The festive season is finally here - yay! I love this time of year and I'm especially excited because (assuming the new variant of Covid doesn't get in the way) my Mum will be here from London and it has been a very long 2 years since we were together!
As magical as this time of year is, it does bring with it expectations of over indulgence, lack of routine with your fitness, and of course there are feelings of being overwhelmed and stressed....so I am sharing these thoughts and tips with you in the hope that as you move into the new year, you would have enjoyed your holiday season without throwing all your hard work of managing your food, exercise and mental health out the window. And if you haven't yet started this journey, perhaps the time is now rather than waiting until the new year....
This might be the holiday season, but in reality there are only two days of celebration.... I think when you get your head around that, you can see that you do not need to partake in every over indulgence for the entire month. Yes there are more parties, more family get togethers, more fund raisers at the school where you have to buy cookies, or sees candy like I just did, and that's ok. Instead of viewing each of these celebrations as a new opportunity to over indulge, treat them as you would any other event during the year.
Try these things to minimize the effect it has on your goals:
Drink More Water - Yes I'm beating that drum again haha, but in all seriousness water is the miracle ingredient we all need more of. The way to use water this season is to firstly stay hydrated (as you should all year round) but also to help you through all the additional events where you may find yourself drinking more alcohol or non-alcoholic cocktails that are filled with sugar. Alternate each drink with a glass of water to stay hydrated and reduce the amount drinks you have.
Eat More of the 'Good Stuff' - When dishing up, choose the most nutritious dishes to be the main part of your plate. You don't have to miss out on the dishes that aren't as nutritious, you can just have a smaller portion of them. I know that I personally just want a little taste of everything but I want to know that for the most part, what I'm putting into my body is nourishing me. Consistency is key.
Keep Meals to One Plate - We've all done it. When there are so many options and they all look so good, we pile up our plate and go back for seconds for what we missed first round or what we want to have more of. However it always leaves you feeling so bloated, uncomfortable and with a belly ache. Instead when you dish up, go there knowing you are having one plate. Either choose what you want and leave out other items, or if you want everything, then take really small portions so that everything fits easily onto one plate (did you see that word....easily?) ie don't pile the food on.
Don't 'Deprive' Yourself - having negative emotions about food or feelings that you are missing out on all the yummy stuff can actually hinder your journey. Just like eating one healthy meal a week and doing one workout a week won't make much of a difference to your health, neither will an occasional dessert! Consistency is key.
Vegetables, Fruit & Protein - limit the amount of processed foods you are eating and stick with fruit, vegetables and protein. Pretty much all other foods are processed, so these should be the main part of what you eat.
Have Healthy Snacks Available - in busy times when we get hungry we need to be able to reach for something quickly. To avoid grabbing all those freshly baked cookies, make sure you have some fresh fruit at the ready, or maybe baby carrots and hummus, whatever healthy snacks are your favorites.
I know that between end of year work stuff and prepping for the holidays, plus all the additional events, things can get a little crazy this time of year, which makes it even more important to stay active. Your stress levels will thank you! Perhaps these tips will help you...
Plan & Know Your Goals - Having a plan for the holidays and setting some goals will always help you out. If you know that you want to fit in 2 workouts a week (even if that's less that what you were doing), you can plan that in. Without a plan and goals these types of things that are a priority for you usually, will easily get pushed aside for other things. In addition, if you already had a workout schedule, try to stick to it as closely as possible, rather than finding new times to fit your workout in. Consistency is key.
Get the Family Involved - Find activities that the whole family can get involved in, it becomes an event of its own and it also means you don't have to schedule around anyone else. So whether it is a walk in the park, a day of skiing, a Zumba class On Demand or a game of tag football, find ways to keep moving through the holidays that are fun and easy to get the family excited about.
Quick Workouts - A 30 Mins workout can be really effective, either way it is more effective than no workout at all. So if you don't have time for a full hour, do a 30 minute workout or if you don't have 30 mins, choose an exercise for the day like a squat or a forward lunge and periodically through the day do 20, 30, 50 reps. Consistency is key.
Managing stress is an on going situation in modern day living. Add to our normally busy and stressful lives, a big holiday with bigger groups of people, and the stress levels usually rise quite a bit. So make it a priority this season to keep your stress levels lower. Here are some ways:
Start Your Day with Gratitude - Before you open your eyes, lie in bed for those extra 5 minutes and list 5 things you can be grateful for each and every day. It's a great way to kick start your day.
Meditation - Whether this means focusing on your breath in a quiet space, dancing to some beautiful music, taking a long & uninterupted bubble bath, closing your eyes and listening to the children laughing or mindfully walking in nature - find a minimum of 5 minutes each day to let yourself get lost in that present moment.
Exercise - I hope that by now you will have heard my message that whereas we all want the physical results of working out, that the mental health benefits greatly out weigh any other benefit. So here is another reminder to keep moving this holiday season!
Food & Drink - Only consume what will leave you feeling good. If you know you are intolerant to dairy, don't eat that slice of cheesecake, the after effects are not worth it (or are they? You be the judge). This is in the mental health section because how you feel physically can greatly effect your mental health.
It's OK - Remember it is ok to enjoy your holiday, to maybe indulge a little bit. Don't be so hard on yourself.
Lastly, if you get carried away this festive season and over indulge, remember you don't have to 'start again' in January. Every moment is a new moment to make a decision that will serve you better. So don't wait for next month, next week or tomorrow. Right now is as good a time as any to get back on your journey.
I hope these tips will help you. Wishing you all a very festive and healthy season.
Much love always, Amanda xoxo