It’s that time of year when sticking to your healthy eating plan gets that little bit harder. It’s so easy to “get into the Christmas spirit” while you are out at a social event or on holidays.
Who hasn’t fallen into the “a little bit of this won’t hurt” mindset when you are at a function or on holidays? But, have you ever thought about how that “little bit” might actually add up? Did you know that the average person gains 2 – 4kg over the holiday period?!
Say, for example, you are at a Christmas party and promise yourself you are “just going to have a taste” of the nibbles that they are serving. By the time you have tried each of the offerings you have probably consumed more than you had planned to because those little pizza and cheese things were to die for. You end up starving. You’ve had a little too much to drink and decide that you don’t want to be hungry anymore and eat whatever you can find.
I know it was hard to say no but the bottom line is that losing weight and keeping it off comes down to the difference between calories in and calories out. If you eat more calories than you use up in your daily activities and exercise, then you will put on weight. Calories still count at social events and on holidays ( don’t I wish that they didn’t!! )
So, what can you do to avoid the dreaded holiday weight gain that can happen at this time of year? Here are my tips to keep the jiggles to a minimum …
Keeping up your water intake will help you feel on top of it all and keep your energy levels up. It will also keep you feeling fuller so that you won’t feel as hungry.
Add in an Extra Workout or Two
Go for an extra walk during the week or add a walk on the end of your usual workout. Maybe add in a HIIT session as these are an efficient and effective way to burn calories. Don’t go too crazy with the extra workouts though as you don’t want to burn yourself out especially when you have a few extra late nights, you may end up more tired than usual. The extra workout also does not give you a green light to eat all the food. You can easily consume all the calories you just torched in your workout by having an extra drink or three or overeating at dinner!
Workout in the Morning
While we are on the exercising track … get your workout done in the morning. That way, it’s done and then there is no chance that you will back out of it later in the day when you may be running out of time or energy! Once you’ve done your workout you may even find yourself making healthier choices because you don’t want to ruin the effects of a great workout. Working out in the morning also gets your body moving and will give your metabolism a boost for the day turning your into a calorie burning machine.
Eat Lighter Meals
This is not the go ahead to eat nothing but eating lighter meals during the day both before and after your outing will help you feel that you have not over eaten. If you barely eat during the day, you run the risk of eating everything that comes past your nose and you will pig out! Feeling bloated from too much food and alcohol is just plain uncomfortable, and makes your flashy frock feel a bit too tight! Stick to lots of real foods like veggies, fruits and a little lean protein. Keep the whole grains for the morning after you have done your workout. I find that green smoothies are a great option for lunches on these days as you can pack in lots of goodness. Be aware though, that they can pack a calorie punch!
Eat Before you Go
Having a healthy, nutritious snack before you go out if you need. This will help fill you up and you won’t feel as inclined to dive into the buffet or the bread basket as soon as you sit down. A piece of fruit or yoghurt is a great option to keep you going and keep away those snacking temptations.
Set Yourself a Limit
You might set yourself a drink limit. Keeping in mind that alcohol is empty calories and depending on your poison you could be consuming 200 cals per drink! If you are relaxing by the pool with the bar staff on hand a Pina Colada could be 500 – 600 calories ( OK, I admit to calculating this one year after I had several … ) ! If you are going out to dinner you might decide to have the entree and main, or main and dessert depending on your preference! There is nothing worse than feeling like you have eaten all the food on the table and trying to hide your bloated belly for the rest of the night!
Stick to your Routine
Christmas is not a month long event. Yes, there are a few more than usual social events but this does not mean you need to go on a month long eating and drinking binge. Stick to your usual healthy eating and exercise routine as much as possible.
Most importantly, go into the crazy season with a little plan of attack .. where are you going, what will you be doing and be mindful of what you are eating and drinking.
Yes, there is a line between sticking to your routine and enjoying all the festivities.
You are the one that determines where that line is and you are the one in control!
It is possible to enjoy yourself and stay on track with your goals! You can do it!