The festive season is the time to indulge in good food. Sinful delights are almost impossible to escape during this period. However, as a trainer, this period is also when I worry the most for my clients – that they would fall off the tracks to attain their personal goals.
How does one avoid ‘falling off the tracks’ during the holiday season, then? Here are some tips that can help.
Tip #1: Ask Yourself if You’re Really Hungry
Is it actual hunger or simply a craving? Am I resisting unnecessary snacking until the next mealtime?
Identify your hunger cues and eat only if you’re truly hungry. Let’s be real here – in most cases, the hunger pangs you think you’re feeling are really just cravings you can afford to ignore.
It is also important to identify what your trigger cues for your cravings. For example, stress is a common trigger for many of us to turn to food for comfort. Work directly on dealing with those ‘stressors’ for a long-term change.
Tip #2: Eat Slow, and Stay 80% Full
Your stomach takes approximately 20 minutes to signal your brain that you’re full. Eating slowly allows you to savour your food and appreciate it better. If you start to wolf down your food, chances are that you will overeat. This results in taking in excess calories and that is what causes weight gain.
Don’t be greedy – you can always eat that food again. Extend down your meal times and while you do so, eat enough so that you are satisfied, but not bloated. A good gauge would be to feel about 80 percent full. Identify your cues when you’re starting to feel full and pick your last item to complete your meal – and commit to it!
Tip #3: Focus on Whole Foods
Minimise the consumption of processed food such as cakes, hot-dogs, chips and instead, turn to quality whole foods like poultry, red meat, fishes, fruits and vegetables. Processed foods are generally less nutritious and usually high in sugar and sodium, so avoid them if possible. On top of that, your body uses more energy to break down whole foods – that’s great news for maintaining that waistline.
Be realistic about your diet intake. Set aside about 20% of your meals for your comfort food and you’ll be good to go. If you happen to have a heavy meal, then keep that in mind for your next meal and get yourself back on track by having a lighter meal.
Remember: a successful diet is sustainable if you’re able to do it consistently without much trouble. If you’re on vacation and need to indulge, go ahead, but make sure to set your mind to getting back on track when you return. Simply follow these three tips during the festive season and you’ll have absolutely nothing to worry about.
Check out more Fitness content by Certified Fitness Professional and DANAMIC Ambassador, John Fong.
Photos courtesy (respectively) of Tim Gouw and Jessica Ruscello.