Surfing SantaWith the silly season upon us, our willpower needs super powers if it’s going to steer us in the right direction. Even as a fitness professional focused on your health and fitness it can be tough not to overindulge. Imagine how hard it is for a client who’s just getting used to this stuff! It’s prime fall-off-the-wagon season!


Long business lunches, drinks with friends, Christmas parties, family get-togethers…there is a continual stream of opportunities to CONSUME much more food and alcohol than usual.


How can you and your clients maintain healthy eating and exercise in the holiday season? Have a look at our top tips below that can help us all sail into January unscathed.


  1. If your client is keen to catch up with friends, could they plan a walk or a hike together instead of a boozy bar session? You can still catch up (in fact, there might be less distraction and more real conversation!), but there’s not the pressure to overdo it on bar snacks and cocktails.


  1. Schedule outdoor instead of indoor parties: hit the beach, the park! Pack a healthy picnic and make the most of the great outdoors. They might still be eating and drinking but at least they’ll be getting some Vitamin D and going to bed before midnight!


  1. When you’re with friends who love to party and it’s hard not to match them drink for drink, try lightening the load by topping up your wine or champagne with sparkling water. If you love a cocktail try to avoid the creamy kind and go for fruit based blends without sugar syrup added. For the beer drinkers, try some of the lower carb or mid-strength options as they can help to reduce the overall calorie intake.


  1. Suggest they host a healthy BBQ to catch up with friends and family. There are some simple tweaks to lighten up while still packing a big flavour punch. Swap regular snags for the gourmet variety as they tend to be much lower in fat and additives. Swap sugar-filled tomato sauce for the new low sugar varieties – there’s even one using stevia now! Use natural yoghurt instead of mayo in your coleslaw or a blend of each. Make the most of seasonal fruits for dessert by making colourful fruit skewers which are perfect for one-handed eating by the pool.


  1. Help clients understand they can enjoy Christmas snacks, but make them count: there’s no need to eat your body weight in something you don’t really love. Choose only what you love – don’t waste the calories on something you don’t adore. Skip what you’re not super fond of to save room for that one truly desired treat!


  1. If your clients are attending a Christmas party, suggest they steer clear of the canapés that are deep fried or come with a creamy dressing. Opt for lighter options such as grilled prawns, bruschetta, chicken skewers, or rice paper rolls.


  1. Keep up SOME training. The silly season probably isn’t the time most clients will set PBs, but encourage them to do some maintenance-level training. Could they find ways to fit in activity? Could they walk before or after a big meal? Could they take the kids to the park and actually play with them on the equipment?


  1. If you’ve got clients who are in the middle of a major weight-loss journey, it’s best if they have their family on-side and helping them resist temptation. If that’s not possible, help them find ways to prepare for overeating with some extra movement and maybe smaller meals the day before or the day after a holiday feast.


  1. Keep up the most important healthy eating habit: a little bit of planning every day. If you and your clients can spend just five minutes each day planning out the next day, that takes last-minute choice out of the equation. It’s proven that our willpower gets ‘tired’ the more choices we have to make, so if you’ve got the next day’s plan SET in your head, you’re FAR more likely to stick to it than if you make the plan for dinner half an hour before eating. This even works when eating out – google the menu and choose what you’ll have BEFORE you get there!  

Enjoy the holidays with just a pinch of healthy habits and you’ll come out the other side of silly season feeling on-track, full of vitality and ready for 2017!