9 fail-safe ways to stay on your eating plan over the holidays

9 failsafe ways to stay on your eating plan over the holidays header

The holiday season can be particularly challenging for those of us who have specific goals and are eating to a plan in order to reach them. There’s endless temptation from festive food and beverages. People gravitate to celebrations and often find food that they associate with nostalgic feelings of Christmas moments gone by. There’s also the marketing machine that churns out an array of new treats every year. The struggle is truly real this time of year.

Although there is endless temptation and ways to come off the rails of your eating plan or diet over the holidays there are things you can do to minimise any of the festive fun derailing your plan and stay on track to achieve your goals.

Related: The best instagrams to follow for diet

  1. Have a plan

    It’s important to have a really specific plan in the first place. You might be on a program like Slimming World or Weight Watchers, you might simply be tracking your macros or even following a Keto eating plan. Start out by having a plan of how you’re going to stick to it. I do this once a week on a Sunday – looking at the week ahead I figure out where I might have special holiday functions or lunches and what opportunities I have to stay on track.

  2. Your Meal Tracking app is your best friend

    I’m a huge fan of MyFitnessPal and whatever app you use to track your food, it’s super important to do it over this period because it’s easy for little things to sneak their way in. After all of the lunches, cocktail parties, morning teas and Carol in the office receiving a share hamper the calories add up quickly.

    I also highly recommend planning your day before you start so if you want to include that after work glass of wine or a treat here or there you have your plan for the day and you know your calories will fit. There’s nothing worse than logging it all in at the end of the day to find you ate well over what you wanted to.

  3. Read the menu before you go

    If you’re going to a restaurant or even somewhere for after work drinks, check the menu before you go. Order what works for your plan and try not to nibble at anything else unless you have room for it in your plan. If there isn’t anything on the menu that suits, you can always call the restaurant and see what options you have.

  4. Alcohol – decide what you’ll have and stick to it

    Those sneaky alcoholic calories are a huge factor in holiday season weight gain. You might smash the eggnog, have one too many whisky’s with grandpa or have every glass of champagne handed to you at the Christmas party. Unfortunately these are fun but empty calories. The best course of action here is to decide how much alcohol you’ll have at any function, log it in your meal tracking app before you go and stick to it. That way if you want to have a few extra wines you can eat a few less calories throughout the day to accommodate.

  5. Remember what your goals are

    Remembering your goals every day is a great way to mentally prepare yourself to stick to the plan. This might mean that over the holidays you need a little extra encouragement. Adding some inspo pictures to your phone background or around your desk will help with this. You’ve been working so hard towards them so a progress pic reminder is also a great tool to help you with this. Do you know what it will be like once you achieve them? Visualisation is such a powerful tool – if you have a few minutes to spare visualise your goals and how you will feel once you’ve achieved them!

  6. Let everyone around you know you have a plan

    Sometimes it takes a friend to give you that extra encouragement that you need. Sometimes it’s your friends that are offering you that extra glass of champagne or piece of Christmas Cake. Letting everyone around you know what your goals are for the holiday season will help with sticking to the plan. If people know you don’t want extra alcohol they may think twice before they offer or, if you’re struggling to say no to that extra treat a friendly reminder might be all it takes to stay on plan.

  7. You can recreate holiday recipes in a healthy way

    I’ve been researching this a lot lately. I’m committed to a healthier me and that means finding alternatives to some of my favourite meals to support my dairy intolerance. I know this won’t always be possible especially for the Family Christmas meal where others will be cooking for me. However, I do a lot of baking in the lead up to Christmas, I usually make a Christmas Cake, Sugar Cookies, Gingerbread and I have a favourite Christmas dessert that contains a lot of cream.

    This year I’ve had to find alternatives in order to accommodate this. There’s plenty of alternative recipes that will come up in a quick google search. I’ve also been curating my own on my Clean Eating Over the Holidays Pinterest board, take a look for some great ideas.

  8. Have a plan for Travel

    Holiday travel can be extremely stressful on top of that sticking to your eating plan in airports and gas stations isn’t easy. The key with this one is to have a plan before you go – decide on what snacks you would like to take with you and pack them into your bag so you’re not tempted by drive through or airport burger bars. If you’re flying long haul; look at the meal options on your flight and request what suits your plan best.

    It’s not just the journey but the destination – research what you’ll be able to do to stick to your plan once you get there. Can you go to a supermarket straight away? Are there any cafes that cater to your meal plan in the area?

  9. Don’t restrict yourself too much

    Restriction leads to binging later on so the key is ensuring you don’t restrict yourself too extensively. If you want to have some of your favourite childhood treats – do it! Log them in your app and plan them in. Also, on Christmas Day or Thanksgiving or whatever celebration you have where your family comes together – plan to be unrestricted. You can reduce your calories over the days following but I distinctly remember a tweet from Kayla Itsines last Christmas that said to enjoy Christmas with your family. That’s what I intend to do and you should too!

Do you have any other great eating plan tips? Let me know in the comments!

9 failsafe ways to stay on your eating plan over the holidays

9 fail-safe ways to stay on your eating plan over the holidays pin
9 fail-safe ways to stay on your eating plan over the holidays pin

10 things to expect your first time at the gym

10 things to expect your first time at the gym heading

Going to the gym for the first time can be scary, daunting, emotional and challenging all at once. Knowing what to expect before you walk in to a gym can be the difference between deciding to go or not to go. I’ve put together a list of 10 things to expect on your first time at the gym to make it a little less challenging for that initial workout.

Related: How to join the gym that’s right for you 

  1. You will need to take a towel and a water bottle.

    Taking a towel and water bottle to the gym is an absolute must. Not only should you put your towel down on the equipment to create a barrier between you and other peoples built up sweat (gross!), you should have a towel to wipe your own sweat whilst you’re working out.

    A water bottle means that you have the opportunity to hydrate throughout your workout. Staying hydrated and consuming enough water daily is important when it comes to reaching your goals so make sure you don’t forget your water bottle. Most gyms also have fountains where you can refill your bottle throughout your time there. I’ve often found this is super convenient if you decide to do more than one class or do a class and then lift some weights for a double session.

  2. There will be a changing area with lockers.

    There will be a place for you to get changed and showered including a space for you to store your things. I suggest when you sign up and take your initial tour (before your first workout) you ask how the lockers work – I’ve been to gyms where you had to take your own lock, many gyms have number coded locks or locks that are activated by your gym membership card.

    The exception to this is small personal training studios and some of the new, smaller crossfit style gyms that have become popular in recent years. If you’re attending one of these gyms check what facilities they have before you go for the first time.

  3. There will be trainers on the floor.

    There will be trainers walking the floor who are there to help you. If they’re not with a client feel free to ask them questions. I do recommend following a workout program like the Sweat App or there are some great training videos on instagram. If you’re not keen to venture in to the gym cardio or weight area just yet, sign up for some classes – my favourites are Spin and Reformer Pilates.

  4. Expect that there will be a weights area, don’t be afraid of this.

    Even if you don’t want to give the weights a go on your very first time at the gym try and transition to this as soon as you can. Don’t get caught in the cardio bunny cycle of just doing cardio classes every time you go and reap the benefits of weight training as soon as you feel comfortable. There will be totally ripped gym-goers wandering around in here, don’t let it intimidate you.

  5. There will be a scale.

    My old friend. Every gym generally has a scale or body scan equipment and if you work with a PT or sign up for a challenge they will want to weigh you. I find the body scan a great yardstick of how I’m going at the gym and use it weekly. The thing to remember is that it’s just a number and progress isn’t exclusive to the scale.

  6. All the equipment you need will be there for you.

    Everything you need will be at the gym. There are some instances in which I suggest you DON’T use the provided equipment. Boxing Gloves and Yoga Mats are the things that I really recommend you get your own. Mostly because no one wants to put their hands into gross boxing gloves that thousands of others have used. The same philosophy stands for Yoga mats, you’re all over them, sometimes in hot and sweaty environments. I also own my own mini-bands for band workouts, mostly because I just like to have my own.

  7. You will be surrounded by people who are #fitspo

    There will be plenty of people at the gym who have been doing this much longer than you have. They might be stricter on their diet or just come to the gym way more often than you do. Don’t fall in to the comparison trap – you’re on your own journey and you need to stay true to that.

  8. There will be opportunities, and you should take them.

    The gym is a place where they want you to succeed. You’ll be surrounded by opportunities to try something different and reach your goals. Often gyms will run free challenge programs for members and there’s always new classes to try. Take as many opportunities as you can to reach your goals.

  9. There will be days you don’t want to come.

    After your very first workout chances are you’ll be super motivated and keen to go back. However, not every day is like this; there will be days when it’s cold and raining, days when you’re sore and days when you just can’t face it. That’s okay and even the most motivated of gym-goes goes through this. Take every day as it comes, be kind to yourself and listen to your body.

  10. Expect that you’ll never regret a workout, especially your first one.

    Even though you won’t always want to go, you’ll never regret a workout. Each workout is one more step towards your goals.

Well done for taking the first step and signing up to a gym, hope you have a great first visit! Let me know how it went in the comments below!

If you’re new to the weight loss and fitness game – I’ve been watching a Youtuber who has a series that is super honest about diet and exercise. I would highly recommend checking out Boo’s videos.

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10 things to expect your first time at the gym pin

10 things to expect your first time at the gym pin
10 things to expect your first time at the gym

How a juice cleanse can help you lose weight

How a juice cleanse can help you lose weight

Last weekend a friend and I did a juice cleanse. It was a challenging three days of literally only drinking juice and eating nothing. However, although it was challenging I learnt a lot about my habits and gave my body a much needed reset.

A juice cleanse isn’t for everyone and I certainly won’t be attempting another any time soon but I really needed to do something – I’ve been consistently losing weight for a number of months, and then, it just stopped. Boom, plateau.  I really wanted to reset my system and change my habits around food. Two of the girls in my office had been juicing so I thought I would try it.

Doing the juice cleanse meant that I did lose some weight but most importantly it gave my body the opportunity to reset and detox.

Related: The best instagrams to follow for diet

Choosing the cleanse

Being the researcher that I am, I took all of five minutes to read this Harper’s Bazaar Australia article on the best three juice cleanses – I considered for a moment but my friends and colleagues had been doing the Orchard St Cleanse and so I thought I would start with that one.

If you’re looking at doing a juice cleanse you don’t have to fork out cash for pre-made juices; if you have a Ninja or similar blender in your kitchen you can actually make your own. There’s a number of resources online that will give you recipes to do this. The pre-made juices were quite costly and came in at about $80 Australian Dollars a day, per person. You can save some serious change if you were to make these at home. Although, the Orchard St ones had some pretty incredible herbs in them so it may be a slightly different experience.

Following a personal training session at the gym on Saturday morning I visited Orchard St’s Bondi cafe – there was an array of yummy vegan food on offer but I was there for one thing only – to pick up my three boxes of juice. I loved the style of the cafe and the apothecary theme, it made me feel like I was being super healthy.

Orchard st bondi cafe

The Orchard St cleanse is made up of 6 Juices per day plus a lemon water that you should have in the morning before anything else in order to cleanse your liver. We chose our own juices based on what the girls in the office said were the best ones but Orchard St also have set programs of recommended juices.

My favourite every day was by far the morning Smoothie, the Mylk to finish the day and the detox tea (which had a bunch of Chia seeds in it so it felt like you had eaten something). We mixed it up a bit and had different juices every day but had the same Mylk and detox tea daily.

Juice cleanse juices
Daily juice line up.

Day 1: Wasn’t actually that bad

My juice cleanse experience on Day 1 wasn’t too bad considering I had been dreading it for the days leading up to the cleanse.  I had been to the gym in the morning but didn’t eat and waited until we picked our juices up to have any juice. I actually think this was my saving grace on Day 1 because I could have the juices so close together and there wasn’t any long periods without having some juice.

The Orchard St packaging says ‘sip mindfully’ so I was attempting to do this all day, drinking slowly so I didn’t constantly feel hungry.

Orchard st bottles

Day 2: The day I would have eaten anything

Day 2 is where it really fell off the rails for me. I was crazy hungry in the morning, I still went to the gym and lifted some weights but I feel like this was a big mistake. On the afternoon of Day 2 I was feeling quite sick, I had a headache and I would have eaten anything just to feel like I was eating something.

I googled the development of feeling unwell and as it turned out, this is quite normal for some people on day 2. Great – not sure why I didn’t google this sooner.

Day 3: Let’s just get through this

Day 3 was actually the best day. It was Monday so I was working and I had diligently taken 4 of my juices to work. At this point, I was well over the juice cleanse situation but I was keen to just power through it. The worst part was actually in the evening, after I had finished my last juice which was a delicious Mylk called Peace Mylk, by then I just wanted to eat but I couldn’t until Breakfast the following day.

How does this help me?

I’m not saying you should drop everything and do a Juice cleanse this weekend. You need to take in to account what your goals are and your personal situation. The juice cleanse makes you lose water weight – most of it returns as soon as you start to eat food again. However, if you’re looking for a bit of a reset, this is potentially something you might wish to explore.

I would also recommend you watch this youtube video from Cassey Ho from Blogilates – she’s recently also done a 3 day juice cleanse and talks through her results.

Overall, I think the cleanse has benefits for weight loss but these are more long term and it comes from using the cleanse to reset your body and kick start some additional weight loss. Since the juice cleanse I’ve also incorporated some more cardio into my workouts and have decided to change my diet to make it even cleaner. It really was the boost that I needed.

Have you done a juice cleanse recently? Did you do one for more than three days?

Tell me about it in the comments below!

How a juice cleanse can help you lose weight