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Tips to enjoy the holidays without gaining weight

Travelling, fitting everything in and the stress of this time of the year – which should be a time to enjoy not filled with stress – usually ends up in over indulgence and a "treat day" that turns into a treat week. Here are a few tips to keep you on track.

  1. Avoid diet plans: don’t tell yourself you will go on a diet after the holidays. This all or nothing thinking often leads to overeating and then not eating enough and then overeating.

  2. Don’t skip meals and deprive yourself: people often do this to save calories, but this often backfires and usually means overeating. By the time food is served you’re so hungry and instead of depriving yourself you end up eating way too much. Focus on the 80/20 rule. Eat small meals throughout the day, which enables you to eat proper portions, instead of a phenomenal amount of food in one meal.

  3. Eat a small snack before going to a party: a good snack includes fibre and protein, like veggies and hummus dip; an apple and peanut butter; or greek yoghurt and fruit

  4. Bring a healthy dish with you: that means you have something healthy you can eat. It doesn't mean you have to turn up with a salad, but take something that you can turn to if the food is very rich or will make you feel guilty or concerned. Take a fail safe dish that you and others will enjoy, but will help you stay true to your goals.

  5. Make it count! There will often be a huge amount of delicious items available – take a small portion of the one you love the most and leave/avoid the others. Make your treats count and again, don’t overdo it.

  6. Plate it: when you go for second helpings it becomes difficult to know how much you’re eating. Have one plate so you have a better idea of what you’re eating. Fill your plate with mostly veggies or salad and then add some of the other items you really enjoy. If you do want seconds, stick to veggies most; Veggies help you feel full and satisfied.

  7. Step away from the buffet: position yourself in a part of the room where you can focus on conversation instead of constantly nibbling. Or if you do need to nibble, find the veggies with a healthy nut or bean dip.

  8. Sleep more: as you don’t need to set an alarm to wake-up super early, and you’re likely to go to bed a bit later, make sure you focus on getting good rest and sleep. If you don’t sleep properly you will crave carbohydrates, and with all those sweets, chocolates and desserts around you are less likely to control your desire to reach for sugar – so get GOOD sleep.

  9. Drink lots of water: this will help you slow down your eating, and reduce the number of empty calories from alcohol, juices and other high calorie drinks. Drink at least a glass of water 5-20 minutes before your meal, to help you feel more satisfied before eating. Make sure you keep hitting your daily water intake target.

  10. Check-in with your support team: stay motivated and on track. Partner up and stick to your goals.

  11. Get active! This will help you burn extra calories and keep you feeling happy and energised, for at least 20-30 minutes a day. Don’t abandon your workouts, include the family, take a long walk and increase your heart rate through fun activities with your family and friends. Meet in a park for a walk instead of the pub.

  12. Have fun! Take the focus off food and plan a fun activity for family and friends. Enjoy yourself, have an amazing holiday season and immerse yourself in this special time with family and friends.

  13. Visualise your goal: make sure you don’t undo all the hard work you have done throughout the year. Stay on track.

  14. Change the way you cook: look to use recipes that are healthier. Use alternative options, so if you would usually use full fat cream, look to reducing the super high calorie way of cooking with a reduced, but equally as healthy and tasty option.

  15. Avoid guilt: try to make sure you keep going. This isn’t a time to be ashamed that you’re enjoyed yourself, but do avoid repetitive behaviour of bad eating. So if you over indulge on the 25th and 26th, don’t extend that to the 31st. A couple of days is OK, but extending it means that it will be so much harder, mentally and physically, to shed the pounds you piled on, which are unnecessary

Remember the basics: water, healthy food, sleep, movement, relaxation and friends