5 Ways to Stay ‘On Track’ During the Festive Season (if that’s your goal!)
I know this time of year can be very stressful for some people, and this is more than likely because they haven’t implemented and practised the necessary habits during the rest if the year. As I always say, it’s what you do most of the time that matters the most. So if you are a little bit inconsistent during Christmas and New Year, that’s more than ok. It’s what you do between New Year and Christmas that matters the most.
Anyways, here are 5 ways to help you stay on track with your goals this festive season:
1. Make Time for Exercise
There is no reason why you shouldn’t be as active during December as you were in November or you want to be in January.
You DO NOT have to train 6 days a week! Aim for around 2-3 sessions a week, even if its just for 30 minutes!
Aim to train in the morning, then its done and out of the way leaving the rest of the day for rest or holiday activities.
You can also use this time to try something new or different types of exercise to keep it interesting. If you’re usually a gym bunny like myself, find some good hikes or sign up for a yoga class.
Try to include more walks – there are so many mental and physical benefits of walking. It’s also a great time of year for this in South Africa as summer is at its peak, giving us more light in the day therefore more time for walks! Just please be safe and walk with friends if you can.
2. Eat at Maintenance Calories
One of the very reasons why I promote tracking your food and drink consumption – over the holidays you can be a little bit more flexible with your meals while staying at maintenance (keeping your weight the same)
Instead of stressing about trying to be in a calorie deficit, use the holidays as a diet break & enjoy higher calories for a bit. I personally have done this for the last 3 years and it works like a bomb!
There are also some physical and mental benefits to eating at maintenance – have a look at this post I out on the Gram the other day ___
3. Be Mindful of Alcohol
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol might not be the best idea if your goal is to stay on track with your intended calorie deficit.
Alcohol can contain loads of calories – 1g of alcohol = 7 calories, which is more than 1g of protein or 1g of carbs (4 calories). Did you know one Pina Colada is +/- 650 calories!
While you can still enjoy alcohol, be mindful of the types of alcohol you drink as well as the total amount. Even the most die-hard diet fan will have a hard time fighting the urge to overeat when intoxicated. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions & can lead to poor decision-making in the heat of the moment — especially when it comes to food choices. If you plan on drinking a lot of alcohol, aim to drink a glass of water in-between each drink or at least every 2 drinks.
I am not the biggest drinker, but I have noticed that I am more social around this time of year and will have a few drinks on occasion. My personal favourites are:
- Prosecco (+/- 80 calories for 100 mls)
- Gin & sugar free tonic (72 calories for a single)
- Red wine (more of a winter drink: +/- 125 calories for 150 mls)
4. Stay Consistent With Supplements
Although your diet may be a little different than normal over the December holidays, one thing you should keep consistent is your vitamins and/ or supplements.
Supplements can make a big difference in terms of regulating appetite & increasing your energy. Try to keep your routine as consistent as possible.
For example, if you normally take your morning vitamins after breakfast, try & stick to that habit as much as possible if you’re on holiday so that you don’t out train the good habit.
You can still take protein powder even if you aren’t training as much! Remember protein keeps you full & helps maintain your muscle mass, so we want to try and keep up the high protein intake. If I am going to a social event where I am not sure what time I will be eating, I usually have a shake before I go out. Because nobody wants a hangry Dom 😉
If I go on holiday I like to incorporate protein powder into some of my meals, for example:
- Oats & whey
- Yoghurt & whey
5. Change Your Mindset
Indulging in some festive foods doesn’t mean that you have ‘failed’ or ‘ruined’ your diet. Remember it’s what you do most of the year that counts the most, not just the holiday period.
Be kind to yourself. The festive season is no time to be feeling guilty for indulging a little while spending time with loved ones or while on holiday.
MEMORIES > MACROS
Making memories with your family and friends and enjoying yourself is FAR more important than those extra 2kgs you might put on during the holidays.
Remember: you need to eat an average of 500 calories per week over your maintenance calories in order to put on 450g of fat. Personally, I would avoid the scale these holidays, especially if it’s something that adds stress and anxiety to your life.
But, if you choose to weigh yourself, if you see the number go up, remember that its more than likely water weight, especially if:
- You are eating more carbs than normal
- You are eating out more often than normal
- You are drinking more alcohol than usual
- You are sleeping less than usual.
- Ladies – if you are close to your period or ovulating.