Staying healthy, in what can feel like the most chaotic time of year can feel like a mammoth task but there are a few things I would recommend.
A day of overindulgence will not set you back. We are all human, and we make mistakes. After all a lot of the “weight” gained is likely water weight.
So drink a good amount of water and stay hydrated and get back to your normal eating habits without beating yourself up. The energy you spend beating yourself up about it can be spent positively impacting your life.
Focus on eating a combination of whole foods with a healthy portion of fats, protein and carbohydrates, exact measurements will depend on the individual and to work that out, it is always good to see a professional.
Also take care of your mental health this festive season.
This time of year can be particularly stressful (shoutout covid-19) and many people turn to food and alcohol to cope with this.
This can be a scary place to be and if you ever feel like it is too much, seek the help of a professional psychologist or even the people close to you helps.
At the end of the day, enjoy yourself, in moderation and don’t forget to be kind to yourself.
Find an activity that you enjoy. I am a firm believer that the best exercise is the one you can stick to and consistently do.
Here are 13 steps for achieving conscious indulgence over the festive period.
1. Go for a walk
Try stretching your legs for a few minutes a day. Park a little further away when shopping to get your steps in for the day or take the stairs.
2. Create your favourite motivational playlist
Find yourself some good tunes to dance to and to train too. There is nothing quite like some motivating tunes to get you amped for training.
3. Buddy up
Get a workout buddy to join you in either an online workout or a workout class. A lot of gyms and private trainers now offer online classes and limited well-spaced classes that will make you feel safe and still break a sweat. One of my favourite things to do is try out new things, for example:
4. Try something new
I have made it my mission to try out new things after a hard 3 years of helping my mom through stage 4 breast cancer. So, I have done many things, from skydiving to fencing to rock climbing, you name it. You learn a lot about yourself when trying out new things.
I believe that you should be having fun because that helps you stay consistent.
Try something that will help you break a sweat without you even noticing. Try rock climbing, this is quite a fun activity to do with friends and family and you will break a sweat, but still have loads of fun.
Yoga, if you are based in Johannesburg you can follow @theyogipaige she offers a lovely rooftop yoga session on the roof at the Jacksons Food Market and it really is a lot of fun.
You can join a boxing class.
5. Make it a family affair
Get the family to join in, go for a hike, zip lining, or spend the day at the beach and go for a walk on the beach.
6. Set realistic goals
Start with a reasonable time frame of exercising. If you are someone that hasn’t exercised in a while and you are just starting out – start with a 30min walk a day.
Blast your favorite podcast, or spend the time chatting with a friend or spending time with your dog.
I do a 30min walk with my golden retriever, on top of my daily exercise. This is the time I switch off from the world and just spend the time, in the moment with him and it is a great way to ground yourself, if you have a rather busy schedule like I do.
7. Enjoy yourself
Enjoy yourself and set realistic goals about your diet and fitness. As tempting as it may be to crash diet and restrict yourself, it could potentially lead to crashing and binge eating. If you struggle with disordered eating or would like to learn more about how to eat more balanced and sustainably, I recommend seeing a registered dietician or a personal trainer. There are some great personal trainers in South Africa that can assist you in forming good habits with food. It is important to be open with them with your expectations and to understand that “Rome was not built in a day.”
8. Keep it balanced
I usually try not to change too much of my eating during the festive season, but I do have a treat when I feel like it. I follow an 80/20% approach, but this is all dependent on where you are in your journey.
I would eat healthy balanced meals and if I know we will be doing a Christmas lunch, I try to have a small snack beforehand so that I am not ravenous and overindulge. Try to not skip meals because you do end up overeating at your next meal.
9. Learn to listen to your body
Learn to listen to your hunger cues!
Don’t eat when distracted. Enjoy your meal, slow down when eating, and the company with your meal.
Food is as much “fuel for your soul” as it is “Fuel for your body.” When you are full, save it for later. This way you know that if you truly do feel like you are hungry you can come back to it.
10. Regulate your alcohol intake
Try to regulate your alcohol intake especially when mixing with fizzy drinks as that adds to the total calorie intake, but do not ban it completely, life is too short, enjoy it in moderation.
11. Move a little every day
Allow yourself 30min of exercise daily, and it will add some routine to the notoriously, chaotic time of year.
12. Stay hydrated
Try to stay hydrated and drink enough water throughout. Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger and when I feel like I want to hit the snack cupboard I usually have a sip of water, just to check in with myself if I am not actually thirsty.
13. Routine is key
Try keep some form of routine before, during and after the festive season for a smoother transition into “normal life.”