12 ways to have a healthy festive season

healthy-festive-season

Just kidding, they totally do!

A Christmas or two ago a colleague was doing the rounds of the office with a plate of cakes and slices and stopped by my desk to offer me some. When I politely declined, she looked at me and sneered, “That’s right, your body’s a temple.”

And went on her not so merry way. Bah humbug.

This time of year is particularly rife with the Christmas Grinch’s of another kind; those who resent your healthy choices in the face of their not so healthy ones.

And in case you were wondering, no, I don’t wander about the office proclaiming that my body is a temple! If people ask about my weight loss I’m happy to chat about it, but don’t say much otherwise. I have a blog for that!

Which brings me to sharing my tips about how to manage the festive season.

Here are some strategies to help you out when it feels like everyone else is succumbing to the season of over indulgence.


#1 You eat 21 meals each week

This is my best tip. If you use just one, make it this one.

Look at your diary and work out how many social events you have in each week of December. Now, with 21 main meals a week, if you’re at a social event for six of them, there are still 15 where you’re 100% in control of what you’re eating.

So eat 15 light, healthy meals. And don’t snack if you don’t need to. You can find some healthy summer lunch ideas in this post.

That’s it. Do that each week of December. And maybe January as well.


#2 Don’t get the f**k its

Excuse my language, but don’t get f**k its and Eat All The Things.

Just because you have one big food and alcohol fueled night out doesn’t mean you’ve blown it and should continue on that path. The logic just isn’t there Frock Friends. Refer to tip number #1.


#3 Bring your own

The great thing about the festive season in Australia is that it includes BBQ’s, picnics and events where you’re asked to bring a plate. So bring a healthy plate! You’ll be surprised at how many people will be pleased to see healthy options on the table.

I like chicken, vegetable or prawn skewers on the BBQ, quiche, meatballs, chocolate covered strawberries, fruit platters, hummus and crudites and any number of beautiful salads.


#4 Eat before you go

If you’re off to a cocktail event or a canapes only do, don’t go hungry, as it’s all too easy to compensate from the mini spring roll platter or at the drive through or kebab shop on the way home.

Eat a normal meal before you go and then either skip the canapes altogether or choose a couple of things wisely.


#5 Choose when it’s worth it

If the social event you’re going to is at beautiful venue with renowned food, make the conscious choice to eat and enjoy if you wish to.

I have several of these in my social calendar (Mondo Organics and 1889 Enoteca next week), and I won’t be worrying too much about what I eat on these occasions.

Anywhere a little fancy is generally not so bad for the diet, as fancy often means small portions of deliciousness and not much in the way of heavy carbs. Fancy tends not to include hot chips and large portions.


#6 Choose when it’s not worth it

Conversely, choose when it’s not worth it. If you’re off to the pub, burger joint, local Mexican or Thai restaurant, choose the healthiest option on the menu and then enjoy the company of others.

Remember that at the end of the meal, the only difference is that some people will be going home with more calories in them than others, but everyone will have had the same amount of fun.


#7 Check the menu in advance

I’m in the habit of doing this all year round and find it helpful to choose something healthy in advance.

This helps to prevent menu madness, which is when you have that moment of staring at the menu , with the angel and the devil on your shoulders having an argument about whether to order the garlic bread and hot chips or the salad.


#8 Alcohol

“But it’s Christmas!”

*eyeroll*

Drink what you will, but if you drink you will eat.

And then you will eat some more the next day (chip buttie and full fat coke for that hangover? Just me?).

Alcohol changes the way your body processes food, ruins sleep and is a depressant.

And hangovers. #justsaying

Some of the usual suggestions include alternating your drinks with water, choosing moderation, or sticking to clear liquor like gin and vodka with soda and lime, but my experience as a health conscious non-drinker is that having a conversation about drinking (or not drinking) in Australia, especially over the holidays, is not dissimilar to having a conversation with some Americans about their right to bear arms.

So, as you were Frock Friends.


#9 Saboteurs

The chorus from these folks will become louder over the festive season. Don’t defend your choices or feel that you need to explain yourself.

If they keep at you after you’ve politely said “No thank you”, I hereby give you permission to smile and say, “What I eat or don’t eat/drink or don’t drink is no-one’s business but mine.”

And wander off.


#10 Move

Being on holidays is a great time to get moving. Whether it’s a walk on the beach, kicking a ball in the backyard, swimming or even going to the gym, it’s a terrific time of year to do some physical activity as you have an abundance of the one thing that I often hear people use as an excuse – time!

It doesn’t have to be the full gym or exercise regime when you’re away on holidays, but being active will make you feel good.

I’m off to Noosa for a week over Christmas and will attend some local yoga classes (if you’re on the Sunshine Coast I highly recommend Yoga Circle), do the Noosa headland walks, try the local cycling routes and go swimming at the beach.

Aside from my time at Noosa, I’ll be keeping up my usual fitness program during the festive season, even more tightly than usual!


#11 Be realistic

If you’re working on weight loss at the moment (as I am), be realistic about what you can achieve during the festive season. It’s challenging if not impossible to do all of the social events including Christmas and New Year and lose weight as well.

A more realistic goal is maintenance (or damage limitation), aiming for no weight gain and to maintain your level of fitness.


#12 Keep your New Year’s resolutions in mind

While all talk is of Christmas right now, New Year’s is less than five weeks away.

Keeping it together during the festive season will mean you won’t go into the New Year beating yourself up for the choices you made during December, nor have to spend the first few months of 2016 undoing the damage.

And the Christmas to New Year break is a good time to contemplate and plan your health and wellness goals for the year ahead.


Over to you Frock Friends

What’s your plan for a healthy festive season?

P.S. I really wanted to call this blog post “The 12 Weighs of Christmas”…. but I couldn’t quite make it work 🙂