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

The best instagrams to follow for workouts

the best instagrams to follow for workouts

Instagram can be a great resource for quick workout videos. The nature of posting videos of workouts to Instagram means that the posts need to quickly take you through the exercises and they’re perfect for when you’re in the gym. These are, in my opinion the best instagrams to follow for workouts.

Related: The best Instagrams to follow for diet

I know instagram isn’t the first place you might think of when looking for great exercise and workout programs. The videos posted can often be from high end personal trainers, just by following their account you get a snippet of what their celebrity clients pay so much for. Instagram is also a great place to find workouts aimed at women, I find this can sometimes be tricky if you’re just googling.

Ashleigh Jordan (@ashleigh_jordan)

Ashleigh Jordan uploads great targeted fitness videos to instagram all the time. She puts the targeted muscle groups on the first slide of the carousel and I’ve referred to her workouts many times in the gym but also when I’ve been on vacation and needed some inspo while in the gym. The videos show you exactly how to do the exercise and on what equipment at the gym.

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LEG DAY STAPLES 🍑💪🏼 . TAG a friend! . On my heavier leg/glute days, there are certain exercises I ALWAYS do because for me personally, I feel as though they work those muscles beautifully 👌🏼 . I wanted to share some of my leg day staples with you guys for you to try! 💁🏼‍♀️ . 1️⃣Split Squats 2️⃣Superset: Hip Thrusts/ Single Leg Glute Bridge 3️⃣Superset: Deadlifts/Glute Lifts 4️⃣Weighted Step Ups . @brettstir 🎥💕 Outfit: @justpeachi *RESTOCK COMING THIS MONTH* details to come 😊 _____________________________________ #fitfam #fitness #fitnessmotivation #fitnessjourney #workout #workouts #workoutroutine #workoutmotivation #workoutvideo #legday #legdayworkout #glutes #glutesworkout #squats #squatbooty #healthylifestyle #happiness #positivevibes #saturday #weekendvibes #diettips #fittips #citylife #pittsburgh

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Kelsey Wells (@kelseywells)

Kelsey Wells is a SWEAT trainer of Kayla Itsines fame. She created the PWR program on the SWEAT app and also a post-pregnancy program. Her instagram is always full of great workout snippets which are helpful even if you’re not a subscriber to the app.

 

Cassey Ho (@blogilates)

Cassey Ho is the founder of Blogilates, I actually referenced her videos in my 2018 Guide To Working Out with Youtube post. She posts great workouts that you don’t need a gym for, they’re heavily pilates based which are actually super challenging even if Cassey makes it look super easy!

 

Melissa Alcantara (@fitgurlmel)

Melissa Alcantara is famously the trainer responsible for Kim Kardashian’s 2018 body transformation. Under the Instagram name @fitgurlmel the body builder shows her daily workouts. It’s workout inspiration at it’s finest.

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Success consists of failing over and over again without losing enthusiasm. ~ Winston Churchill : : First time doing snatches 🏋🏽‍♀️ A few things my fitness journey has shown me…1️⃣you are no better than anyone else only different 2️⃣you will be a beginner over and over again if you want to keep learning 3️⃣ you are only as strong as you tell yourself you are 4️⃣ you will feel and look stupid af but you will get it and then who’s the stupid one? 🤔 Outfit: @gymsharkwomen @gymsharktrain @gymshark @deuce_gym with @jjarel : : #mondaymotivation #motivation #fitfam #fitmom #fitspo #fitness #fitgirl #fit #fitnessaddict #love #beautiful #learning #weightloss #gymtime #crossfit #fitnessjourney #success #goals #bodygoals #fitspiration #fail #training #inspire #inspiration

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 Kayla Itsines (@kayla_itsines)

I couldn’t do a best of post without the queen herself! The creator of the Bikini Body Guide and subsequently the SWEAT app Kayla’s instagram is constantly updated with workouts. Not only does she post workouts but there’s plenty of transformation inspo and mindset advice.

I love how instagram can dish up my daily dose of fitspo and just by following a few accounts I can shake up my work out. Do you use instagram for workouts already? What are some of your favourite workout accounts? Let me know in the comments below!

The best instagrams to follow for workouts

The best instagrams to follow for workouts

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