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

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

How to transition back into real life after travel

how to transition back into real life after travel

 

The transition back in to real life after travel can be extremely challenging, often this period of time immediately following travel can be filled with emotional ups and downs, not to mention the inevitable jet lag that you’ll be fighting for the first few days.

If you’ve been traveling for an extended period of time that might mean emotional highs of seeing your friends and family when you return, doing the things you love in your hometown and eating the food that you just can’t get anywhere else. Unfortunately this can be followed by the emotional lows of everyday life once the bills start to roll in and you’re job hunting or back to work again.

If you’ve gone on a vacation or holiday the reality of being back to the daily grind can be just as challenging. Once the suitcases are unpacked and you’ve eaten the last of that special chocolate you picked up in the South of France you can actually feel quite down, a huge contrast to the massive high of going on vacation in the first place.

Keep yourself busy

In the days and weeks following a return from travel it’s important to keep busy. If you’re not returning to work straight away ensure you’re spending your time actively doing tasks to keep your mind active. You’ve just come from a period of extreme activity by visiting new places and having new experiences so keeping your mind active is an extension of that.

This could be as simple as creating a photo book or video of your travel memories, leaving the house and going to the movies or simply catching up with some friends over drinks. Whatever you choose to do keeping your mind active will ensure you’re not thinking about the reality of the everyday and give you something to look forward to doing if you’ve returned to work straight away.

Make plans to try something new

Making plans to try something new after travel really gives you something to focus on straight away. Planning to start a new hobby or sport is a great way of staying focused on exciting things that you can be doing in your normal, non-traveling life and gives you something to keep your mind off the fact that you’re not currently sunning yourself on a beach somewhere beautiful.

Soaking up all of the new cultures and experiences while you travel has likely sparked your interest and given you some inspiration in this area so now is the time to put your plans in place so you can action them!

Book something else

This is one of my most highly recommended transition actions. Book something else. Decide where you’re going next and book it.

There’s nothing better and more motivating than having something else to look forward to. The best part is you don’t actually have to part with your cash in order to do this straight away – you could simply make a decision as to where and when you’ll be going and start researching that destination or book a hotel with book now/pay later just ensure you can cancel it in case you change your mind.

In addition to this, it doesn’t have to be on the scale of the travel or vacation you’ve just returned from. It could be as simple as a weekend away from the city in the next few weeks or a short road trip to somewhere new.

Doing this in the first few weeks of returning to real life really gives you something to look forward to, a new countdown and something to plan for.

Consider your diet

It might be a little strange to bring up diet as a transition point however I actually think this is really important. It’s likely that if you went on vacation you may have tried to lose some weight before leaving and reduced your calorie intake, followed by eating whatever you wanted whilst you were away from home because, you’re on vacation! Calories don’t count on vacation!. The swings in terms of what you’ve been eating and drinking can be extreme and it’s easy to fall in to a position of not really caring once you leave your vacation.

It’s important to establish positive habits again once you return home, so if you had a diet and exercise regimen start doing this again straight away in order to lose those inevitable vacation pounds and keep yourself motivated. The longer you leave this it’s likely you’ll regret not doing it sooner.

If you’ve been traveling for an extended period of time and traveling is more like every day life it’s likely you ate more mindfully so it’s important when you return home to not spend too long a period of time eating all of your favourite comfort foods and ensure you’re following a normal eating pattern as part of settling back in to life. Comfort food, in moderation is highly recommended! 

Related: The 2018 Guide to working out with youtube

Prepare before you go

Before you go away on vacation or traveling for a long period of time it can be extremely useful if you prepare for your arrival home before you even leave. For a vacation this includes tidying your home before you leave so you come back to a nice clean space and ensuring your laundry is done so you’ve got clothes for work especially if you’re returning to work quickly. Arranging for a supermarket order in advance is also useful so you don’t have that task to do when you’re tired from your journey.

If you’re traveling for an extended period of time this can be a little more difficult because you probably don’t know when you’ll be returning home. However this can be as simple as arranging a place to stay and a person to give you lift from the airport on your first day back that way you’re not arranging too much from another country and you can simply call them with the details.

Traveling is such a huge part of life that it can often be difficult when returning home. Do you have any top tips for a transition home? Add them to the comments!

How to transition back into real life after travel image