Episode 70 - Your Festive Season Survival Guide - Healthy Tips to Manage the Silly Season

Your Festive Season Survival Guide - Healthy Tips to Manage the Silly Season

Is it just me or has December come around much faster this year?!

Before 2023 smacks us in the face, I’m here to help you survive the festive season over the next month so you’re not limping to the 2022 finish line. 

Hear me out…I’m not your typical carrot sticks instead of pavlova type dietitian. I’m not here to tell you how many minutes it’s going to take to run off that block of chocolate. I’m all about balance. But let’s not allow the silly season to call the shots. Because the last thing I want you to do is feel the need to crash diet come January.

Tune in for a healthy serving of Dietitian Approved advice to help you survive the festive season.

Festive Season Survival Guide

A generous helping of Dietitian Approved guidance to support you through the silly season

Use code TNA to get $12 off

Get Your Copy HERE


Use code TNA to get $12 off when you grab your copy of our Festive Season Survival Guide

Check out our Mindful Eating (mini course) HERE

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Episode Transcription

Episode 70: Your Festive Season Survival Guide - Healthy Tips to Manage the Silly Season

Taryn Richardson  00:00

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.

Taryn Richardson  00:42

Well, December is here! It came around pretty quick, I'm not gonna lie. I think there's something like 23 sleeps until Christmas if I counted correctly? And for me next week is my last week of work. So this is the second last podcast episode we're going to drop this year. And then I'm going to leave you with a few crowd favourites over the three week Christmas break that we'll take. And I'm properly going to tap out. I like to really disconnect at this time of year - no socials, no emails - that email auto responder goes on. And I just want to spend time with my little fam bam, read something that is not a paper or literature, hit the beach and yeah, try and relax.

Taryn Richardson  01:25

And that means that I come back properly fresh and energised as well. Because January in the nutrition space is huge. It's always a peak time where people want to get some help - they want to improve their nutrition. It's like the ‘new year, new me’ vibes. But everyone's on the same bandwagon at the same time. It's also when I open the Triathlon Nutrition Academy for the first time for the year. And that launch is going to be epic as well. So if you want help with your nutrition, make sure you add your name to the waitlist now, dietitianapproved.com/academy. Early January, I'll send out a little bit of a waitlist bonus email, but you have to have your name on that list otherwise you don't get the email.

Taryn Richardson  02:08

The other thing that's happening pretty early on in the new year is I'm going to run the Triathlon Nutrition Training Camp again. It was so much fun last time and everyone absolutely loved it that I've decided to do it again. So it'll run from the 23rd to the 25th of January, if you're in Australia. So if you're in the northern hemisphere, sort of North America, then it'll be Sunday night, your time. So the 22nd to the 24th. Because it's your evening, my morning, but the next day - because you know time zones just blow my mind.

Taryn Richardson  02:42

But that could be a really great way to kickstart your 2023 journey to better nutrition, and start to think about your performance for the year. It's over three days. On Day One, we warm up with just some simple daily habits that I think every triathlete should be doing to maximise your performance in training, but also improve your long term health. And that's also really important - we need to not forget that - we need to be healthy for a long time. Because we only have one body, right? Just because we exercise doesn't mean we're healthy from a nutrition perspective. So I'm going to go through some simple things that you should be doing on a day to day basis to help set you up for life.

Taryn Richardson  03:25

On Day Two, we're going to talk about some simple strategies to save time and energy in the kitchen. Because I don't think eating well is difficult, but it does take a little bit of planning to do well, particularly when you're a time poor triathlete. And on Day Three, we're going to cool down with some of my top tips for dropping body fat, without falling into an absolute heap. We need to be able to maintain our energy for training, but still promote some body fat loss if that's your goal without actually affecting our performance in sessions.

Taryn Richardson  03:58

So that's our three day program. If you want to go check it out and register now because, you know, you're organised - you're getting in early. You know you want to do something to start the New Year and it's not going to be a detox. Then make sure you go to dietitianapproved.com/camp and register yourself to get your name on the list now. It's $47 if you're Australian, it's USD$35. It's not expensive for how much value you get. You get me every morning or evening for an hour to go through those topics.

Taryn Richardson  04:31

And then in my evening, which should probably be your morning (I get lost). But another opportunity in that day to catch me live for a Q & A session as well. So there's plenty of access to my brain at a time where you might be thinking about your nutrition. If you can't make any of those sessions though, don't stress because everything's recorded and you get your own little log in and a portal where you can go and watch those recordings too. I had the sessions set at 30 minutes last time but I can talk a lot and they blew out to 60 minutes. So it's 3 x 60 minutes sessions, plus the Q & A sessions that you get before as well.

Taryn Richardson  05:10

And that was so much fun. They were interactive. Everyone was meeting new people and triathletes from all over the world. And I was dropping lots of nutrition knowledge bombs, to help you on your way. So make sure you go and check that out. And you can register now I'm... I'm organised! It's all ready to rumble, dietitianapproved.com/camp if you want to come in and join that fun.

Taryn Richardson  05:33

But before we hit 2023, I want to help you out now with some advice or suggestions or tips to survive the silly season that's hitting us over the next month or so. Are you somebody that's already stressing about that? You know, you … maybe you've got heaps of Christmas parties coming up that you know are just going to be loose, or you don't actually want to go to or maybe you have to host Christmas this year. And so you're already stressing about what you're going to do, what you're going to make, where you're going to seat people, who you're going to put your cranky old Auntie next to so you don't have to talk to her and have awkward conversations.

Taryn Richardson  06:14

Or have you already decided that this period, this silly season is, like,YOLO! And you've already switched off, and you've just resigned yourself to the fact that it's going to be loose. You're going to eat a whole heap of crap that is not that great for you and you're okay with putting on a couple of kilos over this period and you'll just deal with it later. None of those things sound good to me. But don't stress because I've got you covered. If you're a longtime listener, or you've had anything to do with me ever, you'll know that I'm not a 'carrot stick instead of cake' type dietitian.

Taryn Richardson  06:46

I'm not going to give you how many minutes it's going to take you to ride off that chocolate bar. I'm not the Fun Police. I'm all about balance though. And I don't want you to have the silly season call the shots. I want you to be in control, but have a great time in the process. I don't want you to have to feel like we hit January and you're like, "Right, that's it. I'm going on a detox. I'm going on a diet." And we have this all or none mentality. That's not great for us. It's not great for our health. It's not great for our mental health. It's also not great for our body and our guts. Our body can take a huge beating over this period of time - the next month or two. So let's kind of get organised and think about strategically what we're going to do with our nutrition now, so that we don't have to feel like we've got to do something drastic come January.

Taryn Richardson  07:37

You don't need to go on a detox. Your kidneys and your liver do a great job of removing the toxins without you needing to put yourself on some random juice cleanse with no protein that's going to make you feel like shit. What I want you to do is focus on the foundations of healthy eating. It's not sexy, it's not complicated. But some of these foundations are what's going to help you manage this craziness without letting it get out of control. So things like eating some fruits and vegetables, not sexy. It's a bit of a no-brainer, but we tend to not do it through this period of time.

Taryn Richardson  08:15

Make sure you've got lots of diversity of the products that you're having. For us here in Australia, we're heading into our summer season so all those lovely stone fruits are available. Mangoes are in store, like, so good. Work on grabbing different types of fruits and vegetables that are in season that you maybe don't have normally. Make sure you're still including our lean protein sources and trying to minimise the processed meats like salami and prosciutto, sausages (if you don't know what's in them). Anything that's deep fried and fatty - those sorts of things. And making sure we inject our diet with healthy fats - things like avocados, nuts and seeds, olive oils, deep sea fatty fish, like salmon and tuna.

Taryn Richardson  08:59

Include some carbohydrates, like our breads and cereals, but make sure we're choosing whole grains rather than the really white refined sources of breads and cereals. Again, not sexy, you probably know it, but I'm just giving you a little bit of a reminder that there are foundations. We need to try to not sway away from that. And keep that at the crux of what we're doing. Even if we're heading into craziness.

Taryn Richardson  09:25

The other thing that you can do through the silly season is to make sure you're staying active. Now I know it goes without saying you're probably pretty bloody active. But maybe you're using this period of time to take a break from your normal programming. And that's totally fine. Take some downtime before you maybe start to build into a key race next year. But if that's the case, lose that all or none mentality and still go and do some movements of daily activity. It could be something different to triathlon. Go and shake it up with some rock climbing, some hikes. Go and play tennis. You don't have to go for a two or three hour ride to consider it exercise. It can be anything that moves your body so you're not sitting on the couch watching TV all day.

Taryn Richardson  10:12

Here in Australia, it's summertime so it's beautiful. It's a great time to maybe go on some bikepacking adventures. You're still riding, but it's not training. Maybe you're going on big sort of longer social group rides to meet up with some friends, or you're riding to the beach for an hour. Do some movement without structure and maybe shake things up if you're not heading into a key event right now.

Taryn Richardson  10:35

In the Northern Hemisphere, though you guys are in winter. And gosh, I know how hard it is to keep your motivation through that time of year. I've spent many winters in Canada and the UK. And it's freezing and you just feel like comfort food all the time. Riding outside in negative temperatures and, like, sleet is not fun. Maybe that's the Australian in me talking. You probably know better than me how to do training over winter. But you move indoors, right? You get your wind trainer set up. You, maybe, do some runs on the treadmill. Maybe you use this period of time to build some strength training into your program? That's inside. It's warm. And (it) could be a great time to put some of those habits of strength into your life now, before you get into full blown training mode again.

Taryn Richardson  11:21

So think a little bit differently about how you move your body over this silly season. Yeah, you could give up and just sit on the couch and watch TV and burn through Netflix series. Or you can stop and think about it now and have a bit of a plan of attack so that you're setting yourself up with some of those daily habits or goals that you want to achieve over this time without having to smash yourself in a training program.

Taryn Richardson  11:48

Another hot tip for you if you have a lot of parties coming up and lots of events, as everyone celebrates, is don't hit a party starving. You are so much more likely to overeat and be chasing the hors d'oeuvres, and eating all this stuff that you don't particularly want or particularly like because you're so hungry. I love to teach my athletes inside the Academy program how to build a plate strategically for what they need. And you could do that at a party really easily. if you go in not starving and have a little bit of a loose plan of attack around what you need to be doing.

Taryn Richardson  12:24

A good tip, if that's you, so you don't go chasing the hors d'oeuvres is to have a snack before you go. Have an apple, have a carrot, have some yogurt, have a handful of nuts, put your 30 gram nut serving in there before you go into a party that doesn't have a sit down meal or it only has nibbles. And that'll mean that you aren't 'Starvinator' when you turn up. And then when you are there, whatever it is you're eating, even if it's rum balls, doesn't matter, eat it mindfully so that you really savour the taste and the flavor. And you're getting the full benefit or the happy hormones out of eating that food - that you're actually there and present for that to happen.

Taryn Richardson  13:06

So often we eat distracted, we're watching our phones, we're still working on a computer, we're checking our emails through lunch. And there's no connection between what is going in your mouth hole and your brain. So if you need help with eating mindfully, I have recorded a little mini lesson about how to do this properly. And I'll link it in the show notes, if you do want to go and check that out. But pace yourself. It's not going to be your last meal. They won't run out of food. And if they do, hey, it's okay. There is plenty of food available for you in the world.

Taryn Richardson  13:40

Another tip is if you are heading to a party and you know you're going to be drinking alcohol, make sure you don't turn up really thirsty. You're more likely to absolutely scull that first drink, and then you're straight on to the next one. So have a glass of water or two before you go to make sure that you're not actually thirsty. And then you can pace yourself better with your alcohol too. Now, I'm not saying you should be the only sober one at the party. Gosh, that would be terrible. If everyone around you is loose, and you're sober, (although maybe that could be okay for you, but I wouldn't go to a party like that to be honest), but make sure you're hydrated.

Taryn Richardson  14:17

You've probably heard this before, but you can alternate an alcoholic drink with a non alcoholic drink. And maybe you've done it before but you've forgotten about it. Maybe it's one of the strategies you want to implement this season, so that you can manage your alcohol intake a bit more strategically than being thirsty, sculling and being first one on the floor.

Taryn Richardson  14:36

If these strategies are sounding useful, then you might want to go and check out my Festive Season Survival Guide. It is your one stop shop to manage the silly season. It's got a whole range of other tips in there that I'm not going to go through today, to help you manage this silly season. Try and avoid that extra weight gain that you've just resigned yourself to. But still also enjoy all the yummy food and alcohol and drinks and desserts that are on offer at this time of year. And enjoy them to their maximum flavour value, without feeling guilty for that later.

Taryn Richardson  15:10

There's also things in there about how to navigate a buffet and an Entertainers Guide. So if you're having to entertain for something, whether it's organising catering yourself or trying to coordinate that ‘everyone bring a plate thing’ (geez), or you having to cook for everyone, then there is my Dietitian Approved Entertainers Guide to help you manage each of those situations. And the best part is that there's a massive recipe index that's full of festive ideas for the Christmas season.

Taryn Richardson  15:39

There's 36 recipes in there that aren't in the recipe database. So there's 12 starters, 12 mains and, most importantly, 12 desserts. It's got things in there like strawberry Santa hats and reindeer cookies and my Christmas fruit tree. It's got my Dietitian Approved entertainers platter. It's got Christmas salad. There are so many things in there that if you do have to bring a dish or you're catering, that could just be like a one stop shop, I'll just go "Yep, I'll make this, this, this. Done." I think it's the only guide you'll need this season. So if you want to check it out, go to dietitianapproved.com/festive.

Taryn Richardson  16:17

And to say thank you for listening to me all year, I'm giving you a discount code to give you $12 off the guide. So if you use the code TNA for Triathlon Nutrition Academy, that'll give you a nice little discount on that guide. I'll pop that link in the show notes as well. Now, I want you to try and not stress through this period of time. Christmas can actually be that time of year that heightens people's anxiety. You might have a weird auntie who always gives you a hard time and judges you. Maybe you've got to hang out with your estranged father that you haven't seen all year, and that makes you feel anxious. Maybe you're a total introvert and all these get-togethers with all these people are just overwhelming for your senses.

Taryn Richardson  17:04

If you know that's you, then put some thought into some strategies to help you through that now, so that you don't get to the day before something and get completely overwhelmed. Maybe you need to block out your calendar or your diary on Boxing Day (so the day after Christmas), where you have no human interaction. Try not to overbook yourself as well. So if you know that there's too many things coming up, and you're not sure how you're going to make it to all of them. And you know that it's going to get to that time when you don't really want to go but you haven't said no yet. Just don't be a dick and say "No, that you don't want to go" NOW. Nice and early. Rather than being that person that always cancels the day before or the day of. Like, if you know that you don't want to go have some boundaries and just say no now. It's okay to say no.

Taryn Richardson  17:55

Be kind to yourself. But be firm with those boundaries if you know how you work. And you know what doesn't make you feel good. Remember, Christmas is just one day out of 365, so try not to let it overwhelm you. It's just one day, but manage your energy and your diary now.  I'm setting you up early for success. I also want you to get a little bit organised. So make a list and check it twice. D-load everything that you need to do or remember onto a piece of paper or into your favorite book. Brain dump everything so that you're not lying awake at night thinking, "Oh crap, I've got to buy cherries. And I've got to go and get this particular serviette," or whatever it is you're doing.

Taryn Richardson  18:39

Keep your phone with a note that says Christmas and brain dump everything into there, or have your favorite notebook that you're jotting things down so that you're not overwhelmed with all of the things that you have to do. And then if you can prioritise them, put stars next to the most important things that have to happen, put them in order of priority, and just start crossing through the list so we're not overwhelmed. Go from chaos, to calm and jot everything down as it comes to you. Try not to get distracted while you're going through the list. If you're doing something and you remember something else, just pop it down on the bottom of the list.

Taryn Richardson  19:17

I use this strategy all the time. There is a lot going on in my life. And I have a master list where everything goes. And that makes me feel so much more in control of the utter chaos that's going on in the background. It's at least written down there and I don't have to hold all that mental load in my brain all the time -  because there's a lot going on up there.

Taryn Richardson  19:38

Now this is not a nutrition strategy, but it'll help you if you take note. Go and get your Christmas shopping done early. I do mine in the Black Friday sale. So mine's actually already done and it's complete. And that means that I am not running around like a headless chicken on Christmas Eve buying shit that people don't actually want because you’re making a rash decision. Nobody needs to be at the shops on Christmas Eve.

Taryn Richardson  20:05

Maybe you want to do some online shopping now so things just turn up to your house. And doing that with enough time, so you're not having to spend more money on express shipping and things like that. If you're doing rushed present decision making, then you're more likely just spending money for spending's sake. And you'll end up with random hampers, or those things or the end of the aisles or those things that are packaged up perfectly for people like that. That is a gift, neatly gift wrapped at about the right dollar mark that is, you know, maybe what someone might like.

Taryn Richardson  20:07

Now, the Black Friday sales are a little bit late for you this year. But maybe you want to add a reminder for that for next year. And what I do (again, this is a really random non nutrition strategy) but I have a list in my phone of present ideas for everyone that I have to buy gifts for over my life. And if I ever think of something cool or see something cool, I write it down on the list. And that means that I'm not having to wrack my brain for good present ideas, in a rush right before Christmas.

Taryn Richardson  21:08

You're getting some interesting insight into my life with this episode that I didn't know was coming. There you go. So like I said, if you want some more help with some strategies around managing this silly season, go and grab the Festive Season Survival Guide.

Taryn Richardson  21:22

With that code TNA, you'll get $12 off. So in Aussie dollars, it's around $15. And if you're in the US, it's like less than $10. So it's nice and cost effective. And you can literally keep a dietitian in your pocket through the silly season. I'm happy to be your wingman through this time. So that link again is dietitianapproved.com/festive and I'll pop it in the show notes too so you can click straight there. I hope that's helped.

Taryn Richardson  21:49

Today, we went on a little bit of a non nutritional tangent. But thinking about setting up this season a little bit differently to last year doesn't have to be an overhaul, it doesn't have to be all of the things in the Survival Guide. Maybe just pick one thing that you know that you can do and implement. And if you can successfully do that you are way more in control. You're not letting others and a silly season, call those shots. And then next year, maybe you want to layer in one additional strategy so that consistent behavior change over time, is going to lead to a completely revolutionised silly season for you in years to come.

Taryn Richardson  22:30

Next week will be the final episode for the podcast for the year. And what I'm going to do is do a little bit of a 2022 in review. So I'm going to take you behind the scenes of what we've been up to this year. And what some of our plans are for 2023. And then I'm not going to leave you high and dry. We'll still be dropping weekly episodes over this break. But I'm going to showcase three of some of our best episodes - ones that you guys seem to love the most, you've listened to the most - so that you can still have me in your ear holes once a week if that's what you want. Or you can completely tap out and take a break as well and then catch yourself up when we hit January. And then we're starting January 2023 with a bang - so hold on to your britches , it's going to be a good one.

Taryn Richardson  23:24

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 can 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, @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 www.dietitianapproved.com/academy. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to helping you smashed in the fourth leg - nutrition! 

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