Christmas is the time of year that we all love and loath in equal measure. The festive season is a fantastic time to catch up with family and friends and take a well-earned break after another busy year. It’s also the time of year when it’s all too easy to forget about staying healthy. It’s expected that we will overindulge.
If you don’t want to do too much damage over the Christmas and New Year party season, we’ve put together some top tips for keeping things healthy over the next couple of weeks:
1. Don’t make food your focus
For many food becomes a primary focus during the festive period, this can lead to overindulgence because you’ve decided that you can let things go for a couple of weeks. Rather than spending your Christmas and New Year eating everything in sight, make your focus catching up with friends and family and having fun. Play games, talk, and get out and about to see people and enjoy the fresh air. Try to avoid too many sessions that involve sitting in front of the TV and snacking on whatever is within reach.
2. Choose healthy tipples
One of the easiest ways to undo all of your hard work over the past 12 months is to drink too much at Christmas. With cocktails, wine with meals, celebratory champagne, and rich festive liquors, the calories soon start to add up. To keep things under control, try to limit the amount of alcohol that you drink and also try to choose healthier options. Stay away from sugary or creamy cocktails and stick to wine or tonic based drinks. Having a glass of water for every alcoholic drink can also reduce calorie intake and help you to avoid the dreaded hangover.
3. Make exercise social
Christmas is a social time, we meet with friends and family and have a real opportunity to catch up and have some fun. Why not include exercise in your socialising, go for a family walk after lunch, get out the Wii, or clear the cobwebs on a family bike ride.
4. Watch your portion sizes
There’s often more than enough food to go around over the festive period. This encourages us to eat more than we would normally. By keeping to sensible portion sizes and eating little and often, you will avoid festive bloat and weight gain.
5. Limit the number of ‘treats’ you allow yourself each day
We all deserve a treat or two at Christmas but it’s all too easy to go overboard. Limit yourself to one or two treats a day. Keep in mind our other tips about portion sizes and taking the overall focus of the season away from food and you should find it easier to step back onto the scales in January.
6. Stock up on healthy snacking alternatives
Snacks don’t have to be unhealthy. Why not add some healthier options, such as raw vegetables and dips, fruit, and nuts to your shopping list? They still taste great but without expanding your waistline.
7. Only eat when you’re hungry
This is rule that many of us follow for the rest of the year but over Christmas it seems to go out of the window. To avoid eating when you’re not hungry try to stay in sync with your family’s eating patterns and ask yourself if you are really still hungry before you help yourself to that second mince pie. Awareness of what your body needs is key.