What are your words of advice for people wanting to get back on?
A major reason, I believe, a lot of people fall off the bandwagon during the festive season is that they do not have a plan in place to tackle situations or environments where they are presented the opportunity to over indulge. When that occurs, all will power goes out the window and the negative self-fulfilling prophecy sets in.
Firstly, the best thing you can do is acknowledge the fact you have not been as disciplined with your health, as you could be. This acknowledgement then acts as a catalyst for change. Before jumping back on the wagon, make sure you have set short-term and long-term health goals. These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and have a time-frame attached to them. Once these goals are in place, you will have a much clearer picture of what it is you need to do to achieve your health goals.
What are your easy tips for safely losing the Christmas weight and eating healthily?
The most common issues with unhealthy behaviours during the silly season are: over consumption of alcohol, over consumption of food, poor food choices and a reduction in exercise. This in turn can easily lead to weight gain. These practices are usually exacerbated and a result of multiple functions and parties with work, family and friends. The smartest thing to do is have some tools in place during this time to make sure you don’t over indulge, which will make it easier for you post-Christmas/New Year.
Some general tips and tools include:
- Exercise every day – This doesn’t have to be high intensity exercise, but as long as you make a conscious effort to do some form of physical activity for at least 30-45 minutes, it will assist with energy expenditure.
- Eat smaller meals rather than long, large sit down meals.
- Be mindful about alcohol consumption, food choices and when eating.
- Don’t starve yourself – you are more at risk of overeating if you do.
- Drink plenty of water, especially when consuming alcohol.
- Don’t overeat and eat to 80% fullness – Be in tune with your hunger cues, remember that it takes approximately 20-minutes for you to feel full after you consume food. If you eat to approximately 80% fullness, you are less likely to overeat.
- Prepare your meals and snacks in advance – This will make sure you have the right portion sizes for when you consume your meals/snacks, rather than being caught up in the moment and being at risk of overeating.
- After the Christmas period, get back into a healthy routine – set your times for exercise, plan your meals and get back into a good sleep routine.
How can we encourage ourselves to stay motivated in 2017?
- Start the year by setting health goals – this way you can always amend them, monitor them and track them. Measurable goals are the best to see your progress and motivate you to keep going.
- Don’t just focus on aesthetic changes. Track other drivers of health such as sleep, energy levels, stress levels, alcohol consumption. Seeing improvements in these areas also help with motivation.
- Surround yourself with a positive network of friends and colleagues – A positive environment will help lift you and strive to be the best version of yourself.
- Make sure you have a support network – this is someone or people, who you trust and feel comfortable calling on for help and motivation, when you feel it is lacking. These people will also help you stand accountable for your actions, which helps with your progress.
- Try something new – if you’re used to going to the gym or going for a run and your motivation is dwindling because of the monotony, try a new form of activity or try a new sport. Getting some friends together and starting a social competition in a team sport is an excellent way to keep you motivated.