It's the Christmas party at my CrossFit box tonight and I just finished up baking & decorating some festive donuts for the occasion - the donut addiction is real people! Somehow I managed to get through the entire process and only eat one mini donut - I recognize all my accomplishments in life, big and small! Anyway, it got me thinking about how stressful the holidays can be with so many social functions to attend & trying to be healthy and what is being healthy all about anyway? If you deprive yourself of foods you love, are you happy? And what about if you indulge, do you feel guilty or workout excessively to compensate? Neither of those tactics assists with your overall sense of well-being or help to cultivate a healthy relationship with food & exercise. So here are some strategies to "hack the holidays", avoid weight gain & enjoy the festive season without undue stress!
Plan your Treats
Let's be realistic now, none of us are perfect! Whilst you might be able to go to one or two parties without indulging, you will eventually succumb to your cravings and the likelihood is that instead of having one or two treats, you will binge and then spend the rest of the evening having a Bridget Jones' moment on the sofa. Spare yourself the guilt-trip & show yourself some compassion. Make a deal with yourself to enjoy one or two things you wouldn't normally eat and don't feel bad about it. A couple treats here and there are not going to ruin your overall progress. Remember a healthy lifestyle is all about balance & long-term sustainability.
Keep Alcohol to a Minimum
Photo courtesy of Brooke Lark
It's easy to forget that calories come in liquid form too and alcoholic sugary drinks are by far the most calorific. Not only that but alcohol generally impairs your decision-making abilities, easily turning that one treat you're planned on into four. Waking up with a hangover is unlikely to motivate you to workout or eat well either. If you like to have a drink or two, try to avoid cocktails with sugary mixers. Mix your spirits with club soda & fresh lime instead and be sure to space out your drinks with plenty of water in between.
Photo courtesy of Confessions of a Superfoodie
Don't skip your workouts or regular training routine. Do your best to continue to make time for exercise as it will actually help alleviate that added stress that the holidays can bring. Most high-intensity workouts are short & quick like Tabata intervals (20 seconds on, 10 seconds). You could do a 16 minute Tabata circuit with 4 body-weight movements, like jumping squats, push ups, jumping lunges & sit-ups. Or ditch your usual 45-minute jog for 6 rounds of 400m sprints with 90 seconds rest in between. Short and intense workouts like these are typically 20 minutes or less so they're perfect if you're crunched for time. They're also amazing calorie burners as they ramp up that intensity so you'll continue to burn calories after you're done.
Eat Sensibly Before You Go
Photo courtesy of Confessions of a Superfoodie
Fasting all day before a party is not a good idea. We all know what happens when we go to the supermarket when we're hungry, so why would you think going to a party on an empty stomach would be any different? The only difference is instead of filling your shopping cart with lots of delicious treats, you wind up filling your belly!
To avoid that scenario, it's best to eat sensibly throughout the day. Stay on top of your lean protein and steer clear of starchy carbohydrates like rice, bread, pasta & cereals. Having a green, protein smoothie before you go is a great way to pack in some nutrients & keep your hunger at bay. Try adding Mod_e's Combat_Green Juice to your favorite protein powder!
Part of being healthy is cultivating a positive mindset. It can be very easy to slip into a cycle of negative self-talk when you feel like you are not accomplishing the things you should be, especially when it comes to following a diet or fitness routine. Start the day with a 10-minute meditation, or go for a walk and focus on a simple mantra like "I am relaxed and happy," or focus your attention on five things you are grateful for. Setting an intention for the day can also help enormously. I use a deck of cards called "Be The Change" and pick a card every morning before I get caught up in the chaos of day-to-day life.
Roz Glanfield is a nutritionist, personal trainer & CrossFit coach. Roz provides online nutrition consultations & coaching to clients specifically looking to achieve weight loss and a healthier relationship with food. Roz's holistic coaching methods draw on her life experiences & insights as a yoga instructor, to help clients build healthy habits that are sustainable for the long-term. When Roz isn't writing, teaching or studying, she loves to workout & travel with her fiance. Aside from their dogs & CrossFit, they share a passion for sweet treats and are always on the hunt for the best donuts in town. Find out more at www.confessionsofasuperfoodie.com