How to survive the holiday season....

How to survive the holiday season....

This can be a stressful time of year with the holiday season fast approaching. Trying to find the ‘perfect’ present for someone, trying to not go over your budget, going to all the Christmas parties, managing work and family time, and trying to make time for yourself (eating well, exercising, sleeping well, meditation and quiet time, drinking enough water). Often we let one of more of these things go as it all becomes ‘too hard’ but what if we could keep it all in check and come out the other end unscathed?

Many of you would probably have been to a few Christmas parties already and may be feeling like you have eaten and drunk too much and all your diet and health goals are down the toilet (so to speak). But don’t worry. I have a few tips to get you through the holiday season.

  1. Food:

    • I advocate the 80:20 rule where you eat well 80% of the time and allow yourself a leeway of 20%. But this means that you need to eat whole, organic, unprocessed foods for 80% of the time to allow the 20% leeway. However, most people have the percentages the other way around - they eat well 20% of the time and 80% is filled with processed junk foods. This won’t work. You will never be healthy if you eat this way. If you eat well 80% or more most of the time, you will feel so much better, have more energy, and have better digestion. Imagine filling up a car with crap petrol and expecting it to be able to get you around to do the things you need to do. If you fill up your car with premium petrol, it will get you to do everything you need to do and more. It is the same with your body. Fill your body up with whole organic unprocessed foods.

    • If you know you are going out to eat at a certain restaurant, then check out the menu before you go so you can see what healthy options are there. If there are not many healthy options, then eat something before you go out so you are not starving and want to eat everything.

    • If you are going to a party and you are unsure if there will be any healthy options, then prepare  a plate of food and take it with you to share so you have something to eat.

    • Try to not overeat. It is not like you are likely to run out of food and we will be in a famine. Save extra food for later. If eating out, take the rest home with you. That ‘too full’ feeling becomes uncomfortable and is not enjoyable. Eat so you are satiated and content but not more.

    • Avoid processed foods as they are full of additives, ingredients which you can pronounce and are unrecognisable to your body. They just add to the toxic load your body has to process.

    • Intermittent fasting is a good tool to have in your tool belt especially if you find you have eaten too much at a Christmas party. Think about how you feel when you go out and eat too much. The last thing you want to do is put more food in your body the next morning. Giving your body a break and fasting til lunch the next day will give your body a break and have time to rest and digest. For more information on intermittent fasting, then contact me. I will be doing a post on this soon with lots of information.

    • Continue doing food preps. Prepare lunches for work to avoid the temptation of buying processed and junk foods. This should be a staple in your routine. Either do a big cook up on Sunday afternoon so you have a few days worth of meals, or when cooking dinner make extra so you have enough food for lunches the following day. I am always thinking ahead of what I need to prep for lunches and dinners. During the week, I hardly eat out. It is all about being prepared, having enough meat and veggies in your fridge so you can quickly make something. It does not need to be complicated or take a lot of time. Simple meals are often the best.

  2. Drinks:

    • Drink enough filtered water. To work out the amount of water (in L) you should be drinking, multiply your body weight in kg x 0.033. For example, if you weigh 60kg then 60 x 0.033 = approx. 2L water. If you are exercising and it is hot then increase this amount. Drink 2 glasses of filtered water when you first wake up and then do it 20mins before every meal to make sure you are fully hydrated.

    • Stay fully hydrated during the day especially if you plan on having alcoholic drinks. Also make sure you eat some healthy wholefoods before drinking so you are not drinking on an empty stomach. Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach can lead to leaky gut so make sure you eat first.

    • Drinking alcohol can also make us reach for processed junk foods so eat something healthy before you start drinking.

    • If you are going to drink alcohol then do it responsibly. Have a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink. Choose a ‘cleaner’ spirit such as vodka as they are less additives and preservatives. Avoid alcohol mixed with soft drinks. Also make sure you have a safe ride home or Uber it.

  3. Sleep:

  • Make sleep is always a priority and ensure you get enough sleep.

  • Try and be in bed by 10-10:30pm and get 7-8 hours of good quality sleep. If you have a party one night, then allow the exception as long as you are not having a late night every night.

  • If you don’t get enough sleep,  you are more likely to reach for stimulants to get you through the day (e.g. coffee, energy drinks, sugar). These give you a high and then send you crashing down further leaving you more exhausted and wanting to reach for another stimulant. If you need to rest then rest rather than reaching for a stimulant.

4. Exercise:

  • Keep active. Your movement / exercise routine should not stop during this period.

  • Our bodies are meant to move every day, especially during this season where people usually eat and drink more than normal due to Christmas parties.

  • Exercise is good for the mental benefits (not just the physical aspects) especially if this time of year stresses you out.

  • Choose a form of exercise that makes you feel good and you enjoy as you are more likely to stick with it.

  • If you say you don’t have time to exercise, then make time when you can, e.g. park your car 10 mins away from work so you have to walk further, take the stairs instead of the lift, do 20 squats every time you go to the toilet, go for a walk at lunch. There are no excuses to not having the time to move. You just need to make it a priority. Our bodies are not meant to be stagnant. We need to flow and move.

  • Remember, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet or a bad meal. This is a major one as I often see people trying to work off a meal they had the day before. Exercise should not be seen as a punishment. It is a chance for your body to move.

5. Make time for you:

  • Often we give to others and forget about ourselves but we need to give back to ourselves so we are able to give to others. You can’t give anything if your cup is empty. Fill your cup first!!

  • Keep your goals in check….write them down and hang it up where you can clearly see it e.g. on the fridge. Remember what you wanted to achieve, why you want to be healthy. Remember this when you reach for chips, pizza, alcohol, etc.

  • Have some quiet time. Meditate or read even if it is for 5mins. 5mins is better than nothing.

  • Remember to breathe from your belly. Your breath is the foundation to your life. Make each breath count. Shallow breathing makes you feel tense and anxious and does not help you at all. Breathe from your diaphragm, the way our bodies are designed to breathe.

  • Stay away or avoid people who steal your energy. This can be hard especially during family gatherings but protect yourself. Don’t get sucked into their games.

Stay safe and healthy during the Christmas season.  Remember it is only one part of the year. Don’t blow it all out and lose sight of your goals. Keep up with the healthy eating and lifestyle. For more information or to set up a consult then contact me.


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