Here are my Top Hacks for a Healthy Christmas. Let’s be honest, while we may all enjoy Christmas and the silly season it is, we have been through it many, many times before. There’s nothing new in sitting down for Christmas dinner. It’s lovely and super important to get together with your family and friends to celebrate. That part about Christmas is just so lovely and new again every year. The excess foods being put in front of us every Christmas, however, are nothing new to us, for the most part. I say, get stuck into seeing your family and friends, celebrate being together and catching up. Ease off on the chocolates, mince pies and wine though. There is nothing new about those, and they’ll just cause you trouble when you get back into the routine – you can avoid the excess Christmas pounds if you follow these simple hacks …
Keep in mind that it is your health you are working on here. Don’t compromise now in order to lose all the fitness and benefits you have built up in the gym over the past year. Stand by yourself and stand up for yourself. Eat a smaller portion, enjoy a salad, drink a glass of water after every glass of wine, and go home early.
Hanging out with your mates and “Peer-Pressure!
Do not to give in to your mates’ nudging to eat more, drink more and stay up later. You think this warning might only apply to your teenage children? When old mates get together they are like a bunch of teenagers, expecting everyone to be the life and soul of the party. Guess what, you can be just that while also taking care of your body. If you are out drinking and feel the pressure, grab a pint of water with every glass of wine. Noone will notice you sipping away at the water casually. If eating out, order the salad starter and don’t be afraid to leave excess carbs on your plate. It is also perfectly acceptable to “slip away early” as most of us will be tied up with work or family commitments the following day.
Keep it small
Be aware of your portion size. Less is more on your dinner plate. Portion control is important when trying to keep your weight, as you know. Fill at least ½ your plate with fresh vegetables and salad, fill ¼ with high quality protein, and ¼ with complex carbs and starches. So, less is more! Scrap the snacks (and stop the munchies, more below) by eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. Make sure to have lunch of lovely vegetable soup at least 4 times per week, eat a side salad at least 3 times per week, and have a steady supply of healthy, fresh snacks at hand (fruit, veg sticks, nuts, and natural yoghurt are a few staples you should keep close by).
Stop the Munchies
You know what I mean, the never-emptying box of Celebrations chocolates you pass by every time you get up from your desk … just walk on. Say NO to eating your own body weight in chocolates and mince pies this Christmas. Surely, you have eaten enough of all of these to last you a lifetime – you know what they taste like, and you know what they do to your waistline. So ditch the habit of snacking and simply sip away at water while working, have some healthy handy snacks up your sleeve (think nuts, apples, pears and oranges), and think of the extra time you have to spend in the gym to get fit again after Christmas. Not worth even one chocolate.
Get some sleep
Science proves it time and again: people who sleep more are happier, better off to cope with daily stresses, and also experience less weight gain. On the nights when you are at home, make sure to be in bed by 10.30pm, and turn on the “night shift” on your phone (this excludes blue light which keeps your brain awake). When you are on a night off, make sure to have had lots of good nights’ sleep ahead of it (build up a sleep-bank) and take time off afterwards. When you wake up after a big night out, your blood sugars will be all over the place with the sleep deprivation (and alcohol consumed). So, take it easy for a couple of days, drink your 2l water, eat well and do light sessions in the gym.
Enjoy your exercise and gym time
Don’t stop going to the gym now! Instead, increase your time in the gym or at least try to go as often as you normally go. I promise you, if you keep your self-care up this month, you will feel so much more relaxed, happy and content. Spending an hour exercising will clear your mind, better prepare you for stressful times and also reduce your chances of weight gain (that alone should motivate you to keep going in December!).