Bring on the holidays! Catching up with family and friends, enjoying the beautiful sunshine, swimming at the beach…what’s not to love, right? The endless supply of food, alcoholic drinks and yummy sweets that may undo some of the hard work you achieved in 2012…. Does this sound like something you’ve done in the past? Do you make promises to yourself that you know that you can’t keep or even promises you intend to follow but something ALWAYS gets in the way? Do you ever tell yourself ‘It’s Christmas…..it only comes around once a year!’?
Well you’re not alone!!
What would you say to a helping hand this time around? We understand that the holiday season is one of the most difficult times of year for anyone who is watching their weight or trying to stay fit and healthy………it’s no wonder the average Australian puts on 2kg over the holiday season.
We’ve come up with 5 simple tips on how to prepare yourself for this holiday season that will allow you to still enjoy all the social occasions but without the worry of gaining extra kilos and making sure all your hard work you’ve done this year won’t be lost!
- Start your day off well hydrated. Drinking enough water throughout the day and night is essential in keeping your body hydrated. Being dehydrated can lead to over indulging as people can easily mistake thirst for hunger and can also lead to drinking more alcohol. Handy tip: aim to drink a minimum of 1.5-2 litres a day. If you’ve exercised that day or you had a few drinks the night before add an extra 0.5-1 litre.
- Eat breakfast every day. Breakfast is an essential part of your day, it kicks starts your metabolism and gives you energy to get going in the morning. It’s one of the most important meals of the day, but it’s also frequently one of the most neglected. Handy tip: eating a breakfast that contains protein, like eggs or yoghurt, will help you to stay on track with your portions and food choices throughout the rest of the day.
- Be smart about your drink choices. If you choose to drink make sure you choose the right kind of drinks. If you drink spirits, try combining with mixers such as soda water and fresh lime, still water with ice or sugar-free soft drinks. Beer and Wine still contain a lot of calories. Try changing to light beer, only filling your glass to half-way and also making sure you pour your own drinks rather than letting others topping it up for you. Handy tip: It’s important to be mindful of the amount you’re drinking; it’s recommended that men have no more than 3 standard drinks in a day and women no more than 2. Aim to drink 1 glass of water or mineral water between every alcoholic drink.
- Better choices and portion control. When faced with food this holiday season always try to choose the food that isn’t covered in creamy sauces or cheese, deep fried or encased in pastry. Fresh seafood, ham off the bone and chicken/turkey breast are the ideal choices. If you can’t resist temptation, watch your portion sizes - aim to have ½ a normal portion and make your plate up with salad or vegetables. If you have dessert see if anyone wants to go halves or thirds and enjoy the dessert without the accompaniments such as cream, ice cream or full fat custard. Handy tip: Say NO to treats that you really don’t love so you can say YES and enjoy the treats you do!
- Continue to exercise. Now’s not the time to slacken off, if you are currently training keep it up! Most gyms are still open over the holiday season or go out and enjoy the beautiful weather with your family and friends. Handy tip: Focus on ways to spend quality time with family and friends that don’t include food. We are lucky in Queensland that we have ample opportunities to go out and enjoy the outdoors. Why not play a game of backyard cricket, go for a ride along the river or catch up with friends for a walk
What tips and strategies do you use to stay on track during this time of year?
Written by Rebecca Evans, our newest Eat Smart team member - thanks Bec!