You don't have to avoid social events – or pig out and worry about the pain later. To party and socialise isn't necessarily the start of your healthy eating downfall. You can stay on the right side of the scale and still have a good time. Here's how:
Party know how
Cut kilojoules modestly
Resist the temptation to make major cuts to your diet, as there are just too many delicious things to eat at this time of the year. Instead, aim to reduce your intake by just 418kJ every day, while bumping up the frequency and intensity of your workouts, advises dietician Pat
Vasconcellos. "To offset the kilojoule increases at the holidays, focus on exercise – that way you won't feel deprived," says Vasoncellos.
If gym isn't your thing, take advantage of where you're spending your free time: swim several dozen lengths in the pool every day, learn to surf, hike up a mountain, ride a bike.
"Cutting kilojoules is easy if you know where to look: if you give up one slice of bread, you're saving 400kJ. And if you choose lean fish or grilled, skinless chicken breast
over red meat, you can also very easily save 400-800kJ.
The trick to translating this to weight loss is two-fold: don't make up the kilojoule loss with holiday treats (you'll need to budget for those) and stay consistent in burning the other 836kJ with exercise to hit a daily
1254kJ deficit. On days you exercise less or not at all, make up the difference by cutting more kilojoules from your food intake. When you do a longer, more vigorous workout, you may want to have a small treat or "bank" those kilojoules expended.
Make your free time count
Carve out time for workouts by doing your shopping online. Do make time for regular, healthy meals. "You never want to miss a meal, or change the timing of your meals,"
Vasconcellos cautions. "When you eat is key for weight loss.
Eat a small meal or snack every three to four hours to prevent overeating. If you're going holiday shopping all day, carry a small sandwich or piece of fruit with you to snack on.
Eat what you love
Focus on having a small amount – sometimes just a bite – of what you really love several days a week, or even every day. A little bit of a favourite food every day, takes away that anxiety of eating something forbidden. The exception: if you know that one bite will lead to another (and another), you'll probably need to keep the forbidden foods out of the house altogether.
Avoid the panic of missing out on foods you only get to enjoy once a year by putting a few goodies in a Ziploc bag and freezing them. Knowing that you can have a bite of Christmas cake in February may take the edge off and keep you from overindulging now.