Maintaining balance over the festive season

The silly season has well and truly arrived!

With all the Christmas parties, celebrations, family catch ups and socialising at this time of the year, it can feel like a HUGE challenge to stay on track. There seems to be an endless amount of alcohol and decadent food! And while it’s really important to allow yourself time to relax and enjoy yourself with family and friends, you CAN do so without completely undoing all of your progress (if that’s something you want to do).

Here are some of our simple tips to help you survive the silly season and head into 2023 feeling like your best self!

Assess your intake

Is dieting over this time going to be realistic for you? This is a conversation that we have with all of our clients. There is no point setting yourself up for failure or to feel like you are missing out by trying to stick to a ridiculous calorie target. Often, increasing your calories to maintenance can do wonders for compliance and your mental state as you will feel a lot less restricted! Ask yourself if taking a less restrictive approach and accepting that you will just maintain your weight over this time is a better option for you. It is certainly what we will be doing!

Plan ahead

Set yourself up for success by planning ahead as much as possible. A lot of people eat out a lot more at this time of the year. When planning to eat out, try to factor in that meal first. If you aren’t sure what you will be eating then it is best to save a good amount of calories (600-800). If you are wanting to go all out then there are a few strategies to help you have up some extra calories:

  • If you know in advance, save up some calories by reducing your intake in the delays leading up to the meal out so you can have a higher calorie day. We recommend saving no more than 100-200 calories per day.
  • Reduce your calorie intake earlier in the day by having a protein shake for breakfast or eating sources of lean protein with low calorie salads/vegetables. This will help to keep you feeling full and allow you to save more carbs and fat macros for the meal out.
  • Utilise fasting for a period of the day (eg. delay your breakfast). This can decrease the window of eating, allowing more calories to be saved.


If you are choosing to track your food over this period, you’re likely going to be eating out more than usual and consuming meals where you aren’t 100% sure of the nutritional content. And that’s ok! If you do have the option of choosing what you will eat, choose something that is easy to track. Break it down into a basic ingredients list or search for something similar using the MyFitnessPal database. Remember, it is always better to track something than to track nothing at all. Also, it is better to overestimate the serving size than to underestimate from a calorie perspective. This gets easier with time and the more experience you have measuring portions at home, you will become more accurate at estimating the portions when eating food you haven’t prepared and weighed.

Reduce calories where you can

Be mindful of the calories you are consuming, and find ways you can make your choice a little less calorie dense. Think about leaner protein sources, less calorie dense carbs, and reducing fat where possible. Another way to reduce the caloric total of your meal is to limit sauces and dressings or choose lower calorie drinks.

Set an alcohol budget

Drinking is often a big part of eating out and socialising with friends at this time of the year. A few alcoholic beverages can take out a large amount of your daily calories. It’s important to be aware of this and how quickly they can add up, especially when combined with food or a meal! Try and set yourself a calorie budget for alcohol for the party/event, alternate your alcoholic drinks with water and drink slowly. Check out our article on alcohol for more helpful tips!

Stay hydrated

Depending on where you are in the world, this time of year can be HOT. It is very easy to become dehydrated – especially if you’re drinking alcohol too! Make sure you are constantly sipping on water throughout the day, especially before and during Christmas parties! Making an effort to drink more water on days after you have eaten high carb or high sodium foods will also help to minimise fluid retention.

Move your body

Try to keep up with your normal training routine as much as possible throughout the festive period. If you’re on holidays and don’t have access to a gym, then mix it up with some body weight circuits or outdoor training to get your body moving. Find some fun ways to move that also gets friends and family involved – like a game of basketball at the park or games at the beach!

Don’t stress & stay flexible!

If you’re somewhat mindful about what you eat and drink, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy yourself at parties/events without undoing your hard work. Going over your calories occasionally or not tracking a few meals isn’t going to make you gain an excessive amount of fat. As with everything, moderation is the key and if you follow the 80/20 guideline, you’ll keep yourself feeling your best! One of our favourite sayings during this time is memories over macros. Life is too short to miss out on fun, festivities and memories with loved ones because of a restrictive diet!

If you need help with accountability over the festive period but without the restriction, we can help you! We are still taking on new clients for our 1:1 Personalised Coaching! Click here for more info!

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