So, you have spent all year watching what you eat and trying to be healthy. Why let it all go to pot over Christmas? You can enjoy yourself and have the odd Christmas treat here and there without going completely off the rails. Here are my top ten tips for a leaner, healthier Christmas season.
1. Eat Regularly
The benefits of eating breakfast are still being debated, but make sure you try and eat something first thing. Many of us go out for lunch or dinner with friends or colleagues at this time of the year but “saving yourself” for your big meal out will only lead to over-eating and making bad choices.
2. Drink Responsibly
I am not advising that you forego alcohol completely, but just remember to take it easy. Either mix alcohol with a soft drink, or drink water or soft drinks between the alcoholic ones. Also, remember to eat something BEFORE you start drinking. Your head and tummy will thank you the next day!
3. Get Up and About
I know all the Christmas classics will be playing on the TV, but try not to sit in front of the box all day! Go for a walk, get out with the kids and play a game…whatever takes your fancy. A walk after dinner is always a good idea as it aids digestion and helps burn off those extra calories.
4. Don’t Stress
If the thought of Christmas day with the extended family is bringing you out in a cold sweat, take some time out to relax. Stressing out can lead to emotional eating which will pile on the pounds. Try one of my free YouTube sessions and listen every day from now until Christmas. Stressing about things only ever makes them worse and you need to remain cool, calm and collected and enjoy the season. Remember, it is only once a year!
5. Sleep Well
Lack of sleep has been shown to increase weight gain, so make sure you get a good night’s sleep, even on the party nights. If you are struggling to sleep, contact me for a list of ways to improve sleep habits, a hypnotherapy session, or an mp3 or CD to listen to at bedtime.
6. Bring Your Own
If you are off to a friend’s house for a seasonal get-together, offer to take some snacks or a dish of your own that you know is healthy and lower in calories.
7. Don’t Overeat
Instead of piling up your plate, try a smaller portion and have a break when you have finished eating. It takes 20 minutes for our brains to register that we have eaten, so give yourself time before piling on that second helping. Another good way to cut down on portion size is to use a smaller plate.
8. Remember your Five a Day
Aside from the odd satsuma here and there, fruit is something we tend to neglect over the festive season. Remember to keep your fruit bowl full and fresh and try and remember to eat the odd apple or pear between scoffing mince pies and Christmas pud! Oh, and NO, I’m afraid mulled wine doesn’t count…sorry! When it comes to meals, remember to include a good range of veggies.
9. Fill Up on Protein
Turkey is a good, lean meat, full of protein, so go for it! Try and stick to breast meat for the leanest cut. If you don’t eat turkey, a lean piece of chicken breast is a good alternative. Vegetarians, make sure you fill up on animal-free alternatives like quinoa, lentils, or beans.
10. Eat Mindfully
Whatever you choose to eat, take time out to enjoy every mouthful. Try not to eat in front of the television but sit and savour your food, think about what you are eating, chew slowly and carefully and really focus on the flavours and textures. Connect with your body and recognise when you have eaten enough.