How to stay healthy this Xmas
Every year, during the festive season, when people are feeling merry and are attending holiday party after holiday party, it can be easy to eat more unhealthy food than usual and put on some unwanted extra weight.
But do not fear this holiday season, you do not need to run away from that delicious pudding or starve yourself. It is possible to walk into the new year feeling healthy and happy because – here is a simple guide to helping you stay fit, healthy and happy this holiday season.
15 STEPS TO TAKE
1. Balance is everything.
Balance is the key to staying healthy during the holiday season. Be mindful of eating a healthy and well balanced diet as well as treating yourself occasionally. Balance is all about having a healthy mindset regarding food. It is easy to avoid unwanted weight gain by not going crazy with holiday treats and by living a healthy lifestyle.
2. A treat is a treat.
If you eat treats all the time then it is no longer a treat & is not special anymore. Instead of wolfing down each average slice of cake that gets offered to you during the holidays, why not treat yourself properly by passing on all of the average (high calorie) desserts and then indulge yourself with an absolutely amazing dessert when you do choose to treat yourself. Not every meal requires a dessert, rather make dessert an occasion!
3. Un-process your food.
Eat the same kind of food, just eat the unprocessed version. Who wants to eat processed meat anyway? Gross. Buy good quality meat and avoid frozen/ canned vegetables. Rather enjoy fresh vegetables with all of your meals. Buy good quality wholegrain stone ground flours or grain-free flours (coconut or almond) and make the most delicious desserts with the help of healthy, unrefined sugars.
4. Go sugar-free.
Avoid processed sugars at all costs and AVOID ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS ALTOGETHER (non-nutritive sweeteners, aspartame, etc). Switch up your standard sugar with 100% pure maple syrup, agave syrup or honey (but note that these alternatives are still a pure carbohydrate like sugar and should be eaten in moderation).
5. Build your plate like a food genius.
You can enjoy all of the foods that you want to but remember to build your plate cleverly. Start with fresh salad and vegetables – fill ½ to ¾ of your plate. Second, add your healthy protein & healthy fat portions – fill ¼ of your plate with these (healthy fats are fats such as cold-pressed oils, avocado, fatty fish, etc.). Lastly, enjoy other luxuries such as bread and potatoes or any other unhealthy options offered on the table by only filling ¼ or less of your plate.
6. Choose your big meal of the day.
Pick a meal every day (eg: a dinner party or holiday party that you will attend) that will be your big meal for that day and eat smaller meals at your other meal times.
7. Eat healthy at home.
The more that you eat a certain food, the more you will crave it. So, when you eat healthy at home, you will naturally crave healthy food when you are out. And if you eat healthy food at home, you will be getting all the nutrients that your body needs, so that when you do go out you can treat yourself a little!
8. Exercise just a little.
Do just 20 minutes of HIIT (high intensity interval training) 3 times a week. Spend another 30 minutes twice a week doing strength training. There is no need to spend your entire holiday at the gym, just stay fit and active and you won’t get fat & feel unhealthy. Want to learn more about HIIT? Read this short post about how to do a quick and easy high intensity workout.
9. Lose weight while shopping.
Shopping malls are crazy during the holiday season but should not be avoided. If you want to burn more calories in your day then you should avoid ordering gifts online and instead spend hours walking through crowded malls while personally picking out your gifts. CAUTION WHILE SHOPPING: avoid all processed snacks from vendors and unhealthy meals-on-the-go in the food court. Be smart and get snack savvy by packing healthy snacks before you leave home. Great snacks include an apple or a piece of fresh fruit, a handful of raw nuts or chopped, fresh vegetables with hummus.
10. Spread your healthy holiday cheer!
Take a healthy & unprocessed dessert or snack platter to a Christmas party or holiday event. Offer these delicious and healthy food options to your friends and family, they will probably love to sample a few of these delights.
11. Chew like you mean it.
Chew every mouthful properly. Why? By chewing your food properly, you are making it easier for your body to absorb all of the available nutrients in the food and digest the food properly. Science proves that when you chew longer and eat slower, you will not eat as much and therefore consume fewer calories. When you chew properly, you can also enjoy your food properly.
12. Live guilt free.
Avoid classifying every mouthful of food that you consume as “good” or “bad” and enjoy everything that you eat in moderation without feeling guilty. When you learn to listen to your body and eat what it needs, you will be able to say no to the things that you don’t need and then when you really do want to eat a lovely dessert, it will truly be a treat.
13. Enjoy everything in moderation.
Enjoy staying fit, enjoy relaxing, enjoy healthy food, enjoy vegetables, enjoy healthy desserts & unprocessed treats and enjoy the occasional bite of junk food if you really do love it (or try my yummy and healthy treat recipes instead).
14. Drink your way to better health.
Drink lots of water (8 glasses a day) and lower your intake of alcoholic beverages, soda’s and juices. Did you know that alcohol is pure carbohydrate (sugar) and sends your body on a massive sugar high, before causing it to crash? Alcohol also dehydrates your body, so if you do drink alcohol you should drink even more water to help rehydrate your body again. When you lower your daily intake of alcohol, you will lose weight, feel healthy and start to glow!
15. Avoid fat-free cardboard food.
Who said fat-free was healthy? Enjoy healthy fats in your meal. Healthy fats help your body to process carbohydrates and sugars. Healthy fats keep you fuller for longer. Healthy fats help to keep your organs, brain and heart healthy and happy. For more details on how to get skinny by consuming healthy fats, you can check out this post.
Enjoy the festive season! Enjoy each moment, make memories, love the people around you, build relationships, make healthy choices, enjoy living a healthy lifestyle, be grateful and be jolly!
Liezl Jayne xo
Photo by Liezl Jayne for liezljayne.com