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Managing the festive season

Come ‘silly season’ and even the most dedicated of people can come unstuck. No doubt you’ve already had some anxious moments, thinking about how to manage your exercise and eating plans through the maze of office parties, family dos and general ‘let it all hang out’ festive attitudes.  Fear not! There’s a relatively simple way to handle all this without gaining weight or detracting from your health…

My top tips for the season are as follows:

  1. Drink enough good quality water every day (0.033 X your weight in kg = litres of water daily) and be sure to add good quality salt to your food (my personal choice is Universal Vision’s Himalayan crystal salt). This combination of salt and water will help keep the body hydrated.
  1. Eat plenty of good quality fat and moderate amounts of protein. Doing this will reduce sugar cravings and help to control blood sugar levels.  Protein helps release your fat burning hormones, while good dietary fat ensures less potential for body fat storage. My suggested starting point is around 3-5 tablespoons of fat with each meal.
  1. Eat less processed carbohydrates since these foods release sugar at a much more rapid rate than the non-processed alternatives. High processed carb intake = high blood sugar = high insulin output = body fat storage.
  1. Assuming you’re not diabetic or insulin-resistant, skip breakfast! Try and exercise on an empty stomach and wait at least 14 hours (but as much as 16 hours) between dinner and your next meal.  This is called Intermittent fasting (temporary hunger) and the results can be astonishing from a weight loss and health enhancement perspective (see the results of the experiment I did with this 2 years ago).
  1. Don’t drink alcohol on an empty stomach – eat a meal/snack with protein/fat foods like raw nuts, biltong, boiled eggs etc. before you drink. Alcoholic drinks are carbohydrates, which significantly affect blood sugar and thus body fat storage, not to mention liver function.
  1. Do something physical daily and make movement more common in your day, in general. Offer to look after someone’s toddler for a few hours, get stuck into gardening, spend more time cooking good meals, go for a walk first thing in the morning, play beach bats, drag a friend to gym with you etc.
  1. HAVE FUN! Make sure that whatever it is you’re doing, you’re living in that moment instead of feeling guilty or remorseful … make conscious choices but allow for some spontaneity too.

Have a great festive season…

Our approach - Tanya Wyatt background

Tanya Wyatt

Tanya has written regularly for various health and fitness magazines such as Men’s Health, Marie-Claire, Cosmopolitan and Shape (she also served on the advisory board for Shape), as well as for local South Africa newspaper publications. In 2004, Tanya wrote two internationally released health and fitness-related books, both  published by New Holland. She recently wrote her third book, currently submitted to publishers for consideration.