I absolutely love the holidays and who wouldn’t – you get to spend quality time with your family and friends, eat your favourite treats and spend nights by the fire. No matter where you live- the winter is synonymous with celebrations, late nights, rounds of cocktails, calorific food and a whole lots going out. Let’s face it we are social people and there’s really no point in missing out on all the fun Since time immemorial, our celebrations have revolved around a feast, social drinking and good company with ham or poultry, lots of wine and bubbly. Even disciplined folks have trouble resisting snacks at the party and tend to indulge during the festive season. The slight nip in the air, dip in the temperatures and the fact that its jacket season makes you want to indulge in rich calorific beverages and eat food that will help satiate and keep you warm. Luckily, the advent of winter also means you can layer up – if you dress sensibly, you can be clever about it and accentuate your best assets. Holiday weight gain for most of us might seem inevitable but the festivities and holiday cheer shouldn’t derail you from your diet and workout goals.
We end up starving ourselves and eating too little to fit into our clothes and then feel miserable after a few weeks of overindulging. The idea is to be consistent with your workouts and eat clean 80 percent of the time so you have some leeway for indulgences. Everyone’s got a vice – I love a nice steak, decadent cheesecakes and anything with nut butter, coconut or berries and frozen yoghurt. For some of you it could be your daily glass of vino or a few drinks with your partner post work. Don’t approach the holidays with guilt, anxiety and apprehension over what to eat and what to avoid this year. Here are a few tips and tricks that have worked for me and they might work for you too.
- Portion control is key. Everyone’s going to be tempted to have that glass of vino or that key lime pie but you have to be able to stop at one. Enjoy your treat and indulge mindfully without feeling guilty afterwards but stop yourself from going for seconds.
- This is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Sit down and eat at the table. If you continue to graze at the table and nibble through the night – you will have no idea as to how much you’ve consumed.
- Try and incorporate some form of physical activity particularly when you can’t seem to find the time. Whether it’s a brisk walk, a long yoga session, swimming a few laps or a cross fit session- you’ll be happier and healthier for it. It’ll help you stay on track and the tequila shots and the wasabi prawns won’t hurt either.
- Try and eat something protein rich before you go out to a party. I swear by a stuffed omelet or a tuna salad with grilled vegetables to satiate me so I can nibble sensibly at the party.
- The festive season means late nights and eating binges. Try and keep healthy snacks like roasted foxnuts, salami rolls, apples and almond butter, veggies and hummus and unsalted nuts handy in case you feel like noshing on something. The protein and fat content in most of these will help stabilize blood sugar levels and keep your hunger at bay.
- I know you are tempted to drink those mimosas and sangria but stay away from sweetened cocktails and infusions. Pick a gin, vodka or whiskey if you absolutely must and drink it with a no calorie mixer like water, lemonade, and soda or mix soda with tonic for that extra bit of zing.
- Go meat free one day of the week. Detox your body with a few glasses of coconut water, herbal tea, fruits, cold pressed juices, and almonds. Have a light dinner with grilled vegetables, sautéed tofu and don’t add salt to anything. Use herbs and spices liberally to flavour your dishes. Your face won’t look puffy any longer and your system will appreciate the break.
- Stay away from aerated beverages, sweetened drinks, fruit juices and cocktails if you don’t want to put on weight around the middle. Drink herbal tea like green or oolong or white tea to help fight belly bloat, water retention and the caffeine will help with the puffiness too.
- Start your day with some restorative yoga and you’ll have more energy all day. If going to the gym seems like a trek with the traffic- log onto comor check out tone it up or P90 for prop free, home based workouts that will help get you toned for the season.
- Skip the baileys, café patron and the jaegermeister if you are trying to watch your weight. All that sugar from the shots will go straight to your middle and it’ll be the hardest to work off. If you absolutely must- opt for plain tequila made from agave that is lower in calories and sugar making it a wise flat belly choice.
- Sweat out the toxins. Spend some time in the sauna to help release the toxins, detoxify your skin, liver and organs and facilitate lymphatic drainage. Regular use of the sauna will help restore your skins radiant glow and get rid of the holiday water weight and puffiness.
- Skip the Indian sweets this winter and opt for a few squares of dark chocolate. Our favourite mithais are sugar bombs made with dairy, sugar and fat. Opt for poached fruits with some fresh yoghurt or cream or dark chocolate.
Good luck and happy holidays!