One of the hardest times to keep on track with our health goals is during the holiday season – Christmas and New Year, up to Australia Day at the end of January and even up to Easter. In the US and Canada, Thanksgiving Day in November is the start of the holiday season. Summer in the Southern Hemisphere is a time of beach, school holidays, barbecues and celebrations, while winter in the Northern Hemisphere is a time for hearty meals, staying indoors in front of the fire and eggnog!
It has to be the most challenging time of the year for people trying to keep to their health goals. This post will discuss some of the ways you can manage temptations during special events. It will also help you to prepare some strategies before the holiday season.
How to Manage Temptations at Events
If you are having a celebratory meal or gathering of any kind, inevitably the menu includes food that is high in calories and alcohol, and wouldn’t be normally in your day to day diet. Some suggestions to deal with these situations are:
- Take your own platter with healthy food to share. This is my number one way of dealing with these situations! Try using my recipes for a savoury and sweet grazing platter – or combine both for a really interesting platter
- Eat a small portion of the food on offer
- Drink water in between each alcoholic drink
- Take your own beverages
- If you don’t want to drink alcohol but feel pressured to, order a drink that looks like an alcoholic drink e.g. mocktail, lemon lime and bitters or soda water. I’m a fan of Kombucha which is really refreshing and doesn’t include many calories.
- Drink less high calorie alcoholic drinks like a wine spritzer or vodka and soda water. There are low carbohydrate beers and diet mixers as well
- Order a salad with the dressing on the side. Salads are often covered in dressing in restaurants and that is where all the calories are
- Many restaurants list how many calories or kilojoules are in their food. Some of them even publish it online so you can research the venue before you go.
- Don’t go to an event with an empty stomach
- Don’t order a 3 course meal. Just a main meal is usually ample. My husband and I share an appetiser or dessert if we really feel like another course
- Don’t stand near the buffet! Take a small plateful and walk away
- Space out your meal. Give your body time to feel full. Only eat until you start to feel the signals that you’ve had enough
- Having said that, if I know that I’m about to blow my calorie allowance for the day, I plan for it in advance and eat lightly for the rest of the day. A small breakfast and a salad for lunch counterbalances a blow-out for tea.
- Learn to be assertive and say “no thank you” when offered food. This was always a challenge to me but I’m getting better at asserting myself
- Accept that some situations are going to be out of your control. If you’re eating to plan during the rest of the week a day of overeating is not going to affect you long term.
- Enjoy that blow-out meal! You deserve it.
- Don’t neglect your exercise regime during holiday periods. You will feel so much better if you exercise on days that you’re consuming a large number of calories. Even a walk in the morning before an event will help
- Try to make celebrations around activities rather than just feasting and getting drunk. Do something active like a picnic at the beach or a bush-walk. Even active party games can take the focus off eating and drinking. Have a game of cricket after Christmas lunch!
I hope these suggestions will help you to keep on track with your health goals during the holiday season. The most important thing is to prepare beforehand. Acknowledge that sometimes eating unhealthy food can’t be avoided. In that case, enjoy the meal and get back on track the next day.
Survival guide for the Holiday Season
This is perhaps the busiest time of the year for most people. Stress starts to build as we head towards the major events of the year. This year has already been stressful for most people so the holiday season will leave us even more frazzled.
Even if you love all the celebrations, the added toll you put on your body with parties will lead to fatigue. Many people end up stressed and broke at the end of the holiday – they feel like they need a holiday to get over the holidays!
Think of all the upcoming events you and your family will have in the next few weeks and months:
- School – Exams, Graduation, Formal and then Back to School;
- Work – Completing projects, End of Year Parties. Some industries are heading into their busiest time, e.g. retail;
- Events – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year.
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Survival Guide for the Holiday Season
My Survival Guide for the Holiday Season will help you stay healthy during this busy time. You will get:
- A guide to healthy eating, self care and exercise;
- A planner to guide you to set goals for staying healthy;
- Weekly trackers – checklists to keep you on track.
Sign up now to receive this survival guide completely free. It will help you to keep on track with your health goals during the holiday season. More details at the link.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy:
- Losing weight is a marathon not a sprint
- How to make goals that stick
- How to eat a healthy diet on a budget.
If my readers have some other solutions on how to keep on track with your health goals during the holiday season, please share them in the comments. I would love to know how you deal with social events and the “silly” season.
Shared on Denyse Whelan’s Linkup Life This Week.