It’s no secret the way to sail through the Christmas period is to indulge until your body mass is heavier than the bag of gifts you bring. Tis’ the season for eating is notorious knowledge – whether that’s the piled up turkey dinner, the party nibbles, the unstoppable Celebrations snacking or the inability to resist temptation as the boxes of shortbread and variety biscuits keep being persuasively passed to you without notice; being a glutton is unavoidable and at every corner you turn.
Now, I’m not saying this isn’t good because at the time when your eyes are bigger your belly and all you can think about is relishing in the treats it’s the greatest feeling of food (and let’s be fair, alcohol induced) heaven but not so much afterwards as you’re left sluggish and bloated. That being said, I’m also not the one for lecturing on cutting back and staying healthy because I’m the worst culprit for binge eating and having no control but there is a balanced truce, you can enjoy the festivities without setting limits and making yourself feel rubbish and here are my top tips to help you along the way:
Don’t skip breakfast
You should never underestimate the importance of breakfast, even when you’re too busy handing out presents, transporting back to your childhood days with excitement and maybe even nursing a hangover. It’s way too easy to forget about the most valuable meal of the day and you’ll probably find you’re more inclined to snack on junk if you don’t consume a nutritious fix in the morning. Think combat choices such as a bowl of porridge, low fat yoghurt or some poached eggs – afterall you’ll need that extra energy to deal with the madness of the festive season.
Use supplements as a boost
Your body can very hastily become run down, especially at times of heightened strain and a not so balanced diet and lifestyle. Using supplements to improve your immune system and all round general well being is a great way to digest your vitamins, minerals and essential macros without substituting your usual regime. I’ve recently been taking *Seven Seas Perfect7 as a combined support for seven of the key functions that ensure a healthier you – Skin & Nails, Hair, Energy, Brain, Vision, Heart, Hormonal Activity and already I’ve felt and noticed a difference. My levels of strength have increased, I don’t feel as fatigued, my nails aren’t feeling the wrath of the harsh winter causing sudden brittleness, my hair is longer and thicker than ever and I’m certainly alert and prepared for the day ahead on consumement of the omega 3 and marine oil and multi vitamin duo. As the rest of the 30 day course falls into the Christmas and New Year period, I can see the capsules being a definite saviour to the aftermath of feasting and a guidance to get back on track as the effects start to take toll.
Another range of products I’ve freshly adapted into my diet are the *Body Me protein bars in the flavours Cacao Mint, Cacao Orange, and Chia Vanilla. I began to use protein bars as a substitute for ovely sugary snacks a few years ago so these organic vegan bars are perfect for tackling hunger without the nasty preservatives and additives. Rich in protein and with raw ingredients such as fruit, nuts, oils and superfoods, they fulfill my needs and also taste pretty damn good with a kick of each zing. If you feel you need to avoid the dessert table around Christmas – then reaching for something a lot more natural will not only allow space for your stomach to breathe but give you the energy and recovery for pre and post workout of burning off those festive calories.
Bake for yourself
If there’s anything that brushes all ideas of sticking with your healthy eating at Christmas time it’s all the recipes flying from avid bakers, influential bloggers and vloggers or TV chefs. From mince pies, to yule logs, to sticky toffee pudding or that amazing doughy nutella Christmas tree doing its rounds on Facebook (I swear I was lusting for pastry a week after watching that instructional video). However, giving it a dab yourself means you’re in charge of what you ingest and enjoy. You can rid of the store bought products, switch up the technique and the elements to a cleaner option. Whether that be a fruit based bake, or some oaty cookies – I’m sure there’ll be plenty of formulas out there for you to use as inspiration and as a bonus, it will keep you busy, creative and may even be suitable to prepare as a last minute gift!
Drink plenty of water
My answer to absolutely everything but it does the job satisfyingly. It keeps you hydrated and well equipped, washes down those sins and works wonders for an accidental over intake of alcohol the night before the family gatherings. I find if I drink the recommended amount of water it makes me able to handle and engulf the food forced into my visual field (not that it actually makes it any better) but sometimes it’s mind over matter and if you make sure you’re supplied with your 2 litres, then you’ll be settled with your regular sized portions and watered down system.
Think family fun not food
Okay so family fun and food kind of come hand in hand but if you keep yourself occupied (which surely isn’t hard on Christmas day and the rest surrounding) then food and drink just becomes an extra and not the main source. Engaging your brain in family activites filled with games, trashy TV, and photographic memories to play out is one thing but actually getting out of the house and taking a walk is another – not only will it stop you sitting down and festering all day but it will allow you to embrace the crisp Christmas feel and get that heart working, too.
Use your time wisely
For some, the time between Christmas and New Year is the only bit of freedom they gain. Obviously, the first must do on the list is to relish in the joys of a Christmas spent with loved ones, to relax, put all your worries to one side and use the time off to do absolutely nothing but if this is going to make you feel worse then it’s just not worth it. Instead, stop the procrastinating and make the most of your break. Head to the gym, start your resolutions early, cut back, begin to get into shape and go into it with a different mindset.
This is always a plausible solution to someone who A) isn’t all that struck on the party buffet provided, B) prefers a wholesome meal instead of empty calorie consuming and C) likes to proceed with foods you know you can definitely absorb without the dreaded stomachache. If you fill your plate up with nutritious goodness beforehand, you’ll be less inclined to graze non stop once you arrive at your occasion and can just pick and choose without relying entirely on snacks to fill you up.
Know when you’re full
Remaining sensible is the hardest part. I for one am downright guilty of not knowing when to stop as the various foods keep screaming at me but it is crucial to find a middle point of knowing your limits and not depriving yourself completely. You can allow yourself to appreciate the treats otherwise you’ll end up snapping, over eating and downing too much booze but you can also take a step back and ask yourself whether you really want it, or are just eating and drinking for the sake of it being there. In the long run you’ll find the benefits outweigh the regrets and you can still have a ball.
How do you keep healthy and happy at Christmas?
*some of these items have been sent for review, please see my full disclaimer for more information