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All about the balance

Managing the balance this festive season and still feel healthy, energised and confident.

As summer warms up, so too do the festivities! Social occasions tend to come on thick and fast in the lead up to the Summer break, with end of year functions, cup and show week (for those of us local to Canterbury) and Christmas celebrations. On top of this, work deadlines and achieving your 2022 goals can really put the pressure on. This can often mean balance goes out the window and end of year fatigue can really set in. 

5 top tips to help you manage the festive season 

With these 5 top tips, you’ll be able to manage the festive season and approach the summer holiday feeling energised, healthy and confident.

1. Aim for the 80/20 balance 

Rather than viewing a social event as a potential curve ball to throw you off your healthy path, see it as a part of your ‘20%’ for that week. 

The 80/20 mindset helps us to understand that we can still achieve our health goals and feel great whilst only incorporating our healthy lifestyle changes 80% of the time, leaving the additional 20% for a touch of indulgence. You can choose how you wish to spend your 20%, but the importance is in the fact that you do! It’s the 20% that makes these lifestyle changes so sustainable, as it can help to remove feelings of deprivation or challenges that can drive us to give up on the healthy habits we’ve created. 

It’s also important to give yourself grace, and where a week might end up looking more like 70/30, know that that’s okay. It’s because of your social calendar rather than your willpower or effort, and you’ll get back to the 80/20 next week. 

This is the true definition of everything in moderation, including moderation!  

2. Pre-prepare

A lot of poor decisions around food, exercise and other aspects of health aren’t always intentional, but can be due to time scarcity and convenience. Convenient options for foods, like takeaways, can be a great tool to lean on on occasion, but there are plenty of other options we can look to for fast and healthy food!

Meal kits can be a great tool to utilise during a busy period, or to have delivered after you’ve been away for the weekend. Supermarkets now have great heat and eat options for some of the classic home-cooked meals, and a wide selection of pre chopped or frozen veggies to help speed up the meal prepping process. And if it is takeaways that you go for, you can find much healthier options today, with poke bowls, Mediterranean or Aisan cuisines oftentimes offering lighter choices.

3. Alcohol

Alcohol is fine to enjoy in moderation, but here’s 3 quick points to be aware of: 

  1. Pure alcohol per gram has almost as much energy (7 calories) as fats (the most calorie-dense nutrient at 9 calories). This means that the higher the alcohol percentage, the more calories that are coming from alcohol. Try having just one nip of spirits for a lighter option e.g. in a vodka soda.


  2. Alcoholic beverages vary hugely in sugar and carb content (this is in addition to the energy from alcohol). Opt for dry style wines or low sugar mixers to help reduce the sugar/carb intake.


  3. Even just one alcoholic beverage in the evening can impact our quality (REM) sleep which can lead to poor blood sugar control (more on this in the next tip!)


4. Don’t discount the importance of sleep

Has your stomach ever felt like a bottomless pit on the day that follows a late night out?

This is thanks to your lack of sleep. Sleep and food are the two main ways we can charge our batteries. When sleep is lacking, our body will drive our appetite to help top up that missing energy. When our body is seeking out energy it tends to look for fast-delivering, high energy foods such as simple carbs and sugars, and higher fat foods (and ideally, foods that are both like potato chips or chocolate bars). 

Research has shown us that getting just 4-5 hours sleep a night for 2 weeks, reduces our insulin function by 50%, driving unstable blood sugars and sugar cravings. This means that previously very healthy people with no insulin resistance, could be diagnosed as prediabetic after just 2 weeks of sleep deprivation. 

Sleep is so often overlooked in terms of our health, but a good night’s sleep is just as important as the foods we eat, or exercise we do. During the festive season we highly recommend you to prioritise sleep to help you avoid the blood sugar rollercoaster and cravings, and keep your energy charging right through to Christmas! 

5. The power of protein

Some of our poorest decisions (and moods!) can come on when we’re hungry. Wanna know our biggest tool to avoid this? Protein!

Protein is the most satiating nutrient. It keeps us feeling fuller for longer, and helps our focus and energy levels. It’s too often nutritionists see particularly women not eating enough protein, which can lead to poor blood sugar control, sugar and carb cravings, weight gain (particularly around the midsection), fatigue and more.

Protein can help to stabilise our blood sugars, getting us off that blood sugar rollercoaster, which helps to reduce our cravings and fast onset hunger, and helps us make better decisions – especially when we’re out and about and around food. Try having a protein-rich snack (such as boiled eggs, beef jerky or canned tuna on seedy crackers) or meal before you head out. 

Stay healthy this festive season! x



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Chats with Han – Toni Street

Toni Street shares what being healthy means to her and the challenges of her autoimmune disease. We talk about running the house and managing busy routines.