by Lee-Anne Wann on December 08, 2020

1. Aim to move every day!

Our busy holiday schedules can push us from our regular exercise routines. Physical activity can help relieve stress, regulate appetite, and burn up those extra calories. Take a Frisbee to the beach, set up some Jingle Bell relay Runs at the park, or try a new summer sport you have been thinking about like roller skating, kayaking or tennis.

2. Choice after choice after choice.

Give yourself choices. If you’re staying where there is no gym take an exercise band or download an exercise APP so you can get your physical activity in. If you’re invited to a holiday function, bring a contribution of healthy snacks such as coconut chips, vegetable platters, protein-based dishes so there are healthy options available. Rainy day while camping – take some activity games along like ‘twister’. If you have choice, you are in charge.

The key here is to be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. Lee-Anne

3. One plate wonder

At parties and holiday dinners we tend to eat beyond our body’s physical hunger simply because food is there, and eating is a “social thing.” To avoid recreational eating, consciously make one plate of the foods you really want. Eat it slowly – enjoying and savouring every tasty bite. That way you won’t overindulge, and you still get to enjoy your favourite foods.

4. Keep holiday stress at bay

Stress can cause all sorts of havoc on your mind and body and, can be the trigger for many of us to overeat or drink a little too much. The key here is to be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to and be open to creating new ones. For example, if you’re adult children can't come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.

5. Plan to Succeed

Decide before-hand what you will and will not do when it comes to food choices, exercise options, organising presents and other holiday errands. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That'll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients, eating on the run and skipping exercise all together.

6. Keep your healthy habits

Don't abandon healthy habits. Don't let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Have a healthy snack before holiday parties such as a protein shake or something high in protein to keep you full for longer so that you don't go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks. Continue to get plenty of sleep and physical activity.

7. Breakfast Bigger

Many people let this slide when it comes to the holidays which can cause a downhill slide of all good eating habits. In fact, I like to eat big breakfasts in the holidays as this keeps me full even when I cannot be sure if I will get my next snack on time. Try lots of protein like eggs, meat, chicken, nuts, and good fats like avocado and smoothies made with coconut milk to keep you going.

8. Work smarter not harder

Combine shopping and walking as a great way to get your errands done and keep yourself moving. Indoor malls are great places to walk – first thing in the morning is a great time to go although the more people there are, the more dodging you will have to do which means more abdominal and balancing work. If you are planning on shopping in a particular store, park near an entrance on the opposite end of the mall -- even if time is short, you will still get some exercise.

9. Give the gift of health

Purchase some great exercise equipment or guides for loved ones. Not only will you be helping them out, but you can get some exercise and great family time in by trying it out together. Try some new exercise Apps, a great book, some hand weights, some hula hoops for a great waist workout or some boxing gloves and mitts.

10. On Ya Bike

This is a fun and invigorating alternative to driving to those further away places. Just going at a steady yet relaxing speed could get you a long way! It is a great cardiovascular activity while still working your leg muscles. The satisfaction of hard work and weight lost will be a great reward.