With winter well and truly here (if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere) and Christmas parties abound, it can be tricky staying on track with your health goals. At every given turn, you are confronted with boozy occasions, holiday treats and a gaggle of other unhealthy temptations.
Here is my fool proof guide to staying healthy this holiday season, and avoiding that dreaded weight gain.
Don't deviate from your usual routine
Just because 2013 is coming to a close, it doesn’t mean you can let yourself completely off the hook and stop exercising and eating cleanly.
Keep your body in check by maintaining your usual exercise regime. On the food front, yes now is a time when you can relax a little, but practice the 90/10 rule – be good 90% of the time and allow yourself to indulge 10% of the time.
Only eat the foods you really like
Have you ever wolfed down everything in site, only to realise you’re not the biggest fan of Christmas pudding, or mince pies? Don’t feel pressured into eating certain foods you don’t like, just because they are there.
Save room for the foods you truly love, and savour every bite. Not only will you avoid extra and unnecessary calories, you will enjoy this indulgent experience a lot more with the knowledge that you are eating something you absolutely love.
Practice mindful eating
It can be so tempting (and easy) to overeat at this time of year. If you practice this one simple thing, you can never go wrong: eat when hungry, stop when full. It is really that easy.
Serve yourself once and resist the temptation for seconds
Christmas spreads can be a calorie bomb, and while there is nothing wrong with this, picking at food all day and having multiple serves of things make it very hard to know exactly how much you have eaten. Sure, be generous with your portions, but hit the food table once and once only. When done eating, clean up your plate to resist the urge to go back for more.
Don't fast or skip meals
Skipping meals is a guaranteed route to failure. While you may think you are “saving room” for more food, you are just setting yourself up for a massive binge-fest. Always eat breakfast and have a small healthy snack before leaving home. Arriving starving to a party is a recipe for disaster, so keep yourself satisfied until the big meal time and you will be less likely to overeat.
Alternate alcoholic drinks with water
For every drink you have, down a glass of water. Not only will this help you stay (relatively) sober, the water will help with feelings of fullness too, so you will avoid the temptation to overeat.
Above all, enjoy yourself this festive season. Shift the focus away from food and on to your loved ones and your health and weight will stay in shape.