‘Tis the season for gluttony

As you know, the silly season is upon us; from now until New Year’s Day evenings and weekends are crammed with social events. EVERY event, from the (dreaded) work Christmas party to gatherings with friends and family seems to revolve around food and drink.

So it’s not surprising that normal eating habits go out the window, shortly followed by willpower. According to Nutrition Australia the average Australian gains 0.8-1.5kg over the Christmas period.

Avoid the guilt hangover with my 5 tips for staying healthy during the holiday season:

1. Don’t try to lose weight

The odds are stacked against you and, realistically, it ain’t going to happen! Aim to maintain your current weight. Ditch the scales and use your clothes as a guide instead.

2. Choose wisely

At this time of year the food is rich, the drinks are potent and there tends to be A LOT on offer! I speak from experience when I say easy to succumb to temptation, piling your plate high and eating ’til it’s all gone.

The key to portion control is knowing that you don’t have to try everything.

Peruse the menu online or do a lap around the buffet table to see what’s on offer and, before diving in, decide what it is you can’t live without (like Aunt Sue’s infamous double-cream and passionfruit pavlova). Try using a smaller plate and aim to fill at least half of your plate with vegetables.

Loosening your belt at the end of the evening is a sign you may have over-indulged. Alternatively, it may point to digestive issues and you may wish to consult a health professional.

3. Limit alcohol intake

You already know alcohol has no nutritional value and that too much isn’t goof for your health but I’m not about to suggest you abstain. Instead, here are a few things that work for me:

  • Eat before you drink: Eat a meal (or at least a protein-rich snack) before you drink to decrease the rate at which alcohol absorbs into the blood stream. This will also reduce the likelihood of ordering a double-serving of chunky chips after one too many pints!
  • Drink slowly: If you’re at a party, what’s the rush?! Drink slowly and enjoy the company!
  • Stay hydrated: Alcohol and hot weather are a recipe for disaster. Alternate alcoholic drinks with water or non-alcoholic drinks such as kombucha, coconut water or sparkling water.

4. Keep moving

The best thing you can do over the holiday season is stay active.

It doesn’t matter whether you walk, run, hike or swim, just keep moving. Factor incidental movement into your day and if you usually exercise later in the day, get it done early so you don’t have to choose between a party and the gym (because we all know how that ends, right!?). If you’re travelling, consider packing light weight equipment such as a skipping rope, resistance bands/tubes, a TRX suspension trainer or just your running shoes.

5. Celebrate the holiday not the holidays!

I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. Celebrate the DAY (ie. Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve) not every day.

And remember, if one evening or one day doesn’t go to plan, don’t give up. Each moment is an opportunity to start anew.

– Sam –

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