But while we all love the holidays, we also love our health. And unfortunately for many of us, the eating, drinking and lack of exercise that accompanies this time often sees us into the new year with an epic hangover and tighter waistbands then the months prior.
But good news - you don't need to undo all the progress you've made on your health and fitness. The key thing to remember during times when you're out of a routine and socialising a lot is that the main goal is to maintain a level of balance. It’s important not to beat yourself up over the odd indulgence and instead focus on the big picture and the long term goal. If you maintain a balance with the rest of your lifestyle then a few extra wines or a large meal or three shouldn’t really impact your health and energy at all.
Down Time, Not Lounge Time
The first thing to remember is that the holidays are a time to relax and recover, both mentally and physically. But this doesn’t mean you should stop exercising all together. With the kids at home or family and friends to entertain you might find getting your usual exercise in hard. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
After a busy year, our bodies need time to recover as much as our brains do. Instead of feeling guilty for not making it to the gym, focus on giving your body and mind the TLC it’s craving, so you can come back from the break feeling better for it. Make time each day to get outside for a walk, hike or easy jog. Join in on an activity you may not usually do, such as bike riding, surfing or yoga or whatever looks like a bit of fun!
Embrace the change of pace and flexibility of your days - the key is to remain reasonably active over the holidays, even if it's not super structured. Remember that taking care of your body makes you feel pretty great, which can be just as enjoyable as cracking into the bubbles, beers and BBQ food.
And if you just want a super simple rule to stick to for keeping a bit of calorie in vs calorie out balance, try to aim for 10,000 steps or an hour of physical activity that makes you puff most days and you’ll be kept in good shape. This might sound like a lot but added up over the course of a day is definitely achievable. Simply by getting in 10k steps you are burning anywhere from 400-600 Calories...easily affording you that slice of pavlova!
Drink The Liquid Gold
Now, all this outside time and activity is going to work up a sweat, even more so if you’re adding frequent infrared sauna use to your routine - so this means staying hydrated is also going to be a key to your efforts.
We’ve all been told how important hydration is, but it’s often easier said than done to keep up and it can be easy to let it slip. H2O makes up close to 60% of the human body so is vital for every single cellular function. Not to mention its ability to help prevent a hangover!
A good goal is to aim to drink roughly ½ your bodyweight (in lbs) in Oz of water per day. For example for an 80kg male this would be around 2.5L of water a day. Take it a step further and really get your body revitalised after a nights drinking and add a pinch of Himalayan salt and squeeze of lemon to your first glass of the day for an electrolyte and vitamin boost to really perk you up.
If you’re in need of some clean and pure filtered water make sure to check out our December Promo and score yourself a FREE water filter with the purchase of any iHealth Sauna.
It Doesn't Have To Be Feast Or Famine
We can probably all agree that our biggest downfall over the holidays usually comes in the form of food! Parties with enormous spreads of cheese, crackers and charcuterie, hot smoking BBQ’s packed with burgers and sausages, great heaping mounds of roast potatoes and stuffing or of course the incredible desserts on offer. Makes you drool just thinking about it!
The good news is you can, and absolutely should, enjoy the holiday food just like everyone else does. It just takes a little planning to make sure you don't go overboard when loading up your plate.
Think of all the food you normally eat in a day as part of a daily budget. By “budgeting” the rest of the day, making conscious choices on what you eat and when, we can make sure the indulgences to come can all still fit. If you know you are going to a party that night then work back from there. Have a light breakfast and lunch focused mainly on protein and veggies. This will help you feel full and satisfied without being particularly high in calories. Then when it comes to party time you have enough room in your belly to enjoy the snacks, a larger plate and a delicious dessert!
However, it's still important to realise you are still human. If you do go overboard one day or even over multiple days it's not the end of the world! Don’t beat yourself up. Keep your eye on the big picture and realise that nothing is forever. Overtime you can even things out and get right back on track without having to feel guilty or ashamed. Just be mindful and make sure you enjoy every bite.
Mocktails > Cocktails
Lastly, we can’t not speak about alcohol. As with all things health and fitness it's always all about balance, but let’s not beat around the bush. When it comes to the festive season much of the 'fun' for grown-ups is based around drinking. Alcohol in moderation can fit into a healthy lifestyle, but let's not kid ourselves on the 'supposed' health benefits that booze brands love to talk about. The bottom line is that alcohol is a toxin that can quickly alter our immediate state of mind and impact our long term health. If and how you drink alcohol should be YOUR choice.
If you're not phased about having a drink, are trying to cut back, or don't want to wake up on January 1st with a hangover that makes you feel like the first day of the year is actually January 2nd - then we are here to support you 100%...
It can be really hard to say no to your nearest and dearest constantly offering you a drink or opening the next bottle of bubbles. They may even make you feel bad for saying no. But even if Aunty Karen is dying to down a bottle of chardonnay with you and hear all about your year, or Grandad is offering you a nip of whiskey while he tells you about his chess club, remember that you can and should say no if that's what's best for you.
One of the best tools to avoid conversations about why you aren't drinking or not drinking much is to already have a drink in your hand, such as a delicious mocktail or a alcohol-low or free beer.
The internet is now full of awesome, alcohol free, alternatives. A quick google search of your favourite cocktail will reveal a host of alcohol free options that keep you with a glass in hand - avoiding even having to say no in the first place - while not compromising your own choices.
It's YOUR Fresh Start
In life there is the time to build - to work hard, make money, get fitter. But the holiday break is the time to reflect on what you've got, how far you've come and set your mind towards what you want to achieve in the year ahead. Identify what has worked well for your health, happiness and growth, then take that with you and embrace the fresh start in 2021.
The iHealth Team wishes you much health and happiness for the holidays ahead. We hope you enjoy your time with your loved ones, the delicious food, and the invigorating time out in nature. See you in 2021!