One month till Christmas! Yes, yes, Christmas 2020 will not be like any other Christmas but the holiday season always comes packed with plenty of opportunities to break healthy habits. Keep reading to find out how to survive the holiday season, 2020 edition.
Holiday season, version 2020
This year everything is different. Although we are lucky that there are not as many cases in Australia as in other countries, the way we live our lives has changed, at least for a period of time. Many people are not back to their work or study places full-time and large gatherings are not allowed. Private gatherings are also meant to be held at a reduced capacity and so far we’re not 100% certain that interstate travel will be permitted by Christmas.
Although these limitations certainly impact social life and mental health, let’s look at the silver lining. For many of us, most of the unhealthy festive eating and drinking in terms of quantity and quality happened at parties and work functions.
To be clear, I have nothing against eating less healthy food on special occasions. However, when these special occasions become frequent and a “cheat day” becomes a “cheat month” your health and goals may suffer.
How to survive the holiday season
The following tips can help you avoid spiralling out of control during the holiday season.
1. Cook most of your food
Homemade food tends to be healthier than processed ready meals, takeaway and restaurant food. If you don’t have time to plan and shop, you can use a meal kit such as Marley Spoon or Dinnerly. If you are not confident on your cooking abilities, you can use a healthy meal delivery service such as Activate Foods or We Feed You. Eating healthy most of the time means that whatever exceptions you make won’t have a large negative impact on your health and body composition.
2. Move as much as possible
This includes both exercise and incidental physical activity, such as walking to the shops, taking the stairs instead of the lift, etc.
3. Protein + fibre + water
This is something that I recommend to most people regardless as a baseline year-round strategy. Focusing on protein, fibre (mainly from vegetables and fruits) and water intake is beneficial for satiety, body composition and blood sugar control. This is especially important when you know you will be deviating from healthy eating habits more frequently than usual.
4. Deal with edible gifts
You don’t have to eat all the edible things that are given to you as gifts. If you feel compelled to try them, have some and then leave the rest for later or offer it to someone else.
5. Non-food centred celebrations
If you are getting together with friends or family, try to do something instead of or in addition to just eating and drinking. Any activity that interests the group works, but physical activity is preferable.