10 Top Tips To Survive The Festive Season


The holiday season is fast approaching and soon those festive treats will be everywhere you look.

There’s no doubt that you’re partially looking forward to some holiday indulging, but the question is “Are you going to be able to maintain a degree of self control so you don’t wind up on my next Body Transform Challenge?”Here’s my 10 top tips to stay on top of your game and keep your health and weight in check through the holiday period:

1. Set realistic expectations.

Stay positive by setting some realistic goals to help you stay on-track. For example, Christmas is not the time to be forging ahead with fitness gains or trying to lose weight, but rather it’s about maintenance.
Factor in some rest time and a few indulgences here and there. Remember, this is also your chance to recharge for the following year. So enjoy spending time with family and friends.

2. Don’t just accept the holidays as being a time to re-gain weight or lose your fitness.

What you do on Christmas Day isn’t your biggest problem. It’s all the other days in between that will determine if your holidays are healthful. You may encounter holiday treats at random at work or at home from a friend bringing you a home-baked gift. These situations are more frequent than a binge on a holiday. Overeating on Christmas Day isn’t going to get you out of shape. Just like doing things right for 24 hours isn’t going to get you in shape. It’s all the little things on a daily basis that determine if you are moving toward health and fitness or away from it.

3. Don’t put exercise on the back burner.

Every year I hear the same excuses, “I’ve just been so busy with the holidays and family visits, that I couldn’t workout.” Stop focusing on obstacles and look for workable solutions.
It’s a given that Christmas is a busy time for all of us so don’t expect to be perfect when it comes to your exercise routine – but don’t put exercise on the back burner either.
With beautiful long summer days and plenty of boxing sessions over the holiday period, there’s no excuse not to squeeze in a session first thing in the morning so you don’t have to worry about it when you’re running around with last minute Christmas shopping.

4. Look good, feel good.

Look your best when you go out and let it reflect all the hard work you have been putting in all year. This way, you will be less likely to overdo it with food and alcohol. You won’t want all that hard work going to waste.

5. Be prepared to say ‘No’.

Feel comfortable in declining food or not joining in with rounds of drinks. Opt for a water every second drink and skip a round of nibbles if they are being offered. Keep your distance from the buffet or food table. Turn your back on the passing food/drinks waiter – it will stop mindless eating and drinking whilst socializing.
Start saying NO. Saying NO is empowering. It’s a good feeling being in control.

6. Portion control.

Enjoy your food but don’t overdo the serving sizes. Be aware of what you are eating and how much you are eating. Maintaining a level of awareness is all you need to keep your food intake in check.

7. Beware the alcohol factor.

Remember, gram for gram, alcohol is almost as high in calories as fat. Alcohol stimulates your appetite and lowers your resolve. Try and stick to a limit, alternate your alcoholic drinks with sparkling mineral water, drink slowly, offer to be the designated driver – anything to help you keep that alcohol intake down.

8. Never be caught without the right food.

Take snacks/leftovers/protein shakes with you EVERYWHERE. If you always have an option at hand you may be less likely to be tempted with festive treats. Don’t go to Christmas lunch absolutely starving. Eat a small healthy meal to take the edge of your hunger before you go, so you don’t end up overeating or binge eating.

9. Give yourself permission to enjoy a few treats.

Deprivation doesn’t work. If you go into a Christmas Day feast with the intention of being strict on yourself “I won’t eat this or that”, and your will power fails you…then it’s all too common to say “Well I’ve stuffed it up, so I may as well go the whole hog” and you end up bingeing.
Instead, take control by giving yourself permission to eat some of your favourite ‘sometimes’ foods. Giving yourself permission, or exercising conscious choice, is a form of self empowerment that will help you last the distance and stay in control.

10. Be pro-active and get everyone moving.

Family gatherings usually involve too much food and too much sitting around. Get everyone outside any way you can. Instead of sitting around talking ( and drinking…), play a game of cricket together. Be creative and proactive -your non-fit friends may actually end up having fun!

Laska Varkaris
Trainer and Body Transformations Coach
Dynamic Boxing Fitness 

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