Hello from South Africa – How I Keep Healthy During the Silly Season

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The silly season is here, yippee!! And healthy living is not going to stop you from having the most sensational Christmas break. It’s certainly not stopping me.

Because healthy living is all about enjoying everything in moderation… deprivation is not allowed in my books!  With that said, we still need to remember our bodies are our temple and we must treat them with the upmost respect.

 

Here is how I incorporate health into the holiday season:

 

Enjoy your favourite holiday treats in moderation

Don’t deprive yourself because this is mostly likely going to end in bad news, a food binge or a very frustrated and angry version of yourself. This is not going to encourage a good relationship between you and your beautiful body. We have to learn to eat our favorite ‘naughty foods’ without the need to go overboard. And without the guilty thoughts! I usually pick ONE or TWO of my favorite healthy indulgences every week in the summer break such as an ice-cream, a pasta or a piece of carrot cake and tea. I sit with it. I eat it slowly and I only think good thoughts, like “ This is so good for my body. My body knows how to break it down”. Our bodies can handle this.

I also believe some of the healthy treats are so much yummier than the traditional unhealthy versions. So go to your favorite healthy food blogs and make a healthy dessert such as a batch of raw brownies – your family and friends will be so inspired by you.

 

Continue to eat how you would normally eat

Just because this is the silly time of the year does not mean your everyday eating habits must now fly out the window. Continue with your healthy meals and snacks that you usually eat. And when it comes to a dinner party or a Christmas event, just make the healthiest choice available to you. Keeping the rest of your meals healthy will do your body lots of good. Our bodies listen to what we do most of the time, not sometimes.

I still start my day with lemon water, an exercise regime and a healthy breakfast.

Eating out or at events – most places nowadays usually have salad options and lean protein options. I load my plate with as many vegetables and salad as I can and accompany it with some lean chicken or meat. I ask for salad dressings on the side and use olive oil and lemon to drizzle onto my salad/veg.

Here are my top tips when eating out.

 

Eat a healthy and satiating snack before you head out

This is so important. If you arrive at your party absolutely starving we all know what is likely to happen. We grab a hold of anything in sight and sadly healthy choices fly out the window at this point. If you arrive at your party with nice stable blood sugars…you are likely to make healthy food choices. So I usually eat a protein rich snack before any silly season parties- such as boiled eggs, cottage cheese with cut up veggies, Greek yoghurt with nuts and seeds, a handful of raw nuts, small salad with lean protein or a protein shake.

 

Offer to bring a healthy dish

If you’re going to a holiday party or dinner, offer to bring a healthy dish, such as a salad or a roasted veg dish so at least you know that there will be a healthy option for you to enjoy. This can provide us with piece of mind too.

 

It’s ok to say no

Be confident about your dedication to healthy living. I often find people get frustrated at me because of my willpower to say no to junk foods. But I don’t feel deprived, I eat all of my favorite foods when I want to. But that specific party may not be the time I want to let go. So I don’t, and I very politely say, “no thanks”. It’s ok to do this.

 

Don’t let this time of year be all about food

Enjoy your environment, your company, your friends and family. Use this as time to catch up with your loved ones and to give your mind a break from thinking. Thinking about food all the time adds so much silent stress to the body. Be confident your will make your healthiest choices possible and leave it at that. You are doing a good enough job!

 

Let go of the all or nothing approach- don’t let one splurge spiral you out of control

So many of us think so black and white when it comes to our eating. If we eat well, we eat REALLY well… The minute we let go – it’s over. We think we are failures, we torture ourselves with guilty thoughts and we think ‘what the heck’, I may as well just continue eating badly. No No. See this is where we have all gone wrong. Our bodies can handle one or two indulgent meals but it cannot handle 10 or 20. This is when the body starts to get angry. And yes you will most likely gain weight from this kind of situation. Remember to not deprive yourself. Choose your favorite treat and enjoy it. And if you do go overboard, let it go. Put it behind you. And make healthy decisions for next time. Learn from the situation, and your body will love you for it.

 

Keep moving

Don’t give up on your exercise routine. But don’t use exercise as a way to banish your diet sins. Move because its give your energy, lifts your body and keeps you healthy.

 

Drink up

Keep up your 2l/day of water .

Alcohol, in moderation. My biggest advice, is to avoid the binge drinking. Choose your favorite wine or cocktail and enjoy it. Stop when you know you must. You know when it’s enough.

Drinking a glass of water between every alcoholic beverage you have is also a good idea. It keeps you hydrated and you’ll probably drink less alcohol.

 

Take care of YOU

During the holidays we tend to actually stress out more than any other time of the year…we try to please everyone else. Crazy! Take some time each day to focus on your own self.  I make sure to set aside Jess time during the holiday season. I choose to get a massage, take a walk, relax in a bubble bath, nap, practice yoga, meditate, dance, read or do something different. Something I have never done before.

 

Other helpful tips:

  • Eat until you are 80% full- the stomach is the size of our fist, think of that when you are eating
  • Slow down with food-  remember it takes 20 minutes for our brains to register when we are full. Why do we rush the pleasurable experience of eating!
  • Practice mindful eating- bring awareness to the taste, texture and smell of your food. Enjoy each mouthful. This makes eating experiences much more satisfying. This minimises the need to overeat.
  • Plan your treats- as mentioned above it is important to choose a favorite treat and enjoy it with moderation in mind. Planning ahead helps me to control my indulgent experience without overeating.
  • Don’t give up- if you splurge this holiday, don’t give up on your health. your body deserves more than that. It is here supporting you.

 

Happy holidays everyone!

JS xx

 

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