Late nights, desserts, a glass of bubbly…all are increased during the Christmas season. However, we are surrounded by people telling us how to not overindulge. This can be very confusing, especially since December should be a time of happiness and enjoyment. How can we find the balance between looking after our health and remaining present for the festivities?
Over the Christmas period, you may find yourself indulging more and that is fine. What you need to remember is enjoying yourself doesn’t need to lead to a binge, and instead try everything in moderation. Discover your internal cues, realise when you’re hungry and when you’re full and satisfied. Try not to eat just because food is there, but if there is something you have been looking forward to eating, eat it and enjoy every mouthful. Christmas is not for restricting. While we may want some sweet treats, your body will be craving the rainbow. Remember to consume a balanced diet containing all our macro and micronutrients; complex carbohydrates, lean protein, healthy fats, vegetables and fruit.
Exercise has been linked to a reduction in stress, an increase in sleep quality and due to the release of endorphins, can even make us happier. But what is essential is that exercise shouldn’t be going for a 5-mile run purely to burn off the calories from our Christmas dinner. If you want to go for a run that’s absolutely fine, but there are many other options such as a dog walk, yoga or a dance-off with your family.
AIM TO GET 7-9 HOURS OF SLEEP
Sleep is very important for us both mentally and physically. The immune system aids in repairing and restoring our bodies and sleep provides the perfect time to do this. Around this time of the year, we may reduce our sleep to attend the Christmas party or socialise, but rest is imperative for our mood and health. You may find yourself feeling more stressed when sleep is decreased and more likely to make unhealthy choices.
For the majority, alcohol is inevitable at Christmas. Water is key for hydration and you should definitely be re-hydrating the day after. But you can help yourself the night of, by alternating between alcoholic beverages and a glass of water to reduce the likelihood of a hangover. Similarly, try to reach for spirits with soda/tonic water over beer and champagne which contain a higher amount of sugar.
Christmas is a time for celebrating with family and friends and to rest before the new year. While the food is delicious, and the alcohol can be social, it doesn’t have to be your main focus. Be present and throw yourself into the Christmas festivities whether that’s building children’s toys or Christmas carolling. Remember a healthy balanced lifestyle is all year-round and doesn’t just start or stop at Christmas.