5 Ways To Stay Healthy During Christmas
Christmas is no longer a one day celebration. The festive fun kicks off mid-November, and with that comes Christmas parties and events that lead well into the new year. With all this food and drink temptation, many people find it challenging to stick with their healthy living goals. There are ways to lessen the damage and keep yourself on track and we've found some of the best tips to help you through the festive season.
1. Make smart food choices where you can
Christmas parties are abundant and full of indulgent options, so there will be times when you are not in control of what’s on offer. However, you are able to plan your food choices every other time – so make the most of this. If you know you have a Christmas party in the evening, make sure you have lean and nutritious meals and snacks during the day, and the following day. If you’re able to eat well for most meals, then the few meals that you have out won’t have such a big impact.
2. Adjust the quantity of food you eat during the day
Depending on how you would like to approach your Christmas event, you may wish to adjust the quantity of food you eat during the day. For example, if you would prefer to eat only a small amount of food at your event, it’s smart not to arrive hungry! Make sure you fill up on protein and fibre rich meals during the day, and consider adding a snack just prior to the party. If you would prefer to enjoy the food and drink on offer without reservation, consider having smaller meals during the day, or eliminating snacking, to allow a little wriggle room (in moderation still, of course)!
3. Eat mindfully
While it’s okay to treat yourself over Christmas, there’s also nothing wrong with saying no to foods or drinks you don’t want. Don’t feel the need to eat or drink ‘just because it’s Christmas’, or to keep up with other party-goers. Eating mindfully also means eating slowly, and enjoying every mouthful. You may find this approach will enhance your experience whilst minimising excess eating, and the uncomfortable ‘overfull’ feeling that follows!
4. Maintain regular exercise
Over the festive season, our routine is disrupted and we may be tempted to let our exercise regime slip. It’s important to keep up regular exercise during this time, to balance out the overindulgences that come with the festive season. Fortunately, we have the warm weather and longer daylight hours to motivate us, and get us moving outdoors. Go for an early morning power-walk before work, join an outdoor group fitness class with friends, or do some laps in the pool ‘the day after’ to help you recover!
5. Watch your fluids
Dehydration risk increases over summer, with symptoms including fatigue, low mood, and reduced performance. Dehydration can also be mistaken for hunger, and with more chocolates floating around the office, this can be dangerous! Make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids, with still or sparkling water being your first choice. Be aware of the other drinks you plan to consume, too. Alcohol is a big contributor of excess kilojoules, and it may be helpful to give yourself an alcohol limit each week, or per event. Alternate your alcoholic drinks with water; this will help avoid a nasty hangover too. Summer smoothies, juices and mocktails may be high in sugar, so choose options that use fresh produce, with a higher vegetable to fruit ratio, and no sorbets. Christmas is a busy and potentially stressful time of year but you can reduce the stress you have around eating and weight gain by following these few tips. Enjoy your time off with friends and family and don’t forget that a few parties won’t make you overweight. It’s about what you do on all the other days of the year that really count.