Tips for tackling the Festive Season
The festive season is upon us, which means end of year catch-ups, friend and family events, work Christmas parties and increased frequency of after work drinks. All the catch-ups and merriment goes hand in hand with additional food and drink. Often it’s not Christmas day itself that is the culprit, but all the events during the month of December and January that get the better you in terms of your health goals.
Not just your weight, this time of year can make it harder to manage your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Give yourself permission to enjoy all the delicious foods on Christmas Day or at your main Christmas event, but having a strategy for the rest of the month will allow you to enjoy the food and drink without the weight and health worries.
Here are our strategies to help you tackle food this festive season and stay on track with your health and weight goals.
Don’t arrive hungry
Eat something nutritious before arriving at the party or event. When you are hungry it’s harder to control your volume and food choices. By eating first, you’ll know you’ve had something healthy (and kept up your veggie intake) and be less tempted by the food on offer.
It can be common to mistake thirst for hunger, which could lead to you eating more than you actually need. Drink plenty of water during the day and have an extra glass of water before eating to help prevent overeating. A glass of water between drinks will save you quenching your thirst on alcohol and save on unwanted calories.
Portion size is key. It’s ok to eat the food you love, but if you know it is higher in fat, salt and energy, have a small amount or don’t finish everything on your plate. Order entre size when eating out or serve yourself on the smallest plate at buffet style functions to help keep portions in check.
Pick your favourite food
Festive events often mean an abundance of food, too many choices and eyes bigger than stomachs. View all the options, then choose what looks the best and what you think you will enjoy the most. Savour and enjoy the food you chose to get the most satisfaction. If it doesn’t taste as good as you thought, leave it and pick something else. There is no point wasting calories on food that does not taste good. Just remember portions.
Do not bank your calories
Having smaller portions or only eating carrot sticks earlier in to day so you can save room for party food later can sometimes set you up for failure. This practice can make to ravenously hungry come function time and you’ll end up overeating anyway. It’s also better for our metabolism to have small portions more frequently than one large meal once a day.
Avoid drinking your calories
It’s nice to enjoy an alcoholic beverage over the festive season, but the calories can slowly creep up without you realising. Set yourself a limit, aim for at least 2 alcohol free days per week, consider driving to some events to help avoid drinking and also think about the mixer used. Juices often have more sugar and calories than they are worth.
Offer to bring a plate
When attending parties or catch-ups at other people places you are never going to know the type of food being provided. If you offer to bring something with you, there’ll definitely be one healthy option you know you’ll enjoy.
It’s a busy time of year, but that’s not a reason to forget your exercise routine. Set yourself a goal to fit in a few workouts each week. Remember burning it off is a step towards helping counter balance to extra good.
How to fit in exercise during the silly season
We are all so busy at this time of year that it is easy to forget about our regular exercise routine. Make this a priority and set yourself a goal to still make it to the gym or go for your regular walk at least e.g. 4 times per week. Active catch-ups with friends are great too! Timing is not as important as fitting in physical activity, but there are benefits to morning exercise as well as an evening walk, so do it when it suits you best.