It’s that time of the year again - the season of indulgence. But while Christmas is a wonderful time to eat, drink and be merry, avoiding overindulgence is the key to steer clear of morning-after blues and New Year weight-loss panic. To enjoy the festivities without negative impact to your health (and waistline), we’ve rounded up a few tricks to a healthier Christmas.
1.Make a plan
By reading this article, you’ve already made a conscious choice to stay cleaner this Christmas. But what happens when you’re face-to-face with the party buffet? Plan to eat only a few items of your favourite foods - let’s say six. If you know your Aunt’s Yule log cake is going to be mouthwateringly good, pre-plan to eat less savoury snacks. By focussing on the very best, truly delicious items and eating them mindfully, you’ll genuinely enjoy your choices - rather than eating a bit of everything and feeling guilty afterwards.
You know the score - you’ll save up your calories for the huge Christmas dinner or party spread, only to sit down feeling ravenous and demolish the lot in two minutes. Instead, start your day with a big bowl of porridge. You’ll stabilise your blood sugar levels which will stave off increased appetite later in the day. This way, you’ll have hunger, but won’t be so hungry that you’ll want to gorge.
3.Squeeze in some exercise
It’s not necessary to commit to hours of exercise during the hectic holiday season, but you can keep your weight down if you fit in a few workouts a week. Each workout can be a short as 15 minutes - but by giving it your all, you’ll burn calories and keep the pounds off for the New Year. Don’t just plonk on the sofa all day, either - winter walks with the family are a refreshing way to speed up digestion after a big dinner.
Mulled wine, Bucks Fizz, Baileys, brandy… there’s plenty to guzzle during the festive season, but that doesn’t mean you have to overdo it. Alcohol units and calories can really mount up over Christmas, so try to keep tabs on what you’re drinking and sip plenty of water between alcoholic drinks. Before you head to a party for buffet and booze, guzzle two glasses of water and have alternate non-alcoholic drinks when you’re there. Stick to lighter-coloured drinks, which tend to be lower in chemical by-products and lessen the hangover in the morning.
5.Make it about festivities, not food
Enjoying party spreads and Christmas dinners with friends and family is a huge part of the festive season, but you don’t have to stuff yourself to truly experience it. To gorge less and eat more mindfully, engage your brain and keep your mind active. Round the family up for a game of Trivial Pursuit or Charades when you’re feeling the urge to munch. If that’s not possible, take some time-out and gather your thoughts with some simple meditation. Sit comfortable with a straight spine and tune into your breath as it flows in and out through your nose.