Christmas and New Years are fun and magical times where indulging rides a fine line between self love and unhealthy. During this time of the year I like to reconnect with loved ones, go to all the Christmas parties and celebrate the year that was. Over the years I have found that these 7 tips have helped me to stay on track and even keep health as my priority.
Christmas is just around the corner, the year has flown by so fast! Hopefully you have achieved many great things this year and are ready to jump into 2019 feeling bright, confident, refreshed, supported and loved. With the silly season in full swing I have had a few people asking me how I stay on track over the Christmas/New Year party season. If I am being completely honest, this month my normal routine and health goals have really shifted. I know this time of the year is one where I catch up with friends and family, have later nights out, drink and eat more and move less. Because of this I take this time to really nourish my soul and just maintain my body and where it is at. In this time my focus is not on losing fat, gaining lean muscle, increasing my squat or running 5kms. This time for me is about engaging with the people I love, enjoying delicious good quality food, indulging with a cocktail or two and really embracing and sinking into this time of comfort and joy.
In saying that, I don't throw out everything I have been working towards. During this time I follow some handy healthy tips I have come across over the years and make sure over this silly season I'm not taking steps backwards health wise. This is a time where you should be able to connect and engage with others while feel joyous and loved. Take the stress out of your silly season with these 7 tips for a healthier Christmas and New Year.
TIP 1. Eat in Order
Christmas for me is a day of eating, drinking, mingling, laughing, eating, drinking, laughing some more and sharing presents. Oh and eating. I generally travel about from family to family where the hosts have lovingly set out a banquets of food over following with veggies, meat, gravy, seafood and desserts. Each year I head in telling myself I wont gorge myself on too much food and every year I do just that. The best tip I have come across when tackling this issue is to eat in order. So the order is vegetables, meats, carbohydrates and finally dessert. What does that mean? It means you can most certainly fill your plate up but make sure you fill it up in that order and when you sit down to eat, eat in that order too. This means you get all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals from the vegetables and meat before you start eating some of the less healthy foods that can trick you into eating more, feeling bloated and leaving you sluggisha nd tired afterwards.
TIP 2. Small and Slow
This has been a tip that has been around for what seems like forever and that is because it works. Grab a smaller plate and eat your food slowly. Using a smaller plate will trick the eye an ultimately your tummy, by using a smaller plate you will portion out smaller serving sizes meaning you are more likely to consume less and avoid those extra calories. Eating slowly is another great tip because it not only forces you to enjoy your meal, but you can converse and enjoy your meal with others while giving your body time to give you signals to say it is full, again reducing the likelihood of over eating.
TIP 3. Drink more Water
As I mentioned before, Christmas and New Years is a time for me where I drink more alcohol and really celebrate with my friends and family. This means that not only am I consuming more calories through my drinking but I am also inundating my body with a toxin. Now I am not telling you to drink less bubbly or to give up a nice cold beer but be conscience of how much you are drinking and try to introduce a glass of water in between each glass of wine. This will not only help with the dreaded hangover later but will also help you to feel fuller for longer.
TIP 4. Really engage
The silly season is a time where family and friends come together to spend the end of another year and welcome in the new. It is at this time that I will see a lot of people that I maybe haven't seen in a while and we can catch up and celebrate together. This is a particular time where I try not to be on my phone, I want to connect, talk and have fun with the people I love. Maybe organise a game of backyard cricket, a walk along the beach or in nature, play with the kids, even something as small as charades is a great idea not only to use when catching up but also to increase your movement throughout this time as well as mental stimulation. Add in a little extra movement and I guarantee you'll be feeling better at the end of the month. And if your excuse is your family wont do it. Wake up just that 15mins earlier and go for a walk around the block before you head of to the big family lunch.
TIP 5. Get a good nights Sleep
Sleep is an incredibly important regulator of mood and hormones. If you are wanting to eat less, feel more energetic and be overall happier this silly season make sure you are sleeping well. This will not only having you bouncing out of bed on Christmas morning but it will keep your hormones in check making it easier for you to not only eat less but it will actually allow the body to burn more fat and maintain your body weight.
TIP 6. The morning after
So you had a big day full of food and alcohol, nice! I hope you had a lot of fun and reconnected with many of your friends and family. Today is a new day and if you are feeling a little less healthy and energetic, today is the day to change it. You don't need to wait for January 1! The day after your celebration is the perfect time to get up and move, eat smaller, healthier meals and even catch up on some self care. By taking a day to really love and care for your body you can off set a lot of the not so healthy choices made the day before. Don't get stuck in the trap of well it doesn't matter, I'll wait until next year and then I'll go back to being healthy. That is a slippery slope, it not only means you might be going into the New Year feeling less healthy but it also means you have an even bigger mental hurtle to jump as you enforced that health is not one of your priories.
TIP 7. Don't beat yourself up
Finally and maybe even most importantly, don't beat yourself up! A couple of days of extra indulgence is not going to instantly add 5kgs to your body. Really health is all about consistency so if over this time you fall off the wagon just make sure you dust yourself off and get back on it. Don't waste time waiting for New Years Day to come around. Have your fun as you see fit but in the times where you come back to normal life, spend your time doing things that are beneficial to you and your health. Make sure you are keeping health as your priority but don't feel ashamed about letting your hair out every now and again and indulging in the fun and magic that is the silly season.
Christmas and New Years is a beautiful and magical time. A time for you to have your fun, connect with your loved ones, eat all the pavlova you want and indulge in a few wines or cocktails. Really think about the tips above and have a think about how you could incorporate healthier practices into your festive season without impeding on the fun and joy of this time. Finish this year on an absolute high because 2018 deserves just as much respect as the coming 2019!