The most important thing is to have an enjoyable, relaxing Christmas. Health is so much more than your diet. It's also relaxing, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying yourself, and if that means sitting watching movies eating Christmas choccies, go for it!! I know I'll be having a day or two like this!
However, with so many goodies, temptation and meals out, how do you keep up your healthy intentions, and not totally lose it over the Christmas period?
Unless you have to avoid a certain food for health reasons, or particular foods give you unpleasant symptoms, you should enjoy your "pleasure' foods over Christmas without feeling like you are undoing all your good work. Nobody ever got fat from one meal, one box of chocolates or piece of Christmas cake.
It only becomes a problem when you feel out of control, or you struggle not to overeat on the goodies. Eating everything in sight, or over indulging at every meal will not help your mental or physical health.
If you tend to overeat it may be because factors such as joy, or fun, or connection are missing from your life. Or stress, anxiety, or low mood are driving your actions. Take steps to address these. Dietary and lifestyle measures can help balance your emotions and regulate appetite to help with overeating. So if this a problem for you please do seek further help. There's also a link to another blog below for dealing with stress and anxiety over Christmas.
It can also be hard to say no, or ask for something different, or be the one eating or drinking something different. But always eat, or drink, on your own terms! It is your health, your life, and your future.
Here's my top tips for having a great Christmas and new year and still get to 2020 feeling fabulous!
1) Aim to still eat 3 meals per day and don't go long periods without eating a meal with a good amount of protein such as meat, fish, nuts, seeds or legumes. With so much temptation around if you go hungry or let your blood sugar drop all your willpower will go out the window! Ensure you are still getting sufficient protein and fibre with each meal to fill you up and keep you full. This way you are in control and can chose when you want to treat yourself.
If you find this a particularly stressful time of year or suffer from anxiety, this will also help you balance your emotions helping you to stay calm and enjoy the festivities.
2) Plan some healthy treats at home so you’re getting the best of both worlds. If you have to avoid a particular food group knowing you have something nice at home you enjoy will help you say no! There’s lots of recipes out there for delicious treats that won’t cause you to stray from your goals! Or email me and I'll send you some. :)
3) Never go out hungry. Having a small protein snack before you go out, or carrying nuts with you, can stop you getting ravenous and help you maintain dignity at the buffet, or say no to the bread basket, or to the many goodies offered. Again it helps you chose when you do want to treat yourself.
4) If you are organising a meal or special occasion, or meeting some friends in a café,
think ahead. Check the menu for example, or ensure where you are going
serves food that you want like to eat on that occasion!
5) If you know you have lots of meals out or special occasions coming up which
are going to steer you away from the way you normally like to eat, balance it
out by being stricter with yourself on the ‘normal’ days, and then when you do go out,
or away for the weekend, enjoy it and don’t worry!
What you often find when you change your eating habits for the better, is that you much prefer to eat that way anyway because that is what keeps you feeling good! But just have what you do fancy such as a decadent pud or a few glasses of wine without over doing it.
5) If you know you definitely want a desert, leave the carbohydrates with the main
meal and chose a dish of protein (meat, fish, beans, legumes) and veggies. You’re not missing out as there’s loads of yummy things you can still eat!
However, If It comes to a meal out or a special occasion and you really go for it
and slightly lose control over the buffet or pudding section, just
get straight back to normal the next day!
6) Step up your exercise/activity slightly. I do this just generally around this time of year
and make sure I’m active on the days I know I’m going to be over indulging!
On a day you are going out for dinner or know you’ll be having some treats that day, balance it with the other meals, filling up on veggies and protein, ensuring though that you still eat plenty so are not ravenous by the time you go out.
Just don't overdo the exercise as this will not make you feel good!
7) Don’t worry about being fussy in a restaurant
and saying what you do or don’t want. You can go out and eat a lovely meal whilst
still being in line with your health goals it’s just making the right choices.
Never ever feel guilty for overdoing it, or eating the wrong foods. You are only human! The best of us do it!! It's just not doing it too often!!
Have a super Christmas!
P.s this is a good article to help if you struggle with feeling overly stressed or anxious over the Christmas period.
Click here also to find out more about my programmes and my 3 steps to overcoming low mood and depression and bringing back your spark. Learn how to remove the fog, balance your emotions and get back to you. I work with clients exploring the imbalances contributing to their symptoms and helping them put into place the dietary and lifestyle practices for better health and wellbeing.