Top 5 Tips to stay on track with your health goals this Christmas
Updated: Jun 14, 2019
The season of indulgence is upon us! Like many, no matter how good your diet and exercise regime is throughout the year, you may find Christmas a tricky time to stay on track with your health goals.
Now we aren’t saying don’t enjoy yourselves or let your hair down, it’s Christmas after all! We all deserve some down time with our loved ones, and for most of us sharing that precious time together means sharing good food together too. But if you want to sample all Christmas has to offer without overindulgence and totally derailing then we have some easy tips to help prevent the new years blues….
12 hour Eating Window
There is a temptation to eat constantly over the Christmas period with festive food at every turn. But if possible try to keep your eating to a 12 hour window, so for example if you have a Christmas party to attend and finish eating at 10pm, try not to have breakfast until 10am the next morning. This gives your body and digestive system a break, reduces inflammation in the body and allows it work more efficiently at flushing out toxins and giving you more energy the next day.
Cleanse and Detoxify
Let’s face it, eating rich and delicious foods is going to be inevitable. So to aid our bodies in the digestion of these niceties and to combat that groggy ‘morning after indulgence’ feeling, starting the day with a good mug of warm lemon water is a must. Lemon water is amazing at cleansing the liver, strengthening the immune system and starting the metabolism. This is a daily habit that will help kick start your health at any time of the year. Follow this with plenty of water throughout the day to flush out any toxins from food and drink, minimum recommendation is 2 litres a day but increase if you are drinking a lot of caffeine or alcohol.
And what about food support? Well, where possible add in a good dose of veg rich in anti-oxidants to every meal. How do you know it’s an anti-oxidant winner? Simple, it’s rich in colour! Things such as beetroot, sweet potato, kale and blueberries are just a few examples. And there is one particular seasonal vegetable we see on our Christmas dinner table that is great for digestive health, the parsnip! They contain a high level of ‘oligosaccharides’ which is great fuel for our gut.
HOW you eat
Every diet book going will tell you WHAT to eat for weight loss, energy and optimum health, but no one ever talks about HOW to eat and the impact of this on all of the above. Sometimes we don’t have much say over what we eat at Christmas time, especially if others are cooking for us! So being able to have some control over our health with how we are eating is a great tool to have. My 7 day audio series delves deep in to benefits and science behind how you are eating and how to make small changes that will provide long term health wins without even changing your diet. This is a massive revolutionary health topic just emerging from ground breaking research, If you want to learn more about how to eat then you can download your own copy of the audio series here https://bit.ly/2Akua9w
Starting the day right is key to stabilising your blood sugar levels and helping control your appetite later in the day. A good ‘power’ breakfast would be something like salmon, eggs and spinach on sourdough or porridge made with an added dollop of pro biotic yoghurt which is great for overall gut health, the immune system, digestion as well as balance some of the effect of the party season like too much alcohol and not enough sleep.
The Hunger Hormone
You know that never ending hunger you get after a late night, where nothing less than the entire contents of the fridge and a full cooked breakfast out, followed by cake, and multiple coffees etc will do? For that, you can blame our friend, the hunger hormone, ghrelin. And if you can’t relate to that then ask any parent of a newborn about ‘second breakfast syndrome’! Studies show when we are sleep deprived we produce more ghrelin which stimulates hunger, the poorer our quality of sleep, the hungrier we are and actually it’s also been established that those food choices when sleep deprived are actually poorer too. So make sure you are getting a good nights kip to enable you to make more positive food choices in alignment with your health goals, and if you do have a couple of late heavy nights, make sure you give yourself the time and space to catch up.
Hopefully you are now feeling more confident in staying on track over the holidays. But before the festive season starts, ask yourself the question ‘What is the minimum I can comfortably commit to’ and set yourself some guidelines that feel right for you such as ‘two nights out’ or ’10 minutes of exercise a day’ or ‘2 glasses of wine with a meal’ your own list of do’s and don’ts’s so you aren’t caught ‘off guard’ it could even be that you take a few days off entirely but state a day you will start being health conscious again. The aim here is to replace disappointment in the new year for resilience and balance.
And if in doubt apply the 80:20 rule! If you’re good 80% off the time there’s no harm in taking 20% of the time off guilt free.
Be kind to yourself, it’s a season of celebration and relaxation, embrace it and enjoy it.