Christmas ‘Silly Season’ Survival Guide

Staying active during the ‘silly season’ that is full of end of year parties, Christmas drinks, client parties, new years eve celebrations and holidays can be tricky. This time of year everyone wants to get together, and often you find yourself fully booked with lunches, dinners and catch up drinks day after day. It’s easy to get carried away, consume many more kilojoules than normal & start to put on weight. Also, if you’re out more you could start to become run down, fatigued & get less sleep. It’s a dangerous mix.

Here are a few tips to help you stay active & avoid the silly season slump or weight gain.

Have a snack before you go out. If you’re going out for drinks have a healthy snack (or dinner) before you go so you don’t find yourself really hungry at the bar. Often we end up ordering simple bar snacks, chips, wedges, pies, pizzas etc, which are all very high in energy (kJ) and often high in saturated fat too. If you have a healthy snack such as a yoghurt or a sandwhich before you go, you won’t feel the need to fill up on the bad stuff and save yourself 100’s of kJ.

Be selective. Don’t drink at all the parties you’re invited to, or go to. Select the group you really want to have a few drinks with and let your hair down on that night, but drive (or at least don’t drink alcohol) for other parties. Think about going for an hour or 2 and not staying til the death with the final core group. You’ll be glad you did the next day.

‘No jog no grog’. Plan your social activities & then make sure you exercise in the morning or at lunchtime that day. That way you can feel good about your day’s exercise and go out & enjoy time with friends. If you haven’t been able to make time, even 20mins, for your health that day (e.g. a run/walk, cycle, swim) then you really shouldn’t be spending hours by making things worse with a night out drinking.

Lock in tomorrow’s exercise. Plan a morning training session the next day after a dinner out to help keep you in check. So however late you stay up or however many drinks you end up having you still have to get up & complete the session the next day. You’re in control of how you want to feel tomorrow so have a great social night but don’t overdo it. Enjoy the great training session the next day (while some of your friends are still in bed hungover or lying on the couch). It’ll give you energy & keep you feeling great.

Make your social catch up active. Go sailing on the harbour, do a bush walk or go kayaking for your end of year party. Combine an active pursuit with your lunch or dinner or drinks, so people can have the best of both worlds. Give people the choice to do one or both, and remember everyone is different.

It’s a real positive step, combining your physical activity & social catch up, as you aren’t spending your whole party standing at the bar, increasing the risk of things getting ‘dangerous’. Unfortunately some people aren’t great at exercising self-control so try to help them subtly.

Plan around the big ones. There are some days that are going to be bigger then others and so be smart & plan for it. I’ll often do a big run or ride on 24th Dec because it’s very unlikely I’ll do much exercise (if any) on Christmas day so I plan a rest day, guilt free, for the 25th Dec and go out & have a nice hard session on the 24th. You can do the same with new years and other big events when you know you’re short of time or energy to do your usual training session. Plan ahead & set realistic expectations. Realistic training expectations, AND realistic eating & drinking expectations.

Seasons greetings everyone!!

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