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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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!
I love Instagram but it can be a challenging place. It’s hard to filter all the people that flood the grid with thinly veiled sales pitches and mis-truths. The best instagrams to follow for diet is a collection of just that, those instagram accounts I really trust to give me information and help me find that sweet spot for fat loss.
The Fitness Chef (@thefitnesschef_)
The Fitness Chef is a great account to follow, he’s an online Personal Trainer and his account is full of hard and fast nutrition tips with full calorie counts of items like all the burgers on the menu at Burger King and some great calorie comparisons. He subscribes to flexible dieting whilst staying in a calorie deficit for fat loss which is such an achievable method.
Comparisons like the below are a great reminder to be mindful of the things we’re eating.
He also does great lists of popular fast food items with calorie counts, he’s based in the UK so it’s always best to check calorie counts for your country on an app like myfitnesspal or on the website of the venue you plan on eating at.
Equalution are ‘body transformation experts’ – they meal plan for their clients based on flexible dieting and the 80/20 rule. Equalution post great calorie comparisons on their instagram account. I actually used their services for a while during the start of my weight loss / fat loss journey. Their instagram is great and they’re consistently showcasing great flexible dieting ideas and calorie comparisons.
Carter Good is an online fat loss coach and his instagram showcases motivating and informative posts about fat loss and diet. Sometimes they’re the little snippets in my feed that change my mindset just when I need it.
Katie Lola’s is all about balanced nutrition and encouraging others to healthy meal prep. Her meal preps are fantastic (yes, she shares the recipes!) and she showcases meal prep from her followers every week.