The theory with holidays is that they should be a rejuvenating time from which you emerge ready to take on life with renewed enthusiasm. However, for many of us, the ‘festive season’ leads to energy-sapping over-indulgence and unwelcome weight gain. You may be interested to know that although seasonal weight gain is usually small, according to the American National Institute of Health, not losing it is a primary reason why weight creeps up over time.
Here are our top tips for successfully and healthfully navigating the challenges of this time of year.
1. Ditch the ‘all or nothing’ mentality. Just because you are having a champagne breakfast doesn’t mean you have to skip your morning workout, forget your supplements or deny that vegetables exist for the next three days. Keeping up as many healthy habits as you can goes a long way to fighting the sluggishness that can come after a few days of high sugar intake and stressful mall shopping expeditions.
2. Move it, move it. We are so lucky here in NZ that Christmas falls in summer, so here’s an idea: get out in it. Head for the hills, the park, the pool or the sprinkler games that the kids are playing. This last idea will also make you the cool adult.
3. Make the most of seasonal goodies and healthy treats. Cherries, apricots, strawberries.. summer fruit has so much going for it (it’s also asparagus season, but…). A chocolate-dipped strawberry is just as much a treat as a liqueur filled chocolate, but so much better for you. For canapes, think veges, rice crackers and nourishing dips like hummus and guacamole.
4. Alcohol control. You’d be surprised how much better you feel with just a little restraint. This is a hard ask, I know, but alcohol and hot days are a recipe for dehydration, headaches and lethargy. Some easy rules are to drink a glass of water between wines, stick to no more than one standard drink an hour (that’s 115ml of wine – a very small glass), and stay aware of how much alcohol is in those drinks. Beer and cider contain less than half the alcohol of wine per volume, which can be useful, but not if you drink more than twice as much. Experiment with non-alcoholic beverages that you might like, for example fruit-infused sparkling water. And of course, if you are drinking please don’t drive. Stay safe.
5. Plan ahead. Particularly if you will be drinking, it’s a good idea to eat beforehand so that the alcohol does not hit an empty stomach. A balanced snack that includes protein can also help blunt your appetite so that it’s easier to keep your indulgences to those you really appreciate, rather than attacking the table. Why waste your appetite on cheap chocolates, when you could be saving yourself for grandma’s secret recipe Christmas cake that is 70% brandy? (or is that just my grandma?).
These tips are not hard to put into practice and we hope you’ll give at least some of them a try and reap the benefits of putting your health first even during party season.
Lastly, we wish you a fantastic holiday season, enjoy the nibbles and sparkles and we’ll be back next year with more blogs to help you live life to the fullest. Merry Christmas!