It’s important for us to be socially engaged – did you know that having a range of good quality social connections is one of the key factors that has been shown to be protective against cognitive decline as we age?
If you’re losing weight, or thinking about maintaining weight loss during the festive season, rest assured that you don’t need to avoid gatherings with family and friends to celebrate the year that has been 2022, you just need to do a little planning.
The key is to keep the balance just right between the number of kilojoules you are eating and drinking, and the number of kilojoules you are burning. So, try our top tips to keep up some positive habits:
1. Stay physically active
With longer daylight hours during Summer, it can be easier than you think to stay physically active during the busy festive season. Try getting up half an hour earlier for a 30-minute walk before you start your day. If you prefer the extra sleep, then plan a walk for after dinner – turn the TV off and take your dog, a neighbour, or a household member for a walk around the streets or try a walking path close to home.
Track your steps, aim for 10,000 and you’ll be sure to burn some of those extra kilojoules you’re eating.
2. Keep eating regular meals
Skipping meals can seem like an obvious way to compensate for larger meals – but this may only work for some people sometimes. If you skip a meal in anticipation of a big event, you may end up eating more because you feel so hungry!
If you keep up your regular meal pattern, it will be easier to stick to smaller portions when you attend a celebration or event, because your hunger and satisfaction levels will be similar to a typical day. This will make it easier for you to judge the right portion sizes and say ‘no, thank you’ when you’ve had enough.
ʻʻIf you keep up your regular meal pattern, it will be easier to stick to smaller portions when you attend a celebration or event, because your hunger and satisfaction levels will be similar to a typical day.”
3. Eat and drink mindfully
The pleasure of eating can start with the visual appeal of the food, so take the time to take this in! Choose foods that you will enjoy, take the time to chew well, notice the flavours and appreciate each bite. Slowing down to appreciate food this way will give your stomach longer to register that it’s satisfied, and you might even decide you’ve had enough sooner than you think.
It’s the perfect time of year for salad vegetables to be full of flavour, so whenever you can, add a leafy green salad on the side of your main meals. It’s an easy way to cut down on kilojoules and make your body feel great with the vitamins, minerals and crunch of vegetables.
4. Go easy on the alcohol
If you want to take care of your body, be mindful of what you put into it.
Think of alcohol as ‘empty kilojoules’ – these are kilojoules with little, or no nutritional benefit. Alcohol in moderation can be fine, it has even been shown to be beneficial when enjoyed as it is in the Mediterranean region. There, the drink of choice often is red wine—which is rich in antioxidants that we know bring health benefits—but it is customary to have 1 small glass with a meal, and while in the company of others. Why not try it? One small glass, savour and enjoy it.
If you would like to enjoy more than one, why not try spacing your drinks – both at home and when you’re out. Alternate between one glass of alcohol and then one glass of plain water or plain mineral water. This can reduce the number of kilojoules you are having by up to half of what you would usually have.
5. Write yourself some positive mantras
As within, so without. What does this mean?
Well it’s referring to the notion that the words, the beliefs, and the images that we hold about ourselves on the inside, are very often reflected on the outside and can become the reality that we end up seeing in our lives. So, write down some positive statements that you would like to see reflected in your habits, say them often, and start to believe them!
They need to be your own, but here are a couple of suggestions to get you started:
• I find ways to be physically active every day.
• I take care of myself with the food choices I make.
• I can socialise without alcohol if I choose to.
6. Stay motivated
Starting your day with positive self-talk can help you stay focused and motivated. If you do feel your motivation begin to slip, remind yourself of how far you’ve come, the progress you have made towards your goals and remember to check in with your Coach each week for support and extra tips.
ʻʻWrite down some positive statements that you would like to see reflected in your habits, say them often, and start to believe them!ˮ