For many people, the Christmas period means plenty of eating, drinking and relaxing as we take a break and celebrate with friends and family. While indulging over Christmas is by no means a bad thing, an excess of rich food and alcohol, combined with a lack of sleep and exercise, can often leave us feeling sluggish as we enter the new year.
While letting loose during the festive season is often unavoidable and is nothing to feel guilty about, there are a few small steps you can take to make sure you don’t go overboard and end up feeling terrible.
Busy social schedules, plenty of family commitments and days of eating and drinking mean exercise often goes out the window over the holidays. While it might be unfeasible to carry on with your normal exercise routine, there are ways you can try and do a bit of exercise every day. This could mean going for a walk with the family, playing with the kids for an hour or so, or doing a short at home HIIT session – anything that will keep you active and healthy, while burning off a mince pie or two…
Be aware of how much you’re drinking
Alcohol consumption normally increases massively over the holidays as we socialise more. It can be easy to lose track of how much you are consuming, so make a conscious effort to keep a tab on what you drink. Help your body out by following every alcoholic drink you consume with a glass of water. Never drinking on an empty stomach, and trying to swap for healthier options.
Relax and minimize stress
While Christmas is lorded as the best time of the year, it can also be very stressful! Spending more money than usual, hosting family, cooking and cleaning up after loads of people – these can all leave you feeling frazzled and unable to relax and enjoy the celebrations. Try and keep calm and enlist as much help from guests and family as possible. Remember this is a time to relax and enjoy, so don’t get caught up in the frenzy or sweat the small things.
Try and control your portion sizes
While it would be foolish to deprive yourself of certain foods at Christmas and stop yourself from having those crispy roast potatoes you’ve been drooling over all year, you can try and limit yourself from overeating just for the sake of it. Don’t overload your plate but stick to a normal portion size, then wait twenty minutes after eating before getting seconds. If you’re still hungry, then go ahead! Try to chew your food properly and eat slowly so your body has time to register when it’s full.
Seek out vitamin and mineral rich foods
The mince pies, the Christmas cake, the bread sauce – plenty of holiday foods don’t hold much nutritional value and should be enjoyed in moderation. However, there are plenty of foods that are good for you. Pile your plate with carrots, Brussel sprouts and other veggies. Enjoy protein-rich turkey and anti-oxidation rich cranberry sauce. Make the most of the healthier options on offer.
Keep your other meals healthy
On days when you’ll be having a large, rich meal, try and keep the rest of the day’s meals healthy and vitamin-packed. Start the day off with a healthy breakfast that won’t spike your blood levels and leave you feeling tired and moody, such as oats and fruit, or smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. Likewise have a light lunch or dinner with plenty of veggies and light snacks.
Get enough sleep
Making sure you get enough sleep over the holidays is key as a lack of it will leave you ill and moody. Additionally, when we don’t get enough sleep, your body over-produces the hunger hormone ghrelin, spiking hunger levels and meaning you don’t feel as satisfied when eating. Make sure you don’t over-commit yourself and give your body adequate time to rest – it’s okay to say no!
We hope these tips help you have a happy and healthy Christmas! If you need any help getting back on track in the new year, find your local David Lloyd Club.