By Cara-Lisa, founder of Caralishious
Holidays are meant to be a time for us to unwind, relax and enjoy life, so it’s okay to let loose and indulge a bit, just don’t get carried away.
Enjoy the holidays by finding the right balance with these tips – your mind and body will thank you.
Tip 1: Be realistic
You don’t have to ‘kill’ yourself to lose weight during the holidays. Even if you are mid-way through your transformation plan, rather use this time to maintain your current condition. You can then focus on continuing to improve your physique after the holidays. In fact, you may even find that you lose some weight without even trying because you’re relaxed, and when you are relaxed your cortisol levels diminish (high cortisol levels promotes unwanted fat storage).
Tip 2: Plan time for exercise
A moderate daily increase in exercise can help partially offset that increased food intake synonymous with the holidays. Try 15-minute brisk walks or runs twice a day. If that sounds too hectic, try a light restorative yoga class. If you feel like your body needs a break, then ease up a little on your current exercise regimen, but don’t stop altogether. Rather change it up, or opt for gentle exercise instead.
Tip 3: Don’t skip meals
Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack, such as raw vegetables with hummus, a handful of biltong, or sliced apple with natural nut butter to curb your appetite. That way you’ll be less tempted to over-indulge.
Tip 4: Practice portion control
Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Savour your favourite holiday treats while eating small portions. Sit down, get comfortable, and enjoy. Listen to your body so that you know when enough is enough.
Tip 5: Beware of beverages
Alcohol can lessen inhibitions and induce overeating, while non-alcoholic beverages are often full of calories and sugar. Again, there is nothing wrong with drinking a little alcohol, just do so in moderation.
Opt for white spirits paired with soda water and lemon to avoid excess sugars. Before drinking, eat a healthy, nutritious meal with protein, veg-based carbs and healthy fats to avoid late night hunger after a night out.
Tip 6: Avoid overeating
If you slip up at one meal, go light on the next. It takes just 500 calories per day (or 3,500 calories per week) above maintenance consumption levels to gain one kilo. Basically, it’s impossible to gain weight from one piece of pie!
Tip 7: Take the focus off food
Rather turn baking time into non-edible projects like making wreaths, dough art decorations or a gingerbread house. Plan group activities with the family and friends that aren’t all about food. Rather play games or go for a walk around your neighbourhood. A holiday hike in nature with a healthy packed picnic lunch can be just as much fun (if not more so) than a day of sitting around and eating delicious food.
Tip 8: Come prepared
If you know that a holiday gathering won’t have any healthy options, simply bring your own delicious healthful meals. You may even find that you influence a few guests to enjoy a healthier meal too.
Tip 9: Cook healthily
Preparing your favourite dishes using smart ingredients will help promote healthy holiday eating. Incorporate some of these simple cooking tips into traditional holiday recipes to make them healthier:
- Gravy: Refrigerate the gravy to harden fat. Skim the fat off to save a whopping 56g of fat per cup.
- Dressing: Use more onions, garlic, celery, and vegetables. Add fruits such as cranberries or apples to sweeten. Moisten or flavour with organic vegetable broth and unsweetened applesauce.
- Mashed potato: Use cauliflower, milk, garlic or garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese instead of potatoes.
- Desserts: Use almond and coconut flour for cake bases, and add stevia and xylitol to sweeten rather than sugar. Strawberries dipped in macadamia nut butter and coated with cacao nibs, then frozen, are delicious and satisfying dessert treats! Or Caralishious Coconut Milk Ice-Cream for a satisfying healthy treat instead of regular ice-cream.
Cara-Lisa is a health blogger, fitness enthusiast, wellness coach, and founder of the Caralishious brand. With 17 years of dance experience behind her, Cara-Lisa has first-hand experience in sports nutrition, body conditioning, Pilates, healthy eating and holistic living. After overcoming years of struggle in her relationship with food and body image, it is now her passion to help heal others. You can find Cara-Lisa’s online coaching services and meal plan options at www.caralishious.com. Her blog includes healthy recipes, nutrition advice, exercise tips and offers simple and sustainable ways to obtain and maintain lasting health. You can also subscribe to Cara’s newsletter for regular updates, recipes, and nutrition tips delivered straight to your email.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.