The last few months of the year are often frantic as we try to drop those last few kilos we picked up during winter, just to look great in our bikinis on the beach during our December vacation.
While this is a great motivator after hibernating during the colder months, it shouldn’t be something you do just to look great for a short period of time. Wouldn’t it be so much more rewarding if we could be fit, active, healthy and look great all year round, including all of December and January, and not just in the first few weeks?
Making a few small changes and being mindful of your eating and training habits during the holidays will ensure you look and feel great during the summer. Here are my top tips for staying on track over the holidays, and beyond:
- Track your calories. It can be easy to over- or under-eat during the holidays. Tracking your calories will ensure you get in all your micro- and macronutrients and will keep your metabolism consistent.
- Work your cheats and treats into your daily calorie consumption. If you’re planning on indulging, replace one of your normal meals with your treat meal to ensure you don’t overeat.
- Eat small portions. Try to keep your holiday meal times consistent with your normal routine.
- Snack smartly. Always pack healthy snacks when you’re out and about. This will ensure you have something to eat if you’re unable to grab something healthful while on the go. This will ensure you don’t just grab the first, often unhealthy, snack you can get your hands on. Snacks such as nuts, biltong, vegetable sticks with dips like hummus, superfood snacks and protein shakes are all great options. High-protein functional food bars are ideal for your beach bag as a healthy and convenient single-serving snack.
- Make your own food and try to stay away from eating out too much. Braaing is a great way to keep your meals healthy and fresh.
- Go for the healthier options on the restaurant menu. A portion of protein, healthy carbohydrates and healthy fats are always the best options.
- It’s all about balance. Of course, you don’t want to diet strictly while on holiday – you want to indulge and enjoy yourself. It’s all about finding balance – plan your meals and treat meals to find that balance.
- Stay hydrated, especially during the warmer months. Make sure you take water with you when you set out for the day, and always have a glass of water before and after a meal. If you struggle to drink a lot of water, add a zero-calorie, zero-sugar water flavouring product for a refreshing drink option.
- Electrolyte-enhanced water will also keep you hydrated and replenish salts lost through sweating.
- Moderating your alcohol intake is also important. Alcohol contains a lot of calories, especially when mixed with sugary sodas and mixers. Try to keep your alcohol consumption low.
More on alcoholic beverages:
Alcohol in itself is relatively calorie dense – in pure form, 1g of alcohol contains 7 calories. And different alcoholic beverages have different sugar and calorie contents based on their ingredients and mixes. So, make wise decisions when it comes to what you sip on during the holidays.
As a quick guide, try to keep your drinks as plain as possible. One shot of alcohol mixed with zero sugar options or zero-calorie, zero-sugar water flavouring product are your best bets. For extra flavour, you can also try adding some sliced pieces of fruit, like strawberries, lemon slices and pineapple pieces.
Spirits, like Vodka, Whiskey, Rum, Tequila, Brandy, Cognac and Gin, have the lowest calorie contents. White and red wine and champagne are also better options than mixers.
Beverages highest in calorie content include beer, cocktails, pre-mixed drinks, liqueurs and ready-to-drink coolers. Try to avoid these as much as possible.
- Don’t stop exercising. Even a 30-minute high-intensity workout is better than nothing.
- Get your training in first thing in the morning so that it’s done and out of the way. In doing so you’ll be able to enjoy the rest of your day without worrying about still having to work out.
- Get a training partner and keep each other accountable. Exercising is also a lot more fun with a partner.
- Burn calories by doing getting active throughout the day. As examples, walk to wherever you’re going as much as possible, play water and beach sports like volleyball, take walks along the beach and go hiking.
Rest and recover, physically and mentally. That’s what holidays and vacations are for. Here are a few ways to rest and recover while on holiday:
- Catch some sun – vitamin D is GREAT for you
- Get outside and spend some time in nature!
- Read – it’s one of the best ways to shut out the world and relax
- Meditate – meditation is great to reset your energy levels every day and offers a variety of benefits to your physical and mental health.
- Take time away from technology and social media. Shut off for a few days – see it as a tech-detox.
Staying healthy, active and fit on vacation is not that difficult. All it takes is a few tweaks to your routine and habits.
Have a happy, health & fit festive season!
Author: Mariska du Plessis
Mariska is the editor of Fitness Magazine, Bootcamp Instructor, Writer, Photographer and Wellness Blogger.
Follow her on Instagram: @justmariska_