Festive season fitness survival guide

Festive survival Feature image

The festive season is generally a time when families and friends get together to celebrate, and most people also have those end of year office Christmas parties to get through.

But just because it’s the end of the year doesn’t mean you should allow your weight-loss efforts to slide or undo that hard-earned physique you’ve spent the year sculpting.

It’s really easy to undo 11 months of hard work in two weeks of madness.

Ideally, we’d all like to continue losing the weight or making improvements during the holidays, but realistically that’s unlikely to happen given all the temptations. So, don’t undo all your hard work this holiday season, but instead of trying to lose weight, rather aim to maintain your current condition with these helpful tips…

Make time for exercise

It’s not necessary to hit the gym for hours on end. A few simple walks or runs along the beach, along with a few bodyweight exercises will ensure you don’t miss out on enjoying the surrounds of your chosen holiday destination, while also maintaining your fitness levels and burning off a few of those extra holiday calories.

Plan ahead

Before going to a get-together, try to eat a light healthy snack like raw vegetables and lean biltong or have a handful of nuts and some fruit. This will help to curb your appetite, which means you’ll be less tempted to over-indulge.

Maintain control

It’s important that you savour your favourite holiday treats, but do so in moderation. Have a piece of chocolate instead of the whole slab or eat half your dessert and save the rest for the next day. This way you won’t overindulge.

Think of the holiday season as a chance to reward your hard work throughout the year, rather than a free pass to eat whatever you want.

Watch the drinks

Beware the calories and sugar in common holiday beverages. Whether you’re choosing the alcohol-free drinks or indulging in a mixer or some wine, moderation is key. Try to drink a glass of water between each order to help fill you up and reduce the total calories your consume in liquid form.

Bring your own food

It’s always great when someone offers to bring something to a party, so why not make a habit out of it? That way you’ll be certain that there is always a healthier option on the table that fits with your eating plan.

Avoid snacking

Try to avoid snacking at parties or throughout the day. If you’re at an event, rather dish up one plate of food and keep your hands and mouth busy with a glass of ice cold lemon water.

Don’t stock temptations

The worst thing you can do during the holidays is to stock your favourite treats in your fridge or cupboard. It’s a temptation most can’t resist.

The best approach is to stick to the “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy.

Rather head out to enjoy a treat at a restaurant or along the beachfront, and limit it to once a day at most. This will make sticking to those healthier choices and maintaining a healthier diet so much easier during the holidays. If that doesn’t work, rather make a healthier sweet treat at home.

If you do end up giving in to your cravings and overindulging, don’t beat yourself up about it. Put it behind you and work on making better choices during the days that follow by keeping these tips in mind.

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.

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