Christmas holidays can be the best time of the year, where you get to relax and spend time with your family. It can also be the most stressful time of the year, when keeping everyone happy can mean forgetting your own needs!
So with that in mind, here is my tried and tested Christmas Survival Guide - guaranteed to get you through the holidays with your health and happiness intact.
Party in moderation
You know it’s Christmas when the invitations to parties start rolling in. It can get exhausting!
I have a few tips on how to survive the party season…and the first is to be picky about the Christmas functions you want to attend. It sounds harsh, but parties are often a place of over-indulgence, so choosing the ones that are really important to you will mean you don’t have to put yourself in that situation too often. Remember you’re not 21 anymore!
If you’re going to a Christmas party, have a small protein-based snack BEFORE you go so you’re not starving when you get there. A delicious Chia Pudding or an Energy Bar are delicious and filling snacks to enjoy.
Drink alcohol only in moderation – if you struggle with this try drinking a glass of water between alcoholic beverages, or if you are taking your drinks along, only take the number of drinks you plan to have.
Don’t try and do everything
This is the most important point of all. Christmas can be impossible if you try and take it all on yourself. Make sure to ask family members to bring a plate, or divvy up the parts of the meal so that each person is contributing. You’ll be surprised how much easier your day can be and how much enjoyment others can get from being involved! You can even apply this principle to presents - rather than stressing over buying every single family member a gift, try having a secret santa with a spending limit. The gifts are much more thoughtful, and you’ll save your pocket and your stress levels.
Keep up the exercise
I always tell my clients to aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise, 5 times a week. It’s a great way to keep on track despite being out of your normal daily work routine.
If you’re off work, why not try to combine fun and exercise? Swimming at the beach, a family bush walk, tennis with friends - all of these are great ways to get exercise, Vitamin D and spend time with the people you care about.
Have a plan for your food
It’s so easy to get out of routine over Christmas and put on a few extra kilos. You can still enjoy Christmas, but it doesn’t have to be at the expense of your health.
On Christmas day, don’t waste your calories on junk food. Choose one or two treats that you would like to partake in, and stick to those. Indulge, and then get back on the healthy bandwagon for the rest of the holidays.
For the rest of the holiday period, give yourself the option of two cheat meals per week. Pick them, plan for them, and enjoy them! This could be pizza with the family on a Friday night, or takeaway Thai on a Sunday when you don’t feel like cooking. Remember, if you slip up, don’t give up altogether. One bad meal doesn’t make a bad diet, just as one good meal doesn’t make a good diet.
When you are eating, it’s important to eat mindfully. Be aware of the taste and texture, take time to chew and digest, and never eat on two feet. It’s also a good idea to eat your meal at the table - eating in front of the TV or in bed links eating to relaxation and entertainment, which can lead to mindless overeating and emotional eating.
Oh, and only eat with people you like. You don’t want to end up with indigestion!
Believe it or not, it is possible to get to the New Year and be the same weight as you are now, or even lighter. If you make a pact to eat healthy, exercise and follow the simple tips above, you’ll be well on your way.
Finally, there’s no such thing as the ‘perfect’ Christmas - sometimes you might be let down when something doesn’t go to plan. If it happens, remember, Christmas is all about spending time with your family - everything else is a bonus.
We hope these tips will help you to stay sane, happy and healthy over the Christmas break!
Yours in health,
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