With the Christmas holidays just a few short weeks away, along with the many eating occasions that accompany it, it may surprise you to hear me say that holidays do not necessarily have to result in weight gain, in fact, the way I see it, they are offer a great opportunity for weight loss. Not convinced? Then you need to read on.
In my experience, one of the biggest barriers to keeping on track diet wise, as well as exercising as much as we need to in order to lose weight, or just to prevent weight gain is a lack of time. A lack of time to get to the gym, a lack of time to prepare lunch in advance, a lack of time to shop as much as you need to in order to have all the foods on hand that you need to keep your calorie intake controlled on a daily basis. And fair enough, most of us are scheduled to the max each and every day and unfortunately at times, our diet and exercise does have to come second, or third or fifty seventh on the daily ‘to do’ list.
Fast track to holiday time, whether it is school holidays, Christmas holidays or your annual OS trip and things change. All of a sudden we do not have such a tight schedule, we are not bound by punishing traffic on a daily basis and we are in complete control of the way we spend our time. In turn this means that if we so choose we can start to prioritise exercise and movement. We can decide whether or not to go to the gym, or whether we will walk to the shop instead of drive. The same can be said for our food choices. We now have a little extra time to prepare the nutritious foods we need to eat well. We have the extra time to seek out better options and even if we do find ourselves overindulging a little at a party or special occasion, we also have the choice to eat lightly the next day to compensate.
Unfortunately, this is rarely the way holidays and time off is perceived. Instead, for many of us, holidays are viewed as an excuse – an excuse to eat high fat, high calorie food, and far too much of it, an excuse to skip training and regular exercise sessions and an excuse to dump all the good habits you have spent all year trying to maintain. If we holidayed for just a couple of weeks each year this would not be so much of an issue, but many of us holiday numerous times throughout the year, take school holidays off as well as long weekends which tends to leave us with far too much time ‘off’ our healthy lifestyle program, and many more kg heavier as a result.
So with this holiday period almost upon us, try looking as the precious time as an opportunity. An opportunity to do more and really concentrate on the lifestyle habits you know will make you leaner, lighter and fitter come the end of January. Sure enjoy important social occasions where you will eat and drink a little too much, but balance these with light food days and plenty of exercise. And most importantly try and avoid feeding your body poor quality, high fat party foods just because they are there. A little planning will ensure that you can maintain most of your basic good eating habits without needing to eat any of this poor quality food at parties, BBQ and work functions.
When I am seeing clients before they holiday, I tell them to expect to lose weight, simply because they will be in control of both their food and their exercise. This Christmas, work towards doing the same and start 2016 in your best shape ever.