How to survive the festive season

November 29, 2012, 10:18 am Michael Hennessey OUTFIT Health and Fitness

Keep your diet and exercise plan on track with Michael Hennessy's survival guide to Christmas.

How to survive the festive season
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Avoid the trap of the silly season and stay active with these six helpful tips to surviving Christmas

This time of year everyone is busy with Christmas parties, end-of-year drinks, family catch ups and New Years Eve celebrations. Often you find yourself fully booked with lunches, dinners and catch up drinks day after day. It’s easy to get carried away, consume many more kilojoules than normal and start to put on weight.

Also, if you’re out more you could start to become run down, fatigued and get less sleep. It’s a dangerous mix.

Follow these tips to stay active and avoid the silly season weight gain.

1. Have a snack before you go out

If you’re going out for drinks have a healthy snack (or dinner) before you go so you don’t find yourself really hungry at the bar. Often we end up ordering simple bar snacks, chips, wedges, pies, pizzas etc, which are all very high in energy (kJ) and often high in saturated fat too. If you have a healthy snack such as a yoghurt or a sandwich before you go, you won’t feel the need to fill up on the bad stuff and save yourself hundreds of kilojoules.

2. Be selective about the parties you attend

Don’t drink at all the parties you’re invited to, or go to. Select the group you really want to have a few drinks with and let your hair down on that night, but drive (or at least don’t drink alcohol) for other parties. Think about going for an hour or 2 and not staying til the death with the final core group. You’ll be glad you did the next day.

3. 'No jog no grog’

Plan your social activities and then make sure you exercise in the morning or at lunch-time that day. That way you can feel good about your day’s exercise and go out and enjoy time with friends. If you haven’t been able to make time, even 20 minutes for your health that day (e.g. a run/walk, cycle, swim) then you really shouldn’t be make things worse with a night out drinking.

4. Lock in tomorrow’s exercise.

Plan a morning training session the next day after a dinner out to help keep you in check. However late you stay up or however many drinks you end up having you still have to get up and complete the session the next day. You’re in control of how you want to feel tomorrow so have a great social night but don’t overdo it. Enjoy the great training session the next day (while some of your friends are still in bed hungover or lying on the couch): it’ll give you energy and keep you feeling great.

5. Make your social catch-up active.

Go sailing on the harbour, do a bush walk or go kayaking for your end-of-year party. Combine an active pursuit with your lunch or dinner or drinks, so people can have the best of both worlds. Give people the choice to do one or both, and remember everyone is different.

It’s a really positive step to combine your physical activity and social catch up as you aren’t spending your whole party standing at the bar increasing the risk of things getting ‘dangerous’.

6. Plan around the big ones

There are some days that are going to be bigger than others and so be smart and plan for it. I’ll often do a big run or ride on 24th December because it’s very unlikely I’ll do much exercise (if any) on Christmas Day so I plan a rest day, guilt free, for the 25th and go out and have a nice hard session on the 24th.

You can do the same with New Years Eve and other big events when you know you’re short of time or energy to do your usual training session. Plan ahead and set realistic training expectations AND realistic eating and drinking expectations.

Seasons greetings everyone!

Cheers,
Michael Outfit Health

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