How do I handle the festive season?

How do I handle the festive season?

December 12, 2018

Need some help making smart choices this time of year? Guest Blogger and Dietician Harriet Walker gives us a little bit of advice on how to tackle the festive season guilt free.

I have thought about this a lot (For transparency, I'm writing this nursing a wee hangover). I have written tips and tricks for managing the extra festivities over December, and I have had people report that it helps! But I have also had a lot if people describe being wracked with guilt because they ate 'a small meal before to avoid over-eating' and still ate the same amount because the food looked delicious. I find it very hard to provide advice to people that only applies to 4 weeks of the year, when I really believe that if you factor in anniversaries, weddings, Friday afternoon work drinks, Easter, birthdays, engagements, office morning teas, conferences, holidays etc., that this time of year is no more 'dangerous' than any other time of the year! It is very rare that you get a free run where all you can do is focus on food and training.

We actually need to develop habits that are practiced year-round. There really isn't a 'trick' in December that doesn't apply from Jan-Nov! Food is there all year round. It's delicious and also helps us stay healthy. But the health and body composition impact is a sum of long term patterns. And from a behaviour perspective, it is important that we are able to stand adjacent to a grazing table and not feel a. Guilty for enjoying it and b. Not feel like it's taking every inch of will not to dive into the prosciutto wrapped crostini head first.

A handful of Christmas events aren't going to kill you, and in fact are probably going to have you feeling better connected and happy! When it's not party time, it can be back to the boring sensible stuff. That's it! Ask anyone who you think looks in good nick most of the year and I'd bet 90% have found a pattern that works for them but allows them not to flip out when it comes to social occasions. So there are my thoughts. Annoying? Maybe. But given my current fragile state, I think I did pretty well no?

Photo credit: @jamesjoel @98rileystgym


Harriet Walker is a fully accredited sports dietitian and personal trainer.  She has worked with hundreds of clients, including professional athletes, to help them reach their nutrition, health and training goals.  When Harriet is not working in the nutrition, you will find her competing at a local and national level in a number of sports including surf boat rowing and strong woman competitions.

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