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It’s Christmas time!

It’s all about the holiday spirit and of course spending time with your loved ones. It only comes around once a year so you can relax and put your rigorous fitness journey on a pause because life is meant to be celebrated. Of course Christmas and holiday time is usually synonymous with over-eating of delicious food.

The important thing is to prioritise spending quality time with your loved ones: family and friends, however you can still have some hacks to help you stay on track, if you so wish.

Christmas is 1 day out of 365 which is 0.27% of the year. One day will not derail any progress you’ve made during the year if you have already built good habits on the other days during the year.

Even 7 days is 1 out of 52 weeks which is 1.9% of the year, which also will not derail your progress, if you have good habits as a baseline.

However if you would still like to have some simple health hacks and tips you can use to incorporate into your day, here are 25 that may help you out:

1. Use Your Satiety As A Measure/Control

Use your feelings of fullness to assess your level of whether to keep eating or to take a break. Needing to unbutton the top of your jeans is expected, but if you need to unzip it too and are sweating profusely, you may have gone a bit far and can hold off for a few hours to give your body a chance to rest.

2. Have Water In Between Your Meals

Staying hydrated will keep your from unnecessarily eating. It’s still important to drink water – with the expectation of all the salty, spicy, oily food about to be eaten, it’s important to keep your water up. It can help with bloating and definitely prevent hangovers.

3. Eat Your Meals Slowly – Savour Every Bite

Take your time and eat slowly, without distractions to enjoy your food. This will help you not only cherish the food more but you will eat less due to the mindful nature of the activity. Eating mindlessly and quickly is an easy way to end up overeating.

4. Make Time For A Walk

Staying active is a good habit and even something as simple as a 30 minute walk with the family can bring you together while getting your feet moving.

5. Eat Your Greens First – To Get Them Out Of The Way

At breakfast time, be sure to include some vegetables eg a spinach omelette or green smoothie, because as the day carries on usually the indulgences roll in and eating properly is the last thing on your mind. So you can use your higher willpower and freedom in the mornings to get ahead on your greens.

6. If You Do Have Time – Go To The Gym Early In The Morning

Squeezing an early morning gym session before the family is up can energise you, keep you on track for your fitness journey and put you in a great mood ahead of the day. You’ll be ready for the delicious meals and activities the day will have to bring.

7. Focus On The Moment and Be With The People Rather Than Focus Solely On Food

Being present and focusing on spending time with and catching up with your loved ones will help reduce food focus, rather than only thinking about what lunch will be and what dinner will be. Nuture your connections tothe people around you as a point of focus instead.

8. Eat The Foods You Don’t Eat Often

If you must overindulge, do it on foods you don’t frequent – special delicacies, homemade recipes from your granny or a local food. Eating food you eat everyday eg cookies, soft drinks, staple home meals eg plain rice, pasta etc can be seen as a “waste of calories” since they aren’t really that special. See the day as a day that is special and to enjoy special meals and drinks and it can reduce your overconsumption of calories.

9. For Alcohol – Stick To Dry Wines and Spirits

Dry wines and spirits with mixers have lower calories for the same effect. Cocktails tend to to high in calories, whereas beers and ciders can because you’d usually have to take several to reach the effect. So choose your alcohol mindfully if you so wish – and remember to drink water to prevent a hangover.

10. Minimise Snacking Unnecessarily

This ties in to points number 2 and 7 – snacking mindlessly can unnecessairly overshoot your daily intake. So do be mindful of what you eat and save the snacking for those that are truly worth it.

11. Intermittent Fast – And Have Christmas Dinner In The Eating Window

Planning to have a big meal? Intermittent fasting can help becuase you wil limit your intake to theose meals – which will most likely exceed your usual intake. It serves as a buffer to keep your calorie intake moderate, rahter than if you eat freely all meals at all times.

12. Do Some Extra Cardio

If you are working out, adding in a 20 minute HIIT workout or a 30 minute cardio session 2x a week can also be a buffer. However, it’s important not to see it as a punishment for eating because there should be no guilt attached to any activity – both eating and working out should be enjoyable.

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13. Focus On Good Quality Sleep

Even with all the holiday madness and happening, it’s still important to have a good sleep routine so be sure to do so if the option is available. If you’re having a late night bonding session with a cousin you haven’t seen in so long, have the session and have better sleep the next day.

14. Don’t Forget Mindfulness And Meditation

It comes down to being in the present moment and avoiding distracctions such as your phone for savouring the time you have with your loved ones. YOU are also important so don’t neglect your self care routines and meditation – especially if you need it in the case of moments of frustration with family (we know how family can be).

15. Have Protein Filled Meals Around Your Big Meals

Having meals high in protein will keep you full and keep you from overeating, especially on the “simple” foods we mentioned – the basics everyday. You’ll have room for granny’s special meal while hitting your protein for the day.

16. Incorporate Some Activities – Cycling, Dancing Etc To Stay Active

Having a dancing session or doing outdoors activities during this time is a good way to stay active as well. When everyone is moving, the endorphins that are released will get everyone ina good mood which helps with nuturing the connections even more.

17. Don’t Stress About Tomorrow/Next Week And Fully Enjoy Your Meals

Live in the moment – enjoy your day and make the most of it. Enjoy it for what it is.

18. If You Want To – Do A High-Volume Resistance Training Workout -Food Is Great Fuel For Gains

The benefit of high calorie high carb meals? They are just the fuel for growing muscles, so go and stimulate those muscles to use the food by doing a challenging workout and make gains all the way through the festive season!

19. Bring/Make An Alternate Healthy Meal – If You Want

An option of making a healthier version of a meal eg cake made with oat flour instead of wheat flour, can help you stay on track. Do remember that most people are not thinking about health of fitness at this time and some may not be eager or understand why. However your journey is your own, and you are free to do as you wish and what you feel is best for you regardless of others’ opinions. Just don’t be the annoying health nut at the Christmas table.

20. Practice Portion Control

Have 2 servings instead of the 4 you had last year. Use a smaller plate. Use a smaller serving spoon to measure out the cheesecake. Reducing portion size with reduce intake, and if you eat mindfully as of point number 2, it will be just as delicious and you will have savoured the moment.

21. Less Soft Drinks – They’re Too Everyday – Have The More Limited Drinks

Drinks are an easily over-consumed calorie source, so it is wiser to have the more limited and special drinks, in order to make the calories worth it

22. Share Your Meal With A Family Member/Friend/Partner

Share your plate with your little niece or nephew and reduce your total calorie intake whil bonding closer to your loved one.

23. Don’t Think Of It A Cheat Meal/Rarity

Think of it as a special time to bond with your loved ones while enjoying food with them as part of a social setting. Thinking of it as a cheat meal might make you see food as being deprived and you’re now “allowed” to have them. Think more in terms of abundance and joy than limits and restrictions being lifted.

24. Don’t Eat For The Sake Of Eating

If you don’t want to eat or you’re not hungry, you don’t have to eat. Just because the food is there, doesn’t mean it has to be eaten. This ties in to mindful eating.

25. Enjoy Yourself!!

Enjoy the day, be grateful for the blessings you have,the loved ones in your life and the opportunity to afford to BE health conscious.

Merry Christmas to you all.

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