Six Tips On How To Stay Healthy During These Christmas Holidays
Friday, December 7, 2018
The Christmas season is full of magic, friendship, family and lots of love. But it's also a time for slothful eating and very limited physical activity, well it is on my part anyway! A year's worth of consistent exercising and somewhat healthy diet can feel like it all comes undone during the festive period. Sound familiar?
Did you know that on average Australians gain 0.8-1.5kg over the Christmas period. One to two kilograms might not sound like much but researchers have identified that weight gained over the holiday period is rarely loss.
I've learned the hard way throughout the summer festive years here in Australia, though, that eating without any structure or guideline in my head can result in overeating, which leaves me feeling lethargic, ballooned, and completely unenergized with the entire season.
Many of us follow the standard Australian Christmas festival protocol. Beer, Ham, Chicken, Seafood, Beach/Pool, Glairing Sun & heat and repeat this for a good week or so. We become creatures of habit in this ruthless and unforgiving Christmas routine.
I'm not saying I won't be victim to Christmas routine but I've finally locked down a little formula that helps me fully enjoy the holidays and all they have to offer — without the tummy pains, the super-tight boardies & the guilt trips I replay over and over again in my head. These are some of the principles and guidelines I follow every year to prevent unwanted weight gain and keep the body and mind relaxed and happy during the best time of the year.
Grab a healthy start
Always start the day with a healthy choice before tackling on the chocolate, confectionary or packed chips laying around in the house. Make a green or a berry smoothie garnished with some added greens. And if you are thinking of starting with a cooked breakfast, add some vegetables to complement your healthy breakie.
Don't go to any Christmas event hungry
It can be a mistake to arrive hungry to a function offering cocktail food. The temptation to shove lots of yummy treats in your mouth is hard to resist!
Try to grab a bite of a sandwich, salad, fruits, nuts, yogurt or something with high quality of protein in it to prepare you ahead of the Christmas function you're attending. This will help tame those hunger pains and the junk food you will inevitably find available at the Christmas gathering wont' seem such an attractive proposal then it did the year before.
Take a break off alcoholic drinks
I know it's difficult for some and crime for others but if you take one or two days off from the grog your liver, head and waistline will be ever grateful. We know alcohol for most us adds to the enjoyment of the festive events, but over-consuming alcohol will lead to weight gain. Be careful with top-ups. Topping up your glass can lead to you losing count of the amount you have been drinking, we've all been there! Finish one glass before accepting a top-up, well at least try too! Another big tip that I find works well for me is alternating your drinks. Alternate one alcoholic drink with one non-alcoholic drink such as water. Or you can alternate alcohol with water, soda water or diet soft drinks to keep your sugar intake down. Works a treat and you won't be nursing such a sore head the next day.
On the day of a big night out, and the day after, I make a conscious effort to drink 6-8 glasses of water, or plenty of herbal teas or diluted juice. Even mild dehydration can lead to that dreaded headache and combined with the diuretic effects of alcohol makes maintaining your fluid intake so important. Water will be your saving grace, trust me!
Once festive season parties and celebrations begin it is all too easy to swap 30 minutes of exercise for an extra drink. If you're a regular exercise goer like me the more time you spend out of your regular habit the harder it will be to restart your regular regime.
The festive season is all about family and friends. Try changing your normal exercise routine to fun activities the whole family can enjoy and participate in. Encourage a game of street or beach cricket with the kids, a backyard game of ‘chasey' or a swim at the beach. Social exercise does not feel like the regular “work out” but it gives everyone a chance to participate and you will get a physical benefit out of it.
We all know Christmas can send your stress levels into overdrive as well. I find taking some time out with doing some yoga, tai chi or Pilates via on youtube is a great alternative exercise to not just combat stress levels but shakes up my exercise routine as well. Adjusting your routine marginally will keep you energetic and you will be more likely to be motivated come the new year.
Try To Get Some Sleep
It's so easy to be burnt out after the festive season instead of feeling refreshed and ready for another working year. How many times are we all guilty at overdoing it and over committing to events, family and friends during the Christmas period. I can't stress how important is to use this time to have some time off and allow your mind and body to revitalise itself. Sleep and rest are essential, as you try to wind down for the year.
Did you know sleep boosts the immune system, repairs muscle tissue and is crucial for daily body function. Poor sleep affects hormones that regulate appetite. Those who get adequate sleep tend to eat fewer calories than those who don't. Getting at least eight hours of sleep can improve your immune function and help fight off any suspicions of the common cold Along with nutrition and exercise, good sleep is one of the pillars of health not just for the Christmas period but your health in general.
Most importantly, have a happy, healthy festive season! Hopefully some of my own personal experiences & tips can keep that mind and body healthy for the Christmas season.