding to the meal.
5. Use a small plate.
A great option to help control your portions and prevent overeating is to use a small plate. We will pick up less food, instinctively feel full with less and ultimately avoid overindulging.
If you still aren’t satisfied and want another round of fresh prawns, you can always go back for seconds 🙂
6. Create healthy dishes
Healthy doesn’t mean boring! Whether you are hosting a Christmas celebration or are a guest, you can include some epic healthy options on the menu.
Here are some recipes that can be a great addition to any family Christmas: