For many of us, the first Tuesday in November (Melbourne Cup) signifies the beginning of the party season leading into Christmas. With so many gatherings, catchups, work functions and end of year awards, this two month period can be filled with temptation. The positive aspect though, with a bit of forward planning and structure we can overcome the party period still on track to keep our health and fitness in order. Below are a few tips to help you not only survive, but thrive!
1. Plan ahead
The key to your success during the holiday season is to plan ahead. Make sure to write detailed grocery lists for all your meals and stock-up on healthy snack items that you can put together quickly to serve to guests or enjoy with your family. Meal prep is a great way to ensure you always have a supply of pre-cooked and prepared proteins and vegetables on hand. If you are travelling over the holidays, why not do a little on-line research and find out where the nearest grocery store is so you can purchase some healthy snacks. You may also consider researching restaurant menus in the area so you will have a list of good options to try before you arrive.
2. Keep moving
We are truly creatures of habit so maintaining your normal routine as much as possible will help you stay on track. Don't leave your fitness to chance! Schedule times throughout your holiday to be active. If you are travelling, find out where the nearest gym is and either work out independently or join a class or get the whole family involved by planning activities you can do together like cycling, swimming or walking.
3. Don't forget to eat
Eat regular meals throughout the day to help regulate your insulin levels and keep food cravings at bay. Don't forget that eating five or six meals a day will stimulate your metabolism into burning the equivalent amount of energy as 30 minutes of cardio!!! Why not try a protein-based breakfast (check out Vision's meals on Vision Virtual Training for some recipe ideas) to keep you on track for the rest of the day? If your house guests are late sleepers or early dinner eaters keep to your regular schedule by having a healthy snack before they rise or before going to bed. Another great tip is to have a protein-based snack before going out for dinner so you don't arrive hungry and won't be as tempted to over-indulge.
4. Stay hydrated
Drink water to help you feel fuller and keep your body functioning well. Have a glass of water at home before heading out for a meal and if you are consuming alcohol, drink a glass of water between each drink. Try to keep your water intake up throughout the day especially in the summer heat so you don't end up gulping down a glass or two before bed and disrupting your sleep by having to make trips to the bathroom at night.
5. Watch your alcohol consumption
It's the time of year to be 'merry' but calories from alcoholic beverages, especially mixed cocktails filled with liqueurs, fruit juices, and syrups or creamy drinks like eggnog add up quickly. Try to keep to 'single ingredient drinks' like wine or beverages that use a water-based mix. Don't forget that for every glass of red wine you drink it takes approximately 21 minutes of walking to burn off the calories!
6. Get some sleep
Sleep is so important to our overall health and research shows that we turn to sweets and carbs when we are over-tired. Getting between 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night will do wonders for your metabolism and will ensure you have the energy you need to get through busy days with family and friends.
7. Think before you eat
Sometimes we eat because we are tired, thirsty, bored or stressed. Take a moment before indulging that sweet tooth and determine whether you really are hungry and act accordingly. Think of cravings as a suggestion, not an order, and you have the final say!
10. Keep temptation away
If you are staying home over the holidays why not take advantage and avoid purchasing unhealthy snack foods and sweets. Having them in the house, even if you aren't intending on eating them, means that you have to rely on willpower in moments of temptation.
11. Indulge selectively
Rather than consuming store-bought items, plan to selectively indulge in your favourite homemade holiday treats. It is too hard to deprive yourself completely over the holidays. By giving yourself permission to enjoy one or two special items, you will be able to maintain your will-power, enjoy them without feeling guilty and get back on track quicker.
12. Focus on fun, friends and family - not food
We know that for most of us the holidays are centred on special eating traditions, however, we hope you also remember to take time to reconnect with your loved-ones and with yourself to ensure that your holidays are filled with happiness and joy!
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