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Plan, renew and refocus for 2013

Dec 10, 2012

Ah, the joys of the holidays. The season to be jolly

You shopped until you dropped, treated yourselves to braais, barbeques and partied until the wee hours of the morning, temporarily suspended commitment to visit the gym at least three times a week, and indulged, indulged, indulged.

You are not alone. The festive season put a tremendous emphasis on food. After all enjoying a meal with family and friends to celebrate the year that was has become a tradition. Unfortunately we bite off more than we can chew.

Once the holiday fever fizzles out, you find yourself fatigued, sluggish, depressed and stressed and having gained a few kilograms.

True who is never tempted with by tables stacked with high calorie nibbles and booze? However, with a little planning, you can you can beat the festive season blues.

The festive season is seen as a time of indulgence and non-stop eating and drinking, but it doesn't have to be that way. Buck the trend by setting yourself realistic goals.

Here are some tips gleaned from books and talks by health and wellness professionals that will allow you to enjoy reasonable indulgences while maintaining your health and fitness level to start 2013 with a bang, and not a whimper.

  • Enjoy small bites.
  • Eat lightly. Don't arrive at an event hungry. If you do that you are tempting overindulgence;
  • Avoid refined or processed sugars;
  • Beef up the intake of complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and vegetables;
  • Drink plenty of water. Even if you do have a few snacks and drinks, you can get dehydrated. So compensate by drinking more water. Minimise alcohol consumption and eliminate empty liquid calories (soda, fruit drinks);
  • Eat five to seven servings of fresh vegetables and fruits every day; cut back on fast foods;
  • Take a walk or hot bath, get a massage, listen to music, sip green tea before bed or read your favourite book.
  • Get enough sleep. Many of us overeat in response to stress. If you are well-rested, your stress level is likely to be lower, and you'll feel more relaxed and in control of your diet.
  • Set yourself daily outcomes to give each day a specific focus - like eat slowly, do some exercise.

Make exercise a priority. Have a firm workout schedule for November and December, and stick to it! It's nearly impossible to avoid overeating at some point during the holidays, but that's fine if you keep up with your exercise programme.

The prospect of still fitting into your swanky suit during 2013 should be the motivation you need.

Think about what your life might be like if you slowed down a little and tried to enjoy your holidays.