How to manage the silly season

I had thought only a few weeks had passed since I last posted but upon review was shocked to find it has been almost a month since my post about the photo shoot for New Idea.

This time of year is frenetic.

And on top of that I’ve been madly preparing for the launch of something I feel very passionate about; running a 12 week intensive weight loss and wellness program together with Chris, for people who need and want to make major changes to their health in 2015.

The Healthy Living Project is officially live and taking bookings for a 30 January start in Brisbane!

It’s going to be amazing and I’m ridiculously excited (and five people have already booked in!).

If you know of anyone looking for a program like this, please do pass on the details. I’d appreciate that so much.

New Idea – not long now…

But back to New Idea! I have much more to tell and photos to share about the day in Sydney, but at the magazine’s request this has to wait until the issue is released.

The issue in question, by the way, will be either the first or second edition of the New Year. I’m one of several ladies featured so if you’re after some motivating and uplifting stories to take you into 2015, do go out and buy it.

But if you struggle to find a copy in South East Queensland it may be because I bought them all and stuffed them under my bed…

I’m definitely pleased that I took part (and even a little proud of myself), but it was quite nerve wracking. My legs shook like jelly as they took the photos and I feel quite nervous about the end result appearing in the magazine in just a few weeks time.


The silly season

Anyways. The silly season! How is everyone going? It sure is a hard time of year to stick to any kind of healthy eating plan.

I was wandering through Coles last week when these made me stop short and take a moment.

At first sight, they look like yummy little Lindt balls.

silly-season-3 silly-season-2

But look again Frock Friends.

They aren’t that little next to the sign that says $25 per ball! These are 550grams of Lindt ball. Half a kilo. I mean, on the one hand I feel like it’s chocolate heaven, but really – is there a need?

How does one even store a partially eaten basketball sized Lindt ball? Do you eat it as a team? A family? With spoons?

And do I sound like the Christmas Grinch by hating on the oversized chocolates?

Next up I was in Big W where I spotted the Toblerone’s. The metre high Toblerone’s.

You could get the Toblerone and the Lindt chocolate and play a round of cricket on Christmas Day with them.

This is what makes the silly season so…. silly.

The scale of the excess.

What I did last year, What I’m doing this year

Last year I was determined to get under 90kgs and so with steely grit I sailed through the silly season without even vaguely straying from the plan.

This year, having recently hit my next major milestone (losing 40kg), and having been working on my healthy living project for 21 months now, I’ve had  a couple of weeks with no weigh-ins and eating calorie neutral rather than in calorie deficit.

It’s good to give my body a break occasionally.

This doesn’t mean I get to go crazy. The idea is to stay the same weight (by eating calorie neutral), rather than pushing to lose weight.

It makes it a little easier with all of the social events, but there’s still no alcohol, no sweets or junk food and limited carbohydrate intake, but it’s more food than I’d usually eat when I’m trying to lose weight.

I’m off for a lovely family holiday in Hoi An (Vietnam) for a week shortly, returning on 27 December, when my usual regime will resume as I work on losing the last 15 to 20kg.

Which is still a lot to lose, but the numbers just feel so good to me. 15 to 20kg to go is a world apart from 60kg to go.

Oh, and for anyone taking part in the The Healthy Living Project, I shall be doing it alongside the group. I need the team motivation!

7 ways to manage the excess of the silly seasonsilly-season-7

So these are some of strategies that I use to keep it together during the silly season so as not to begin the New Year regretting the entirety of my December consumption.

1. There are 21 meals in the week. If you go to six events, there are still 15 meals where you can eat healthy food. So eat 15 healthy meals! One of the dangers of the season is to suffer from any number of these; ‘I can’t be bothered’, ‘I’ve ruined my diet anyway’, ‘I may as well go all in’ and ‘I’ll be good in the New Year‘, thus eating poorly for the whole month. Eat well when you can.

2. Avoid ambient chocolate eating. Those giant tins of chocolates that wing their way to workplaces across the country? It’s a rabbit hole! Eat one and you’re on your way down. Ignore the tin or re-gift. Chris would say bin it, bin it immediately. You eat just one, then another, then the sugar high gets you and you want more sugar and suddenly it’s become a Cadbury Roses eat-a-thon, but you Just. Can’t. Stop. #beenthere

3. Work the tier system. What is the tier system? Let me explain. I made it up for myself. If I’m out at a lovely three course dinner event, I always eat the protein (meat, eggs, seafood) and the salad or vegetables. Often (almost always), that’s where it stops, because I’m still working on my weight loss. But if you’re making conscious choices, the next tier of choice would be to eat the complex carbohydrates and fat; potatoes, pasta, rice, bread, fruit, cheese. The third tier is the sweet stuff; the dessert and the chocolates. And the final tier is alcohol. Now these aren’t about the calories as such, but they are about the impact on my body and the ability to get back into the healthy eating the following day. It’s also about making conscious decisions; if you’re at an event, you don’t have to go all in and eat the lot or nibble on a side salad; there are choices in between.

4. Don’t give people alcohol or chocolates for Christmas. I know these are quick and easy gifts, but there are many, many other options. There is enough excess during the silly season without adding to it! However, ignore that suggestion if you receive alcohol or chocolate for Christmas. Merrily re-gift those! Save yourself!

5. Take healthier options to parties, BBQs, picnics and dinners. I favour the chocolate covered strawberry (also, two ingredients and fast to make – three ingredients if you go wild and drizzle some white chocolate over the top). And everyone loves chocolate covered strawberries. For savoury things, I favour quiche, mini quiches or crudité with dips.silly-season-4 silly-season-5 silly-season-6

6. Move. I know it’s January when the gym memberships soar, but actually, December is the month when getting off one’s backside and moving may just matter most. It can be terrifically hot outdoors, but early morning or late afternoon walks are great, dusting off that rarely used gym membership could work or perhaps go for a swim to cool down. Also, so many workplaces are closed for the two week break so this means that the biggest excuse of all (time!), becomes null and void. Work some exercise or movement into your holidays.

7. Think ahead. Dream big. Think about your health and wellness goals as you head towards the New Year. Keeping these in mind helps you to make mindful decisions about what you eat and drink during December.


Why yes, that’s me in lycra(!), doing what I suggested in #6; moving more during the silly season. I am *slowly* getting used to bike riding in the great outdoors. Though I took the cleats off after taking a large chunk out of my knee last week. They are going to take a little more practice… it’s back to pedals for a bit in the outdoors and cleats when riding stationery on the wind trainer.

This was a weekend ride at Marcoola Beach followed by a walk up Mt Coolum. I like that I’m now *that person* – the one who on weekends away takes their bike and is keen to get out and do something active in addition to the coffee drinking, relaxing in deck chairs, shopping and dining. #healthyliving

How are you going with healthy living during the silly season?

Chucked in the towel or holding tight?

  • Ha, those Lindt balls aren’t huge balls, they are a bauble style plastic shell FILLED with regular Lindt balls. (Don’t ask me how I know).

    This year, I have lost 53lbs and am determined not to let Christmas unravel all my hard work. I also go to a Slimming Class and in January we have a ‘chocolate amnesty’. We simply hand in any/all unopened boxes of chocolates / biscuits / treats etc and donate them to the homeless or a local charity. It would hurt me to throw them in the bin, but I’m glad to donate and see them go to someone who will enjoy them!

    • Oh Natalie you’ve made me laugh! I feel so silly! I didn’t even pick up one of those giant Lindt balls to have a feel and a shake, just presumed they were one big ball of chocolate and not a container filled with 550g of the little balls! Very funny. Now that amnesty is a brilliant idea! I don’t like to throw things either and re-gifting to someone who perhaps doesn’t see a lot of treats would be so much better.

      And hooray for your 53Ib loss! I hear you on the keeping it together during December and not undoing all the hard work – it’s a tricky time of year for it, though soon enough everyone will be on the New Year’s health kick and it all gets a little easier!

  • Claire

    Great update Ems! Please bring giant lint balls to vietnam! :S Joking… see you soon!x

  • Sarah Foster

    I have fallen apart a little bit in the last few months, lots of bad habits coming back and 10 of the 25kg i lost have found their way back! I have a meeting with a new trainer on Thursday though, I’m going to see him twice a week and get a new program, a new focus to enter some obstacle races this year and get my food and food prep back on track! Last year’s shorts will fit me again this summer! Silly really, i have just started studying nutritional medicine & my nutrition is what is letting me down the most right now.

    Good luck with your new program, how exciting that you get to be seeing your motivation first hand with these new people

    Enjoy your trip!

    • Oh Sarah it’s so easy isn’t it! The habits are super hard to kick, but wow – well done on the 25kg lost – because the great thing is that you *know* you can do it. It sounds like you’re getting a good plan in place (and before the new year even!). The trainer sounds great – I know for me, I really need that person there to push me on particularly in the tricky times until I feel a little better about things again, so hopefully between your trainer and your obstacle race goals (and your studies – very cool), you’ll start to feel like you’re back on it soon enough.

      Thanks so much re the program! Super excited to transfer some of what I know works and Chris’ methods and knowledge to a group. I think people are going to love it and see massive change. And of course by both running it with Chris AND taking part – I hope that *I* also drop some serious kgs over the 12 weeks and push my own healthy living project a bit further along as well.

      Anyway – must go and pack a bag – hooray for holidays! Good luck with your new trainer and your plans – you’ll take that 10kg back off again soon enough 🙂 Let us know how you go.