Episode 20 - 5 Tips for Surviving the Festive Season

5 Tips for Surviving the Festive Season

The silly season is here and I wanted to give you a few strategies to help you manage it. Because what I find is most people just completely let go at this time of year. Overindulging on delicious food and alcohol and our health and fitness goals seem to just go completely out the window. Only to feel unhealthy and disgusting come January and start looking for the quick fix or detox diet to get back into shape, fast!

But not you! Not this year! Follow my 5 tips to help you survive the festive season:

  1. Aim for balance
  2. Have a plan
  3. Outsmart the obsessive feeder
  4. Stay active
  5. Avoid overdoing it with alcohol

And if you’re looking for more help plus 36 Christmasy recipes, get your copy of the Festive Season Survival Guide HERE

A generous helping of Dietitian Approved advice to support you through the silly season. This is not a carrot stick instead of pavlova type affair where you’ll be the only sober one at the party… we’re all about balance. This 63-page Festive Season Survival Guide is your one-stop shop to manage the silly season.

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Episode Transcription

Episode 20 - 5 Tips for Surviving the Festive Season

Welcome to the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast, the show designed to serve you up evidence-based sports nutrition advice from the experts. Hi, I'm your host Taryn, Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Advanced Sports Dietitian, and founder of Dietitian Approved. Listen as I break down the latest evidence to give you practical, easy to digest strategies to train hard, recover faster and perform at your best. You have so much potential, and I want to help you unlock that with the power of nutrition. Let's get into it.

Welcome to the last episode for 2021. I can't believe the year is over. 2021 was a pretty big year for me at Dietitian Approved. I launched this podcast; I launched the Triathlon Nutrition Academy.

If you haven't listened to it yet, go back and listen to the last episode where I gave a bit of a review of the year that's been. But I'm pretty excited to see what 2022 has in store for us. But before that, I really need some time out. I'm bloody exhausted. So, we're actually going to take our first break for the year. I know it's bad, isn't it, and tap out for a good month over the Christmas, New Year break, which I'm so excited about. Because I'm just so tired. I'm bloody exhausted. And what we're going to do over our break this time is actually map out some holidays for 2022 so we don't get in the same situation as this year. We don't want to repeat of what's just happened.

But what we're going to do for our break is basically hit the beach for most of it, which is my favourite place in the world, the beach. I'm going to try and do some surfing and get some vitamin D and try and read my first book for 2021. I've started one and got a chapter or two in and that's it. I just have not had time to read a book and I love reading. But I just want to tap out and read something that's not sports nutrition and not work. Just some trashy novel about another story that'll transport me to a different world. I'm so excited. And then we're going to head to Adelaide for another couple of weeks and see all the in laws and all the fam-bam that are over there.

But before I go, I want to leave you with five tips to help you survive the silly season. Because what I find is most people just completely let go. And we overindulge on delicious food and alcohol and we're quite sedentary often. And our healthy lifestyle and fitness goals go straight out the window as soon as December hits. It's not really uncommon for people to just accept, you know that weight gain is inevitable. And whatever after New Year’s are just going to strive to get back on the bandwagon come January. And my January clinic in the Dietitian Approved clinic goes bonza, every single year. Where people are like right, this is my year, it's time to get fitter, it's time to get healthier.

And so I'm not here to say let's sit all that stuff out. I want you to have dessert and enjoy it. Or I'm not going to say hey, if you eat this, you have to run this many kilometres to burn it off. It's not my style. I really want you to enjoy this time but eat mindfully. And I challenge you to change your attitude this year and implement my top five tips for surviving the festive season without having a massive blowout.


1. Aim for balance

My number one tip over this next chunk of time is to aim for balance. This holiday period provides huge opportunities to overeat and over drink, which is fine. It's a special occasion. But our occasions are always centred around food generally. We are social with food and alcohol in mind. So I want you to aim for some balance in that. It's not a reason to eat as much as you can, despite our competitiveness or get your money's worth from parties and gatherings. We tend to have this all or none approach, and we forget that we don't actually need to eat and drink to extremes.

For once it's not a competition. I want you to find a comfortable middle ground where you can still go out and have a great time but try and minimise the damage by going overboard. Make healthy choices when you can and when you can't, that's fine. Don't feel guilty for it. Just make sure you sit down and relax and enjoy because it is Christmas after all.


2. Have a plan

Number two, have a plan. I want you to be smart and think ahead. Have a plan that will help you stay in control and find that balance of your food and your drink choices rather than just tapping out for the festive season. So if you're looking for some help, I definitely encourage you to get the Festive Season Survival Guide. It's not expensive. It is some of my best work actually. It's a massive 63-page document that really gives you some tips for staying healthy through the festive season, eating mindfully, helping you to have a plan and do things like navigate the buffet. And if you're entertaining, there's some really great advice in there from a dietitian around how to cater yourself or how to manage the everyone bring a plate type situation or catering options as well. So no matter what's happening for your Christmas or festivities, there's something in there to help you and the best part, it has a massive recipe index in there as well.

So there's 36, Dietitian Approved festive type recipes that aren't in the recipe database. There are 12 starters. There are things like my aunties famous cob loaf dip, there's baba ghanoush, there's cucumber bites, there's a Christmas tree vegetable platter, and there's my Dietitian Approved entertainer's platter. Then there's 12 mains so it shows you how to make a basic roast chook. There are three stuffing ideas. There is Maple Glazed ham, there's a whole snapper, a seafood platter, prawn and mango salad, a summer Pork Salad and my Dietitian Approved potato salad in there. So a healthier version of the generally high fat potato salad. And then the best bit there's 12 Christmas type dessert recipes as well from mini-Pavlovas, little Santa hat fruit skewers, Rudolph tarts, Brownie Bites, Christmas protein balls, Gingerbread and Christmas fruit tree.

So if you need help finding balance over the festive season and are looking for recipe inspo then this is for you. So head to dietitianapproved.com/FSSG for Festive Season Survival Guide and you can download it there. It's not expensive. It'll probably save you a whole heap of time trying to research recipes, and also really help you manage what you're doing over the festive season. It's beautiful. It's one of my best pieces of work.


3. Outsmart the obsessive feeder

Number three, outsmart the obsessive feeder. Don't worry, we all have at least one. Typically it's our Mums but hands up who has a feeder friend who's always trying to shove food or alcohol down your throats, even when they don't really want it. They guilt you into ordering dessert, so they don't feel left out. They order you another drink even though you said you'd sit this one out. The problems are real.

Here are some lines that you can use with feeders and get them off your back. Say "I've had some thanks it was delicious", or "I'm actually really thirsty could I have a glass of water instead?". Or "I'm full Thank you very much", or "I physically couldn't fit another one in".

I find that politely refusing food or drinks doesn't actually work because people are just so bloody insistent. So try and divert their attention with something else. And then they won't feel like you've let them down. But if you can understand who these people are in your lives, you'll be able to equip yourself with some one liners and things to try and make sure they don't push you into doing things that you don't want to do.


4. Stay active

Tip number four is to stay active. When we're on holidays, there's plenty of opportunity to stay active and to move more. So try and aim to move every day even if it's just a 30-minute walk or a jog. Strike up a game of backyard cricket, take the dog for a walk after dinner or go for a swim to avoid the heat.

Holidays also mean there's more time for those long adventure things. So get a group together and go for a massive, long ride, a big adventure and make a day of it. Social occasions don't always need to be centred around food and alcohol. There are lots of other ideas that are non-food and non-alcohol related to help you be active through the festive season. I've put a bunch of these together in my Festive Season Survival Guide. So I'll link that in the show notes so you can check that out too.


5. Avoid overdoing it with alcohol

All right, number five. This is a big one but avoid overdoing it with alcohol. Ahhh alcohol, we have a love hate relationship. It's definitely packed with unwanted kilojoules. It impairs our muscle recovery pathways; it causes hangovers and dehydration. And you know, at the end of the day, it is a toxin, and our body has to work hard to get rid of it. It loosens our inhibitions like duh, which increases the likelihood of you eating things that you probably wouldn't normally like a 3am dirty kebab.

If you are going to drink, then drink. Enjoy it. I'm not saying don't drink, but just choose wisely and try and alternate your drinks with water to help compensate for the dehydration effects of alcohol. If you need help managing alcohol consumption over the silly season, I've got some really great tips in the Festive Season Survival Guide. I'm not the Fun Police. I'm really just trying to educate you so that you can enjoy without spending the whole holiday season hungover and again, trying to smash yourself come January because you've put yourself in such an unhealthy hole. Maybe go back and listen to the alcohol episode I did with Ben Desbrow as well, just before you go out for a massive drinking sesh and see if that helps to change your mind.

So they're my five tips. If you're looking for more the Festive Season Survival Guide has way more. But my take-home message for you is not to let the silly season call the shots. I want you to make some healthy decisions when you can. And rather than switching off, try and find some balance and remain in control of your choices. Listen to your body and stop eating when you're full. If you need help with mindful eating, that's something that a dietitian can help you with. I have filmed a little module on mindful eating if that's something that you want to do over this holiday period. And I'll link that in the show notes as well.

I really want you to enjoy this time with your family and your friends without feeling guilty about the choices that you've made. I encourage you to find some balance between enjoyment and being loose, but then also being too hard on yourself because then you miss out on the fun altogether. And I want you to not feel guilty for making food and alcohol choices. I want you to be in control of that. And hey if you choose to eat a whole pavlova, eat a whole pavlova. But then don't beat yourself up for doing that later. Be kind to your body. It's the only one you've got. I just want to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and I will see you back in 2022.

Thanks for joining me for this episode of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast. I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions or want to share with me what you've learned. Email me at [email protected]. You could also spread the word by leaving me a review and taking a screenshot of you listening to the show. Don't forget to tag me on social media at @dietitian.approved so I can give you a shout out too. If you want to learn more about what we do, head to dietitianapproved.com. And if you want to learn more about the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program, head to dietitianapproved.com/academy. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to helping you smash it in the fourth leg - nutrition!

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