|The festive season is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year and yet, the reality is that most of us probably have mixed feelings about it. Christmas can be stressful and overwhelming enough in ‘normal’ times, but it can seem worse this year where everything has been taken away from us. The fear of missing out may drive the temptation to turn the whole of December into a giant mince pies and chocolate fest washed down by frightening amounts of festive tipples, followed by crash dieting in January. Do not worry, I am not going to turn into the Grinch and advocate crazy juice cleanses or complete abstinence from your favourite foods and drinks. Instead, I will share my tips to eat, drink and be merry in a healthy way and find balance this Christmas.|
– Do not try to diet now! Set a maintenance goal instead which is more realistic and achievable and gives you the freedom to enjoy yourself without feeling deprived or like a failure.
– Watch your portion sizes and drink plenty of water to avoid overeating.
– Eat regularly: instead of grazing constantly, try to leave at least 4 hours between meals and 12 hours overnight.
– Try to have more booze-free nights than not. This will allow your body to recover and help you to sleep better, wake up feeling more refreshed, have more energy, have better mood and store less belly fat.
– On the days you drink, decide how much you are going to drink in advance and tell someone to hold you accountable. Alternate each glass of alcohol with a glass of water. It is also better to drink alcohol alongside meals.
– Swap sugary drinks with less sugary ones e.g. Prosecco, Champagne, vodka or gin with soda with a squeeze of lime, dry white, dry rosé or red wine. Unfortunately, dark rum, Bailey’s, sherry, liqueurs, eggnog, fruit juice-based cocktails and spirits with Coke or lemonade are total sugar bombs.
3. Be merry:
– Prioritise sleep (so simple but often not on people’s radar): plan sleep in your diary to make it easier to action.
– Manage stress: try 10 minutes of meditation or go for a brisk walk and some fresh air daily. Tins of chocolates as a way of coping with stress will never be an answer to what you really need, no matter how they make you feel at the time.
– Self-care: do something just for you, for the joy of doing it rather than to achieve something. This is one of the best ways to empty your stress bucket.
Let’s be real, rich foods and alcohol are going to happen! We are all prone to a little indulgence at Christmas but it does not have to be a dance between deprivation and over-indulgence. And if you happen to over-indulge, ban any self-recrimination and be gentle with yourself. Enjoy this time of the year and get back on track afterwards.