Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Holiday Secrets For Smart And Busy People

Seven ways how to stay fit and slim over the holidays

Boris and I are both total foodies, we love to eat, taste, explore and discover new culinary creations. Wherever new things pop up, we are always in the first row to trying to get inspiration out of it and of course, indulge from time to time. Now even for us health addicts  the upcoming holiday season can be quite a challenge, since you are constantly overwhelmed with tempting smells, tastes, holiday celebrations etc. Believe me, we also do indulge sometimes.

However, to keep it all in perfect balance we remind ourselves of seven simple strategies to stay healthy, slim and fit. What I like most about these guidelines, they help me stay on track on 365 days of the year, not just the holidays.

1. Eat less
For me the easiest way to stay fit is too simply eat less/moderate quantities. While neither starving nor staying away from social gatherings are worthy options, consuming a decent rather than an over-proportionate amount of food is the way to go.

Remember, the average man needs about 2.500 calories per day whereas the average woman needs about 2.000 calories (actual values depend on age, level of physical activity, etc. …). Since this dietary rule doesn’t take a leaf of absence during Christmas, eating excessively more than what you need will sooner or later show up as an unwanted love handle or a chubby behind.

2. Eat smarter
Another great approach is to eat more of the “good” foods as often as you can while consuming the “not so optimal” foods in moderation. “Good” foods include anything with low to medium fat, sugar, and calorie content, but with a high nutritional value:  salads, green juices and smoothies, soups or simply raw fruits and vegetables. Eating a plethora of good stuff (when you are hungry) will give you the nutrition, satisfaction and energy you need, while also balancing out heavy foods.

Tip: Since my empty stomach is greedier than my full one, I enjoy a big serving of salad or green smoothie before a social event.

3. Watch your alcohol intake
Alcohol has by the far the most calories (7kcal/1gram) in contrast to protein or carbohydrates, this being an underestimated intake of calories. Hence, stronger drinks are heavier on the calories. Last but not least: the tipsier you get, the lower are your inhibitions to consume even more (food or drinks).

This rule has always worked for me: I stop once it starts to tingle and I begin to giggle! And some rare time, you might just not stop, and that's okay as well, just have the double detox green juice next day and remind yourself of balance and you'll be fine :-)

4. Exercise
There is no argument that exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. It keeps muscles active, trains the cardiovascular system, and lucky us: burns unwanted calories. If you feel your last meal was a bit too much, add some extra exercise if you like your body to stay the way it is. As hard it is to leave the comforts of our cosy warm homes

Especially when it’s cold outside I sometimes have to literally force myself to get active though. After all, who wants to leave the comfort of a cosy warm home? However, after dragging myself to exercise like taking a spin on the bike, a quick stop at the gym or anything else that makes me sweat and my heart pumping, the wonderful feeling that comes with it is simply priceless and a great reminder, that being physically active makes you not only slim and fit but also happy.

5. Balance your meals
Like all things in life for me it’s all about the golden balance. Spending money vs. saving it, being lazy vs. being active or eating a lot vs. eating little, you know how the equation works. As mentioned in previous points, if you eat a lot on day just eat a bit less the next day so your scale stays on the right side.

6. You are the boss!
Whether you are dining with friends, co-workers or even family, always keep in mind that you are in charge of what and how much you eat. Don’t let others talk you into consuming something you know won’t be beneficial for you.

Additionally, it is important to be aware of the proper etiquette to deal with situations in an elegant and sophisticated way. I love giving compliments to the host, kindly denying more food or just nibbling slowly on small foods are polite ways that will always leave a good impression. For further help on etiquette and manners, check out

Most importantly: Don't just eat to eat or because it's there or it's time to eat. Eat, if you are hungry or have proper appetite and eat only tasty things that you REALLY like and that are of good quality! Most of the people eat too much foods out of habit and just because they are there, not because they actually particularly enjoy it. If I don't get what I want, I rather wait, go hungry for a while, then get real appetite and will enjoy and digest much better the good stuff.

7. Detox
Researching detox methods can be hard and challenging, due to an overwhelming amount of experts claiming to have found the best way. What has worked for me in the past is to pick a day or timeframe where I merely fuel my body with plenty of good foods (point no. 2) and avoid the evil ones. Combine it with some exercise, a good night full of sleep and our yummy detox smoothie, and I felt as good as new again.

Detox smoothie
100g greens (kale, dandelion, swiss chard or similar)
100g celery
2 oranges, peeled
1 lemon, peeled
10g ginger
5g parsley
250ml coconut water (substitute with plain water)

2 small apples, unpeeled
1 tbsp flax seed oil
Pinch of chili powder

Yield: 1200ml

1. Blend greens, celery, oranges, lemon, ginger, parsley and water in a high-performance blender until a smoothie consistency is reached. For a more liquid or thick consistency adjust water content.
2. For desired sweetness, add the apples or other fruit.
3. After blending thoroughly, add flax seed oil and chili, pulse it in quickly.
4. Enjoy right now or chilled.

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