The holidays are a fun time filled with family, friends and FOOD! As great as this time of year is, it can also be super hard on our efforts to stay healthy. Whilst I am ALL for enjoying yourself and not depriving yourself from your favourite foods and activities, if you have multiples parties and dinners to attend to, then you may end up feeling less than great come the end of it! Not to mention the fact that we are in the middle of summer in Australia and don’t want all our hard work to go to waste. I strongly believe in enjoying this time with your loved ones and giving yourself a break, so I’m not going to sit here and tell you to put that piece of cake down or start a ruthless exercise regime.
Instead, I thought I would take a realistic approach to the holidays and give you some tips you can actually use, are easy and won’t make you feel like you are depriving yourself!
This is one of my biggest tips, girls! Don’t quit just because it is Christmas, BUT do make it easier on yourself! Staying active is super important not only for your weight loss efforts but just your health in general. Exercising releases your endorphins so you get that “happy” feeling afterwards and it can help to destress and relax you.
Instead of heading to the gym or doing your regular workouts you can try to be more social. Grab your girlfriends and go for that hike you have always been meaning to. If you live in a warm climate go for a beach walk. And if you are somewhere where it is cold, take a new gym class you have never tried before.
Switch up the times of day you workout, and if nothing else try to aim for a 30 minute walk on most days. You can do this first thing in the morning so any distractions that pop up during the day won’t stop you from doing this. My new app Sweat With Kayla has an awesome LISS timer in it that can help you keep track of this - try my free 7 day trial on iOS here.
Get Enough Sleep
There are so many end of year celebrations taking place at this time of the year, so it is inevitable you are going to be having some late nights. The problem with having an inadequate amount of sleep is that it can lead to bad food choices and cancelled workout plans. When you are tired, your body produces more of the hormone ghrelin and less of the hormone leptin. Together these hormones generally result in you wanting to eat more and also feeling less satisfied after you eat., which is responsible for your appetite and feeling hungry and less of the hormone leptin which keeps you feeling satisfied. Hello unwanted binges!
The occasional late night won’t totally disrupt your health, but be conscious not to have too many over the holiday period.Take advantage of any chance you have to sleep in, take a nap or have a break.
Say Hello To Creativity in the Kitchen
Whilst I do like to indulge in some of my favourites over Christmas time (*cough, Tiramisu) I try not to eat too many foods filled with sugar and saturated fats, as they tend to leave me feeling really sick and bloated.
There are so many healthy swaps you can make for all of your favourite Christmas foods, and sometimes just omitting a few ingredients can make all the difference to the way your body feels. For example, try to make raw cacao balls instead of rum balls and my healthy banana bread recipe is a perfect substitute for store bought banana bread.
If you are in charge of bringing food to a party, try to find a healthier version of all your favourites. This way you know what is in your food and it will help you to make better food choices. I know we all love to eat it, but the bloated feeling after overindulging is definitely one of the less enjoyable aspects of the holidays!
Water is going to be your best friend this Christmas! Even when you are mildly dehydrated your body can mistake hunger for thirst. So before you head to any event make sure to drink a glass full of water. It is also super important to drink lots of water after a big day of eating, as this can help to alleviate bloating and improve digestion. I carry my water bottle around everywhere, so I have water readily available - especially because the holiday season is always SO hot in Australia!
If you are feeling sick because you have eaten too much, I recommend a glass of chamomile or peppermint tea before bed as these can help to ease your discomfort.
This may seem like a silly thing to say as generally the holidays are the busiest time of the year for many people. However, I am not talking only about things such as parties, events, shopping and cleaning. If you have some time off work or school during the holiday period, use this time to do something you haven’t had time for all year. This can be something as simple as a craft project, room organisation or catching up with all those friends you haven't had a chance to see.
If you need the time off just to relax, spend some time outside reading a book instead of grazing on junk food whilst watching TV. Find other activities such as cleaning out a wardrobe or makeup drawer that require your hands so you can’t mindlessly snack.
I hope everyone has a lovely holiday season and gets to spend as much time with family and friends as possible!
What are your favourite ways to stay healthy during this time?
Love, Kayla xx