The festive season is about to get underway. A little different for us in 2020 as we've had this dreadful pandemic to cope with this year. However, we might still find the opportunity to enjoy more alcohol, food, socialising (if we’re lucky) and dancing (if we’re lucky!) than we normally would so - so how do we stay healthy (ish)?
Here are a few tips for your Christmas ‘Surthrival’! (Yes, I did make that word up!)
1. Plan your workouts
When we have a lot more plans than usual we can often feel overwhelmed and that there isn’t any time left in the week to get some exercise in.
Get your calendar out and plan your workouts around your festivities, celebrations, social occasion events.
Aim for three workouts per week, at home, or outdoors. Remember, we have been recording some workouts ahead of the season, which we can share with you ‘on demand’ so that you don’t need to go without!
If you can, do your workout first thing in the morning is a great idea too!
2. Quit the ‘diet starts in the New Year’ attitude
It’s quite the norm for us to eat lots of foods we wouldn’t usually eat.
Just remember this won’t be the last time you are ever going to be able to eat some chocolate or a mince pie, so bring in a little moderation!
It’s very tempting to eat until we’re going to pop and then justify it by saying you’ll stop in the New Year.
We know, and you know that that never goes to plan, and most likely kicks off an unhealthy relationship with food, leaving you feeling guilty and quite possibly immobilising you completely!
3. Give yourself 10 minutes
We give out a lot of our energy over the festive season, but remember you’re important too.
Give yourself 10 minutes each day to take a deep breath and do something kind for yourself.
4. Memories over Macros
The festive season can be fraught with all sorts of tensions, family, friends and so on. This year, there might be more tensions because of this Covid pandemic.
Excessive amounts of food and alcohol might be available to us.
We might be facing redundancy, still furloughed, still wishing life was back to ‘normal’.
The rules relating to the pandemic can cause confusion and can lead us to feel anxious.
Remember Christmas is a time to be enjoyed, and its typically time of the year where loved ones come together, likely to be different for lots of us this year.
Still try, if you can to make memories with your loved ones. Take some time out, be present in the moments. Enjoy opening presents with our loved ones over Zoom, or Messenger or WhatsApp, we can still enjoy this time, we just have to try to do the best we can!
5. Start the day with a healthy breakfast
Start the day with a generous bowl of porridge, topped with a handful of cranberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon (can be rev your metabolism). Porridge stabilises blood sugar levels, which helps control appetite later in the day. Add a good dollop of probiotic or Greek yogurt, which helps support the immune system (very important right now) and promote digestive health, as well as combat some of the less beneficial effects of the party season, like too much alcohol and not enough sleep.
6. Prevent a hangover
Alcohol supplies empty calories, so avoiding proper meals to compensate for a booze splurge means you’re losing out on valuable nutrients, just when your body needs them to help it detoxify. To help prevent a hangover, stick to one type of drink and make it a lighter-coloured one because they tend to be lower in the chemical by-products that can worsen a hangover. Aim to have no more than one alcoholic drink an hour, alternated with juice, water or soft drinks – perfect if you don’t like holding an empty glass.
7. Eat well the morning after
My favourite ‘morning after’ breakfast is a traditional ‘fry up’. Including mushrooms for their energising B vitamins, tomatoes for vitamin C. Eggs are an excellent choice for the morning after because they provide choline, a nutrient that supports the liver. Add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper or a chopped chilli to boost circulation and rev up your recovery. If you can’t face a cooked breakfast then have a smoothie made with fruits like bananas, oranges or kiwi – these are rich in potassium which helps replenish the electrolytes lost due to the diuretic effects of alcohol.
8. Get right back on track
After a big night out don’t skip meals. As long as you feel like eating of course!
If you’ve done any programmes with me, you know I apply the 80:20 principle – eating healthily 80% of the time, which allows me the space for delicious treats at weekends and on special occasions.
Equally important, if you feel as though you’ve ‘fallen off the wagon’, do not beat yourself up about it! It’s really counterproductive and just makes you feel bad about yourself! Instead, draw a line underneath it, move on and start afresh! The next moment is a new moment; we can make it whatever we want it to be!
Where ever you are, whatever you are planning, here's wishing you a very happy Christmas and New Year!