6 tips to maintain your healthy habits during the holidays

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By Ilse de Graaf

With Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year fast approaching, now is a great time to start planning for the holiday season. No, I’m not talking gifts, I’m talking healthy habits and how to maintain them! Getting out of a routine can steer you in the wrong direction, not to mention throwing in a load of holiday events with your friends and family. But fear not my lovely Ninja, I’ve got some tips and tricks in my santa’s sack to ensure that you stick to your goals, maintain your habits and have a jolly ol’ time whilst doing it.

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Don’t go to parties hungry or bring your own snacks
This might seem like an obvious one but believe me, it is easily done. It’s like going grocery shopping hungry, you find yourself reaching for foods that you wouldn’t normally. If you are going to a party and you know it’s catered, have a light meal before you attend. That way you are set up to make healthier choices at the buffet. Alternatively, if you know the hosts well and it’s a gathering with family or friends – why not bring your own snacks? You will be able to cater for yourself by bringing food that you like and that you know is super healthy. Like I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, it is important to treat yourself once and awhile, the point is to try and avoid getting swept up in the festivities and losing all control. You won’t thank yourself come January when you have the blues!

Take time for yourself
The holiday season is about others, your family, your friends, appreciating all of the amazing people around you BUT don’t forget, you are amazing too! Give yourself a gift over Christmas and take some time back for yourself, do something you love for you and nobody else. It is important to stay centered so that you are able to focus on your mindset and wellbeing. This could be little things each day such a mindful meditation, yoga, gratitude journaling, reading a good book, writing, a long bath, whatever self-care looks like to you.

Stay active – every bit of exercise counts
This might not be hard for you with all of the running around involved during the holiday season but if you find you are not keeping up your regular exercise regime, be sure to add in at least 15 minutes a day! Every little counts and 15 minutes can make a huge difference. Got a jam packed schedule? Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier in the morning, it’ll be worth it, I assure you. Setting realistic goals over the holiday season is key, if you don’t recognise that your schedule has changed and you have a million different things to do but you still want to manage your weight loss in the same way, you are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. Focus on maintaining your weight through the holiday season and not making drastic reductions.

Maintain a healthy sleeping pattern
Increased social engagements often means late nights, early mornings and generally getting less sleep. Not getting enough sleep can have such a negative impact on your health. It can cause weight gain, brain fog and can lower your immune system causing you to pick up those pesky colds that are going around at this time of year. Try setting yourself a firm bedtime and sticking to it. If you have lots of social engagements to attend, pick and choose which are most important and remember you can say “no”.

Don’t be afraid of change
If you’ve always enjoyed the holiday season or holiday recipes the same way for years, don’t be afraid to make some changes. You are no longer the person you used to be, you have made the decision to take control of your lifestyle and mindset, you have made a commitment to stay healthy. Let’s take the time to plan ahead, write down your festive recipes and go through them with a fine tooth comb. Is there anything you can substitute for a healthy alternative or a better quality ingredient? Instead of lard, try using a high quality butter or instead of cream try using coconut cream, use lean cuts of meat. I’m sure sugar features a lot in your recipes, why not try substituting it for raw honey? Can you make your stuffing meat free and add more nuts and dried fruits instead? There are lots of alternative ways to enjoy the festive period, just because something is a tradition or your grandma’s recipe doesn’t mean you can’t tweak it to suit the new you!

Focus on the holidays, not the food
The holiday season is really about spending time with the people we love, creating memories and celebrating family traditions. Why not try finding new activities with your loved ones or creating new family traditions that don’t revolve around food. Stay active by trying a new exercise class together, play ball in the park, go ice-skating, or even take a pottery or life drawing class. It is important to create memories of the fun you’ve had together and not the indulgent food you ate!

Being mindful about how you approach your mindset, weight loss and lifestyle during the holidays can help make it a happy and healthy season, one that you won’t feel the negative effects of in the new year.

Did you know that I am offering a New Masterclass which will teach you 3 secrets on how to get and stay motivated during your weight loss journey so that you can reach your goals?! To find our more or to reserve your seat, sign up here.

Thank you for reading Ninja, your support means the absolute world to me.

xx Ilse

Founder & Coach
Weight Loss Ninja