When I think of Christmas the first thing that comes to mind is of course total and complete excitement – it’s the most wonderful time of the year! However that thought is quickly followed by that thing many of us often do during this lovely festive period…overindulge! Every December our social calendars seem to explode, which is amazing – but can be pretty difficult to navigate when you’re trying to focus on health and fitness goals as well.
I know how impossible it can feel to turn down mum’s homemade mince pies or that extra shot of Bailey’s in your hot cocoa (hey, it’s only once a year!). So I’m not here to tell you to be a complete health scrooge this holiday season, but there are some things you can implement throughout December to help you avoid any unwanted holiday weight gain or going into the New Year feeling rubbish.
KK’S 10 TIPS FOR STAYING HEALTHY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
- Choose your treats wisely– Mega pro tip: you don’t have to eat every single holiday treat that comes your way. Since Christmas only comes once a year we often get it in our heads that we must indulge in ALL THE THINGS because we won’t get them again for a year. Sometimes it’s even foods we’re not that bothered about, but we seem to have it in our heads that because it’s Christmas we just HAVE to have it. So to avoid overindulging on the festive goodies, make sure the ones you do have are treats you really want, and then enjoy every bite. If you simply can’t live without your grandma’s Xmas Pudding, then have some! But those store bought cookies sitting on your desk at work? Meh. Skip em!
- Prep healthy meals to store in your freezer– Make sure you have healthy meals prepped at the start of each week for those days you’re too tired to cook when you get home late from work, Christmas shopping, visiting friends, whatever! This will help you avoid reaching for your takeaway menus and as a result save more room for the tasty indulgent foods you’re actually bothered about having this month.
- Focus on fun, not just food– A lot of the buzz around Christmas seems to revolve around food and drink, but they’re not the only exciting things about the season. Enjoy festive activities like visiting Xmas markets, doing holiday crafts, paying a visit to Santa (you’re never too old right?!) or playing games with the family.
- Choose starchy carbs OR alcohol– Ohhh dun dun dun! How will you ever choose? To minimize the chances of you going way over your caloric needs (and feeling uncomfortably stuffed), it’s helpful to choose between the two. If you’re keen to have your fair share of booze, then try sticking to proteins + veggies at your meal. However, if you’re fine with water, then feel free to indulge a bit more on the starchier carbs (this is the option I enjoy the most!).
- Get up and move!– On the day of your big Christmas meals (whether it’s Christmas day, a work do, or a mini-Xmas you’re celebrating before the big day) make sure you break a good sweat. Either book yourself into a PM class, use the PM fitness app, or head outside for a run – whatever it is, just get moving! And after the meal is finished, why not head out for a walk with your loved ones? It will feel great to get moving after a potentially heavy meal and hey, you might even make a little room for dessert too 😉
- Don’t wait all day to eat– One mistake I have made before is saving myself all day for the big Xmas feast, then overdoing it at dinner because I was just SO hungry. If you know you won’t be eating until late in the day, aim to wake up, do your workout, and then enjoy a nutrient dense breakfast to set you up nicely for the day. If you’re someone who practices intermittent fasting, then fast as normal but try to eat a small protein based snack when you break your normal fast, so you don’t feel the need to dive head first into the big meal later on.
- Drop the guilt– If you’re someone who feels guilty for the foods you eat, leave that ish at the door! The worse you make yourself feel about enjoying indulgent foods, the more likely you are to overindulge. If you can simply allow yourself to enjoy the foods you fancy without stressing about it, then you’ll find it much easier to go about your day as normal (i.e. not let one Christmas treat turn into 100 Christmas treats!).
- Offer to make a dish– One way to guarantee there will be a healthy option at the dinner table is to prepare a dish yourself! Why not try a spin on a Christmas classic? Paleo Gingerbread Brownies anyone?
- Stay hydrated– If there’s ever been a time to drink your water y’all, it’s NOW! Don’t run the risk of dehydrating yourself with the extra sugar + alcohol you might be consuming this season. A great rule of thumb to practice is for every boozy drink you consume, you have 1 pint of water as well. You could even invest in a Christmas themed water bottle to carry around if you really want to get festive with it :p
- HAVE FUN!– Now with all of that said, the most important thing to remember is to enjoy yourselves! Christmas really does only come once a year and it’s a wonderful time to enjoy with family and friends. Don’t undo all of your hard work, but also don’t miss out on the things you really love either. 🙂