By Jess Renton
This is the season of celebration, spending time with family and friends. While it’s definitely the most wonderful time of the year, it is not without its challenges. It can be difficult to juggle end of year functions, Holiday shopping, and winding up work all while trying to maintain your fitness (and sanity).
As a training dietician and fitness professional, I’m telling you it can be done and you DO NOT have to feel guilty about enjoying yourself. There are sensible ways to eat, drink and be merry and even if you don’t follow my advice to the letter, do not beat yourself up about it. Come back to your normal habits the next day. 80% balance is better than throwing in the towel for the whole season and it just may save you a few kilos (and headaches) leading into 2020.
Here are 4 simple ways you can make smart choices during the silly season and not lose all those fitness gains you’ve made during the year.
There are a few reasons I consider hydration the most important above everything else. If you drink plenty of water, not only will that keep you feeling fresh when you grab that bottle of vino, but would you believe it also fills up space?
It goes without saying that when the sun comes out alcohol consumption increases for most of us. So if you love to have a tipple in the sun, make sure you have some water between wines. This simple trick will slow down the pace that you drink and ensure you feel peachy the next day. If you are a spirit drinker, stick to a vodka lime and soda or opt for a gin and tonic instead of adding lemonade or coke to your spirits. Your liver will thank you for not having to process the extra sugar on top of the alcohol.
One of the traps we fall into is over-snacking. Before you reach for that fourth fruit mince pie, reach for your water bottle. Once you’ve waited 20 minutes you might think twice about that next dessert.
You can find balance when filling up that plate with all the goodies. I mentioned snacking above. When we graze often our bodies don’t recognise the feeling of being “full”.
My best tip for when you’re snacking is to take a plate of what you want and move away from the table. Once you are done with the plate, pause. There will be plenty of food and none of us will go hungry this time of year.
Don’t “save” yourself for your main meal. Eat as normal during the day and that will save the excessive consumption during the festivities.
During the main meal try to get an even amount of food on your plate. In my family, it’s a race to eat all the potatoes. Try to balance that carby goodness with protein and green vegetables.
Some of us like to celebrate with alcohol or sugary treats (or perhaps both) during the festive season. I’m not going to tell you to go without these things if they are a part of your lifestyle. My advice is all about moderation.
If alcohol is your thing, think about sticking to the recommended amount of one drink an hour and alternate one for one with water or a soda.
With sugary treats, it is all about portion size. So maybe you are able to check beforehand how much a serving size is? Sometimes our minds give us a bit more leeway in what is really a suggested size. If you need a bit of help, Nutrition Australia has put together a handy page with common portion sizes.
Fitness and movement are what we thrive for of course! So how can you get that movement in this season? A great place to start is to simply keep to your usual class times and fitness routines. I know that getting that hour to yourself can be difficult this time of year but why not try to keep the consistency this year. You’ll feel better for it.
Another easy way to keep moving is to have a step goal. If you don’t have a smartwatch that keeps track, don’t worry, most phones these days have an inbuilt step counter. Aim for 8,000, 10,000, 12,000 steps every day to keep you moving between your meals. Take the bus to your Christmas functions and get off a few stops early. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the steps add up and how you can keep your fitness up.
Since the holiday season is all about catching up with friends and family, why not organise an active get-together? There’s no rule that says that Christmas functions need to be at the pub. Go for hike, have a beach picnic, or hit the Barre at The Studio and have brunch after. There are so many options so I challenge you to get creative.
The Studio is open in the lead up to Christmas. If you cannot get into your favourite group fitness classes then keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram posts for some extra movement tips. You can find our holiday timetable here. Will I see you at the Barre?