Are you worried about how to manage all the extra food, treats, desserts, and holiday festivities while still maintaining your healthy lifestyle and weight? This time of year can get busy and even the best intended healthy eating plans can quickly fall to the wayside. You may need a holiday survival guide to help you stay on track!
Indulging may leave you a couple of kilos heavier in the New Year making it harder to get back on track. Did you know the average person gains approximately 2kg over the holiday season? But, at the same time you do want to enjoy the holidays, spending time with family and friends and even eating a few items you really like. Actually, you can do both! Enjoy the holidays and stay on track at the same time!
Want to make your holidays stress-free? Start with these few easy steps in our holiday survival guide that will help you at least maintain your weight during the season and set you up for success in 2015:
- Stop Stressing! Did you know that excessive stress, even about food, actually causes weight gain? Stress increases our cortisol levels, a hormone that makes us hold on to extra weight. Too much stress can also cause us to reach for a treat to help soothe our anxiety or avoid the situation.The first step during the holidays is to realise you are not going to be 100% successful with any diet and let that expectation, and the stress that comes with it, go! You always want what you can’t have, so the more you restrict, the more likely you are to go overboard.
- Give Yourself Permission. During the holidays, there are foods available that are not around at other times of the year, whereas many others you can eat any time. There is no need to sample everything, so try to only stick to your personal favourites and eat a reasonable portion. This way, you are able to enjoy special foods without over doing it on your calories.
- Try the Rule of Threes. This rule, when applied at parties with a lot of available food, can help you reduce your overeating. The rule of threes is where you choose no more than 3 items such as appetisers/nibbles/cheese and biscuits, no more than 3 alcoholic drinks or no more than 3 bites of a dessert. The important point is that you still get to taste the food, but remember that the taste never gets better after the third bite! You can apply this rule up to three times per week at any holiday party you have to attend!
- Eat First. If you are going to a holiday party where there will be a lot of food available, have a light snack before heading out so you don’t arrive ravenous. If you are overly hungry, you will generally overeat, especially when there are a ton of options.
- Make Half of Your Plate Vegetables. Whenever there is a buffet or a large amount of food available, it is easy to overeat. If you fill half your plate up with vegetables (salads or cooked veggies), this leaves you less room for the other higher calorie items. Plus, veggies are high in fibre, which fills you up, so you feel satisfied with less.
- Watch Your Alcohol. Drinking to excess during the holidays can lead to too many calories and lowered inhibitions. Avoid drinks with sugary mixers such as sodas or juice. A glass of wine or a light beer are your best choices. Drink one glass of water per alcoholic drink to slow down your consumption and prevent dehydration.
- Exercise. Doing even just 20-30 minutes of exercise every day can help you manage stress and burn off extra calories. Maybe you don’t have time right now for a 60 minute workout, but most people have time for short bouts of 10-20 minutes at a time. You can also get your family involved by going for walks or bike rides together as part of your holiday celebration.
Remember, Christmas is only a day, so even if you do indulge on that day, just get back on track the next day. Be sure to get rid of any leftovers so you won’t be tempted! With this easy holiday survival guide, you can make it through the holidays without overindulging. You can start 2015 feeling confident and ready to reach your goals.