It seems that time of the year has crept up on us again like it always does, and if you’re anything like me you’re a little horrified at how quickly another year has disappeared in the dust! As always, I’d like to provide a few little proactive ideas to help keep you marginally on the bandwagon through the festive season (even if just dangling off the side and clinging on for dear life!)
Start early: Eat rigorously clean a week or two before your holiday. The extra weight loss will help your return weight dramatically! Eliminate caffeine, wheat, dairy, meat, salt, processed/refined foods and sugar and increase your water intake by 500mls a day.
Take your vitamins:They’re especially important now that you’re likely to leave nutritional priorities on the back burner. A complete multivitamin supplies you with a healthy dose of your daily food needs, even while you’re eyeing out that Christmas pud.
Plate it up:Even if it’s only a snack, dish up your helping every time you eat. This will help you tally up all you eat in a day, and will prevent you from overeating as you would if a large packet of crisps lay open next to you.
Dress to eat less: Wearing something form-fitting is one of the easiest ways to make sure you don’t overindulge. Opt for clothes that are tight around the midsection and you’ll be more inclined to skip seconds.
Don’t go hungry:If you’re on your way to a festive function, snack healthily beforehand. Arriving hungry to an indulgent dinner often means over-dishing and over-eating. Curbing a ravenous appetite beforehand with a piece of fruit or some raw nuts means a more rational approach to the dinner table.
Stock up on protein:Even if it hasn’t been prepared in the healthiest way, upping your usual ratio of protein to carbs means fewer calories and cravings overall. Meat proteins in particular take the body longer to digest, meaning you’ll eat less and be fuller for longer.
Over-compensate with exercise before your holiday:Increase your training a week before you leave so that you are working out every day for an hour at a high intensity. This increase will balance out a few weeks of reduced activity.
Drink your veggies:Maintaining your figure in the holidays is also about preserving your health. Juice your fruit and veggies first thing in the morning to take in some important nutrients. Whatever else happens during the course of the day, you will have still taken in your 5 a day without the added calories of eating them in their solid form.
Pack your running/training gear:If you have it with you, there is no excuse! You will get the opportunity to exercise at some point during your holiday, and not being prepared is a poor excuse for not embracing it.
When booking your hotel, try book one with a small gym facility:It might seem fanatical at the time, but trust me – after 4 days of inactivity and some overindulgence, your body will be crying to move!
Pack a skipping rope:This exercise can be done anywhere. It is highly effective as it uses every muscle in the body, therefore burning a ton of calories. Just 5-10 minutes once or twice a day will go a long way towards burning off indulgent holiday foods.
Get fit with family time:Now that you have the time, get active with your kids and involve quality time with fun activities. Running is my favourite way to explore a new destination, and if you’re homebound, set up a sports net in the garden or take bats and a ball to the beach.
Train for 20 minutes:use your hotel room as your personal gym if you’re desperate to squeeze in some exercise. This workout will keep your muscles activated throughout your holiday so when you return you don’t feel like you are starting from scratch!
- Push ups (3 sets of 8-12)
- Dips off your bed (3 sets of 8-12)
- Travelling lunges (3 sets of 16-20)
- Squats (3 sets of 10-15)
- Plank (3 sets of 15-30 seconds)
Meet and move:Swap a sit-down lunch with a smoothie and walk in the park or hire a bike and take a ride along the beach instead. Time with friends doesn’t have to be sedentary! Nearby sports clubs are also a great way to enjoy social rounds of tennis or squash, and make ideal meeting spots for friends.
Get wet:Water-sports like surfing, body boarding and skiing make for a challenging workout, so take the plunge! Simpler activities like swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving are also great calories burners. Even simpler? Wading through sea water at thigh height.