HOW TO HAVE YOUR HEALTHIEST HOLIDAY EVER!



The holiday season doesn’t have to mean weight gain. With our five-point plan for mindful eating and exercise, your downtime means a healthier, happier you.


The holidays come with many benefits – more time to spend with friends and family, a chance to travel and a good dose of indulgence. But this period of living life at a slower pace needn’t mean that festive eating catches up with you come the new year. In fact, the holidays are the perfect time to get super healthy. And it all starts with shifting your focus from weight loss to simply feeling better – yes, that buzz you get after exercising is exhilarating! This strategy is a great starting point to a more mindful approach to calorie intake when possibly all you want to do is, well… nothing at all. We asked two of SA’s top health experts for their best tips on conquering holiday calories – and good news, there’s no calorie counting necessary!

1. RETHINK YOUR GOALS
As Pilates instructor and fitness studio owner Justine Seymour explains, we’re all faced with a spike in social gatherings at the end of the year. The trick is not to get bogged down with thoughts of strict eating. ‘Focus less on goals like weight loss and more on how you feel after exercising,’ says Seymour. ‘Use your Sundays for things that take longer (that you can’t fit into a working day) but that also help you unwind and refresh you for the week ahead.’ So, instead of a slothful day on the couch in front of the TV, go for a hike with friends. ‘I like the concept of having a “strongend” instead of a weekend because it makes me feel I have a jumpstart on the week ahead,’ she smiles.

2. DON’T DRINK YOUR CALORIES
‘Alcohol and food seem to go hand in hand with holidays – not the best for our health,’ says Seymour. Her advice is to find healthier ways to unwind, making self-care a priority. ‘This way we can feel a whole lot better when the time comes to go back to work,’ she says. Jessica Pieterse, a registered dietitian and consultant for DNAlysis laboratories, says an easy switch is simply avoiding alcohol or cold drinks with most meals, and drinking water instead.


3. CHOOSE YOUR TREATS
‘Think about your social calendar ahead of the time,’ advises Pieterse, and select the occasions when you would like to be more relaxed about your eating. ‘Only change your eating habits at those occasions,' she says, adding that by doing this, you're cutting back on indulgent eating at every meal and avoiding a whole holiday of excess. This strategy can be reinforced with a more sensible approach to eating out.
‘At restaurants, try to make your meal lighter,’ she says. She also recommends eating a meal like a burger with coleslaw and a sparkling water, instead of ordering chips, onion rings and a fizzy drink.

4. EMBRACE VEGGIES
“Don’t shun the green stuff just because it’s holiday time – after all, a healthy diet should be about approaching eating with moderation in mind,” says Pieterse. She suggests you aim for half a plate’s worth of vegetables at lunch and dinner. ‘This helps you manage portions and overall kilojoule intake,’ she says.


5. FIND HAPPY EXERCISE
‘For exercise to become a regular habit, I think it’s important to do something that you enjoy,’ says Seymour. Her solution is to make good use of your extra time by trying out different things during the holidays. While high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be fast and efficient, a long hike or beach walk will fulfil other needs, such as time out to think about goals for the year ahead or quality time with your loved ones. And trying out different types of exercise will hopefully lead you to find something that’s fun and that you want to stick with into 2019 and beyond. Happy, healthy holidays!
By Helen Clemson

HOW TO HAVE YOUR HEALTHIEST HOLIDAY EVER! HOW TO HAVE YOUR HEALTHIEST HOLIDAY EVER! Reviewed by Jet Club on December 11, 2018 Rating: 5

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