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Stay healthy through the holidays

Now, I’m not here to play Scrooge. If you want to eat what you want and do what you want during the holidays, go ahead.

But I think there’s probably a reason you clicked on this link…

I loved reading posts on this, especially when I was faced with the Christmas season in London. And whilst I could probably have worked out some of the advice out for myself, it’s always useful to have someone else spell it out for you.

These are my suggestions. Pick and choose the bits that work for you. Add in your own ideas. Adopt an approach that’s going to work for you, because (as with everything in your life) it needs to work for you to work at all.

Moderate or abstain

Firstly, it’s useful to work how you handle temptation. For me, if I have one chocolate out of a tin, it’s very hard to stop there, or at three, or at five. Others like to have one or two and can then stop easily.

So for me (and maybe for you), it’s all or nothing (though moderation is something I’m working on!).

Therefore it’s much easier to simply say “I don’t eat chocolates during the week” and allow myself a mini binge in a contained period (say Friday afternoon).

For you, you may be able to pick at things in moderation. In which case, make sure you do moderate.

We’re always looking for excuses to do naughty things when it comes to food. Oh, it’s Sheila’s birthday, it would be rude not to. Oh, it’s Christmas, I’m allowed to eat five mince pies in a row.

Be conscious of when you are making these excuses and know that they are only excuses. If you then want to make a conscious choice to enjoy the food anyway, go ahead, but really enjoy it. Eat it slowly and savour every mouthful - this should help you stop feeling like you need to go back for more.

Remember you don’t have to finish everything on your plate/the whole doughnut/the entire box of chocolates. Stop when you’re done. You may need to force yourself, but know that you will feel better if you do.

One bad day can be overcome.

I believe the main reason people break diets, resolutions and start smoking again is that they use one slip-up as a reason to give up completely.

We are only human. Slip-ups happen. Especially over Christmas.

You’re going to be faced with temptation and you may choose to cave (remember - it is always your choice!). Immediately move on. Don’t beat yourself up about it or use it as a reason to go crazy. Just return back to normal the next day.

Booze, booze, booze

Ever had one of those weeks leading up to Christmas where you jump from hangover to hangover? Remember how awful you felt as a result? Really remember that feeling (or any other particularly awful hangover).

Now imagine the feeling when you’ve a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling fresh. Really feel that.

Now, whenever you are tempted to go overboard, but know you don’t really want to, remember those two feelings. Let them guide you to make the right decision for you the night before - is the hangover worth it or would you rather wake up feeling good?

Once you’re out, top tips for surviving a boozy affair:

  • Drink water - as much as you can. Having a drink in your hand is often all you’re craving, it doesn’t need to be booze.

  • Circulate, dance, have good chats that stop you just hanging around at the bar/on a table ordering drink after drink mindlessly.

  • Don’t feel like you have to keep up with anyone else. Plan tactical bathroom trips if you need to to avoid being involved in the next round.

Read my full article on cutting down on booze here.

Any movement is better than no movement.

It’s Christmas, you’re likely to get out of your normal exercise routine. Gym instructors are away, you’re in a different location, you forgot your trainers...

Remember that anything is better than nothing. A twenty minute walk is better than twenty minutes of the sofa. Ten minutes of yoga in the morning is better than nothing at all.

Make it fun! My sister and I always go running together over the Christmas period. I don’t tend to run that much (she does) but at Christmas it’s become our thing. We get some fresh air, feel energised for the day ahead and get some sister-sister bonding time (even if she does make me sprint the hill going home).

Choose a couple of things that are going to work for you and then stick to them. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re no longer running five times a week or doing your killer HIIT workouts (though great if you can keep that up!). Just do something, and feel good about it.

Christmas doesn’t have to be stressful

But it will be if you discover your forgot Aunty Jane’s present and the only shop open at 9pm on Christmas Eve is a petrol garage.

Plan ahead (where you can) to take the stress out of Christmas. Online shopping is there, use it. Go with a friend and make shopping fun - have a nice lunch in the middle. Blitz it, do it piecemeal, whatever works for you. Just try and get it done before it gets stressful.

Family time can be stressful. And that’s OK. Recognise what is going to trigger you (Uncle James asking about your love life/when you will get married/when you will have kids) and avoid it or find a way to deal with it - have your response prepared, ask someone else to intervene.

Give yourself a break if you need to and don’t feel guilty about doing it. Go for a walk, read a book, have a nap. Give yourself a bit of time out of the mayhem and you’ll come back renewed with much more to give to the celebrations.

Hang out with children. Children are hilarious. They also love Christmas and their excitement is infectious. I didn’t even resent my nephew waking me up at 2.30am convinced it was Christmas because he made it so fun the next day.

Want to know more?

The fabulous Yogi Studios and I are running a workshop on 15 December! You’ll enjoy a relaxing and energising yoga sequence followed by a workshop with me on how to form healthy habits over the festive period that will work for you. If you want to feel healthier, happier and less stressed over the Christmas period, sign up here.


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