Longevity Personal Training and Exercise Physiology Edgecliff, Lindfield, Marrickville and Randwick understand it’s not always easy to stay healthy over the festive season. There’s often a Christmas party or family and friend gathering every weekend leading up to the new year and it can make sticking to your health and fitness goals challenging. That’s why Longevity’s Exercise Physiologists in Edgecliff, Randwick, Marrickville and Lindfield have put together some helpful tips to help you enjoy the festive season whilst also staying on track.
1. Watch food portions
We know it’s sometimes difficult to say no to that second serving of party food when it tastes so good. And while weight gain won’t happen if you over indulge once or twice, problems can arise when going back for a second serving or having bigger portions becomes normal and habitual. So, try to stay in tune with your serving sizes and how often you are going back for a second serving of food over this festive season.
2. Get active with others
The Physical Activity guidelines don’t go on holidays, so meeting them is the goal all year-round. To continue getting at least 2 strength sessions in per week and at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, you may need to get creative. Can you go for a walk with a friend or visiting relative instead of going out for a meal? Can you set up a game of cricket, soccer, or have swimming races, or even a family outing to the gym instead of sitting and watching television or playing video games?
3. BYO healthy share foods
Have you been asked to bring nibbles, dessert, or a salad etc…? Why not make sure you have a healthy option that doesn’t undo your health goals by bringing it yourself! A quick google and a few simple ingredient tweaks and you’ll be able to indulge in your favourite foods and save on calories. For example, swapping dips for homemade hummus, bliss balls instead of rumballs or veggies and salad rather than bringing along that indulgent potato bake.
4.Watch the alcohol
Alcohol can have a big impact on our daily kilojoule intake without us sometimes realising or taking it seriously. One way to reduce the amount of alcohol consumption without feeling like you are missing out is to opt for a healthier option. For example, could you make a healthy punch with lots of fruit and sparkling water instead of an alcoholic punch or can you alternate alcoholic drinks with glasses of water. It will help keep you hydrated at the same time!
5. Challenge the mindset and set time aside for movement
Frantically running around shopping, socialising, and cleaning might seem like it’s exercise, but it may not be enough to keep your fitness on track. Exercise can quickly get pushed too low on the priority list at this time of year, but it’s important to set aside time for movement. Even two bouts of 10 minutes is better than nothing and you will feel a lot better for it.
There is also often a lot of emphasis put on the food at social gatherings. While there is nothing wrong with this, why not challenge your guests to bring their joggers or swimmers with them to the next party, instead of a baked good and plan a walk or swim together.
6. Eat mindfully
Allow yourself to enjoy your favourite holiday food and try to take a 10 min break after your first serving of food. You might realise you are full or want only a smaller portion of seconds. Another tip is to only pick the things you really love and leave the rest. Often, we don’t really want it, it’s just because it’s in front of us that we eat it. So, if you can be mindful of this and either practice self-control or move away from the food, it will help you to eat to satisfaction but not over fullness.
7. Travelling? Pre-plan how and when you will exercise
Going to a new destination without your usual workout options can mean you forget all about moving your body. That’s why it’s a good idea to think about how you will exercise before you get there because its likely motivation isn’t going to get you past the hotel buffet, pool side cocktails or afternoon sunbaking. Try to view it as an opportunity to explore new training styles such as a local running group, a dance class, or plan to explore a new location by walking rather than using transport.
8. Fill up on nutritious foods
Often calorie dense or high sugar foods don’t make us feel full and that’s why it’s easy to eat more of these types of foods. To lessen the temptation to fill up on calorie or sugary rich foods, make sure you’re eating nutritious foods throughout the day.
9. Out of sight, out of mind
After eating, try putting away treats in the pantry or fridge so you aren’t tempted to keep eating them. Try storing treats in a place that isn’t the first thing you see when you open the pantry or fridge. Another great tip is to put treats in the freezer and only pull them out when people are coming over. The effort of unfreezing something, will soon make you less inclined to eat it!
10. Don’t forget about sleep
Staying up later because of parties or other social events can mean you don’t get enough sleep and are more tired during the day. This can mean you are more likely to opt for sugary foods and have less energy to be active in the day. So, don’t forgot to get enough hours of sleep per night!
The team at Longevity hope you enjoy time spent with family and friends this festive season. If you want support staying on track, getting enough movement in this festive season, or perhaps you’ve got time to get started on improving your health, Longevity has a number of Accredited Exercise Physiologists available over the holidays, open every day except public holidays. You can get in contact with the Longevity team on 1300 964 002.
Written by Courtney Maher