End of Year work parties, family get-togethers, catch ups with friends you haven’t seen for a while. It’s that time of year to reconnect, celebrate and enjoy all life has to offer!
Unfortunately though, for a lot of people, myself included in the past, this is also the time of year for healthy eating going out the window, fat gain instead of loss, fitness goals to the back-burner and all-in-all the feeling of going ‘Back to Square One’ with all health and fitness goals.
Well, this year is the time to change. What better time than now? You can change your habits, can’t you? I for one choose to believe that we are NOT destined to run the same unhealthy pattern year in and year out. Pattern change doesn’t have to be big though, does it? What if you just made sure you changed or improved on one thing over what you did last year? That would be better, wouldn’t it?
This does not mean that you cannot have any of the goodies that are usually on offer at these functions, just damage control. All you need to do is do better than the you last year. I am not saying by any means that you need to be chewing a stick of celery in the corner staring enviously while everyone else is indulging!
My 10 Top Tips for Holiday Success:
Pick any one of these or all of these and enjoy a healthier you in the New Year, a you that won’t be spending all of January 14’ getting back to the you of November 13’!
#1 Set Your Boundaries and Stick to Them
Heading into this season, outline for yourself some guidelines to follow for your healthy lifestyle to continue through to the New Year. Make sure they are:
Plan training sessions, healthy eating days and days you are allowed to have a treat. Make sure your intentions are realistic and achievable; don’t set the bar too high, set yourself up for success, then, Stick To It!
#2 Pretend Drinks
I love this one: fresh lime and soda looks EXACTLY like vodka, lime & soda! This is perfect for those who find they cave to peer- pressure. No one needs to know that you’re not drinking – your little secret!
#3 Eat Before You Go
Have a meal full of protein and fats, NOT carbs. Ensuring you are not going to that party hungry will allow you to make better decisions on whether you actually want that party pie. Avoid having carbs if you are intending to drink as alcohol has plenty of empty calories for you instead.
#4 Portion Control
Use a smaller plate and select small portions first. Then, decide if you really need to go back for more.
#5 Commit to an Early Training Session
Nobody likes to train hung over so book a session early the next day and Stick To It to deter from drinking too much. Training earlier in the day ensures you get it done before your day gets busy. Whether it be your friend or PT, make the appointments and Stick To Them. Be accountable, the more people you tell that you are going to do it, the more likely that you will.
#6 Stay Hydrated
Aim for 3 litres of water per day. Ensure you are hydrated when going to a party; have a few sneaky waters or lime and sodas throughout the night. This will help your body to deal with the alcohol better and be less likely to have that nasty hangover the next day. Avoid the hangover and you avoid the Hangover Foods!
#7 Take Fish Oil
Charles Poliquin recommends 1g of fish oil per 1BF% per day. That may seem a lot if you are an ‘average’ Australian and sitting around 25BF%, that’s a good handful of capsules! I suggest taking a liquid; more cost effective and easier to get the appropriate amount in. Especially make sure you hit this target on days you intend to drink and enjoy a dessert as loading up on omega 3s helps you blunt the insulin spike and stay insulin sensitive.
#8 Plan when you can ‘Cheat’
More and more research is coming out on effective ‘cheating’ for better fat loss. So when you make your plan, schedule cheat meals in too. This is the meal when you can have your Auntie’s famous Christmas dessert. BUT ensure you stick to the meal and not the entire day and choose better quality foods; choose home-made burger over dirty take away, etc.
#9 Drink Green Tea
Studies show that green tea aids insulin sensitivity and minimizes oxidative stress from alcohol. It is recommended to have 5 cups to get the appropriate amount of catechins.
#10 Choose Good Quality Foods
There are a million and one paleo, gluten free, sugar free, delicious recipes out there today that you can get your hands on. If it is not a cheat meal for you, take a tasty healthy option. I do this all of the time and even the people who are not that health conscious have enjoyed my ‘Truffles’ and ‘Christmas Balls’. They don’t need to know that they are packed full of antioxidants and sugar free!
I hope you choose to adopt some of these tips and find them useful; do you want to be spending January regaining your health and fitness, or pushing to the next level?
Remember: be prepared to prevent the outcomes you do not want. Your health is your business and no one else’s so you need to take the responsibility upon yourself to provide the tools, food and habits for your success!
Have a wonderfully fit New Year!