It’s that time of the year again where the family is first and food is second. It is safe to say that Kenyans love an occasion to eat. Weddings, Funerals, and everything in between there will be food, and a lot of it. This is especially true of holidays and most of all Christmas holidays. Be it going to shags to be overfed with the goat that was slaughtered by cucu or going to a resort in Coast to eat hotel food with a side or two of dessert. Christmas can utterly mess with your staying healthy plans.
Then we get into January and the scale becomes your biggest fear and we start again with the New Year’s resolutions. 1. Go to the gym. 2. Go on a diet. 3. Lose weight. Not to mention at that point in time our pockets and bank accounts are almost always half empty, so where we’re getting the money to go to the gym and start buying organic foods becomes a mystery. So how about this Christmas and New Year’s season we skip the whole cycle and find a way to not stray too much but still enjoy life? To have your cake and eat it too, wouldn’t that be fabulous?
Here are a few ways to do that.
Do outdoor activities with your loved ones. Christmas naturally means spending more time with your family and/or significant other. There are two options. You can either laze around in the house doing nothing together or you can go out and catch the sun. This is the perfect opportunity to go out hiking, take walks, and even swimming (especially if you fortunate enough to be the sides of Coast). Take turns planning activities and do at least three outdoorsy ones a week. Bonus is you get to have an adventure with your loved ones.
Drink your Water! Now more than ever it is important to stay hydrated. Especially under the December Kenyan sun. Carry a bottle around with you ever, and realize that water allows you to stay fuller longer, allowing you to not binge on the unneeded snacks. Water also aids your digestive system so if you do eat some bad foods it helps get rid of it quicker. Aim for two litres a day and watch the difference it makes in your eating patterns.
Ditch the drinks? Alcohol is available a lot we know, at Christmas parties, at family, gatherings and the like. But overdoing it will definitely set you back some. Some tips for moderation. Volunteer to be the designated driver so that you are not obliged to drink. Find non-alcoholic beverages you enjoy and have them instead. There are other ways to have a good time.
Herbal teas are your friend! Stock up on the herbal teas. When you crave a hot coffee or cocoa why don’t you reach for a jasmine and green tea sachet instead? Kericho Gold, especially has a beautiful range of herbal teas that will be your best friend if you let them. Substitute the caffeine for something more digestive friendly and healthier.
Fifteen minute workout a Day. I know we want to give excuses and it’s hard but the truth is holidays means a lot more free time as we don’t have work or school obligations. It is not impossible to squeeze in fifteen minutes a day to move your body. You can do it first thing when you wake up or right before you go to bed to keep your circulation flowing and your metabolism going. Believe me those fifteen minutes will make all the difference. You can aim for five days a week.
Cook more, eat out less. It is easier to control what you consume when the meal preparation is in your hands. You can find ways to make it a little healthier by for example reducing the oil portions, adding more greens and veggies, using whole ingredients, amongst other things. All these things aren’t in your control when you go out to eat.
Eat your cravings! Do not lie to yourself and say you will quit all the unhealthy foods over the holiday period. Trying to resist cravings will only make it that much easier to binge later on. If there is nyama choma and fries, or cake and ice cream, live your life and indulge a little. The key here is moderation. Satisfy the craving but don’t overdo it.
If you have any more tips for staying in shape during the holiday seasons please feel free to share them in the comments below.
Shingai is an upcoming writer with a passion for words and expression through writing. She lived in Zimbabwe as a child and has traveled to over ten countries. She craves adventure and hopes to be an inspirational writer. She is currently pursuing a degree in English Literature with a minor in Psychology at Daystar University.