How to survive the holiday season
For most of us Christmas is a fun time of year where we get to spend time with family and over indulge. The average person will consume 6,000 calories on Christmas Day and that is three times over the recommended the daily amount of calories for women (2000) and for men, 3500 more calories than they should be eating. We all want to indulge over Christmas but what if you want to stick to your health and fitness goals or just want to be healthy? Can you still enjoy your Christmas meal? Can you still treat yourself over Christmas? Of course, you can! Learn how to have a great Christmas without the regret.
Christmas now seems to be a time when we go hard with the food and end up laying down in a food coma. It need not be this way – here are a few tips to enjoy your Christmas dinner and keep on track with your health goals:
Christmas Parties and Christmas Day
Try not to vary too much from how you would normally eat; still try to eat consistently over the day. Keeping to those smaller and portion-controlled meals means that you will not overdo it at parties and on Christmas Day. On Christmas Day you may want to stick to portion control too. Try not to overdo it when it comes to the Christmas dinner.
The main meal!
Here are a few tips for the meal on the day:
Readymade sauces in the supermarkets can contain a lot of sugar and salt. Swap shop bought sauces for homemade alternatives.
We all need a small amount of fat and it is part of a balanced diet but when it comes to Christmas dinner EVERYTHING tends to be covered in fat. Stick to unsaturated fats (fats that oils that can be found in plants and fish) or monounsaturated fats (e.g. olive oil, rapeseed oil). If you must have saturated fats (stick to no more than 20 grams a day).
When you have your Christmas meal, make sure that half your plate is still mainly vegetables and there is no excuse! The Christmas meal tends to be about sprouts, carrots, cabbage and parsnips; all which can be jazzed up in healthy ways to taste good.
Ideas for a healthy Christmas dinner
Ideas for a vegan Christmas dinner
During the winter we tend to drink less water and even if it is cold; it is still important to keep hydrated:
Water helps us to feel energetic as it aids the transport of oxygen and other nutrients to your cells. This is especially important during the holiday season as we all need the energy to cope!
The holiday season can be a stressful time and if you feel dehydrated it can lead to stress. If you are feeling thirsty you are already dehydrated so much sure you sip water throughout the day to help lower stress levels.
Water helps to aid waste material pass through your digestive system and makes bowel movements easier.
Make sure you keep drinking water this winter and on Christmas day. Have a class of water first thing in the morning and have a nice refillable bottle you can drink from throughout the day.
If you do not like the taste of water – try using a water diffuser and add some fruit/herbs and ice teas and herbal teas are a great way of staying hydrated during the winter but watch out for sugar.
If you are drinking alcohol over Christmas it is especially important to drink water as alcohol can make you dehydrated and you can end up with a nasty headache! Do drink responsibly over the holidays.
The holiday season can be a busy time and we think there is no time to fit exercise in, but you can do it with a bit of planning. There is no need to do long sessions at the gym, but a quick 30 minutes will do. If you are an early riser than you can fit this into your morning or you can fit a quick session into your lunch break. There are different forms of exercise that you do every day that can be incorporated into your day such as walking more or doing a few exercises at your desk.
On Christmas day you don’t have to stay in one place all the time, you can go up and down the stairs a few times, go for a walk with the family or jog on the spot! It does not have to be long or keep you away from the fun!
Check out my YouTube channel for ideas on a quick workout.
Christmas is not enjoyable for everyone and can be stressful, so it is an important time to look after yourself. Stress is not a problem in itself. Stress becomes a problem when it is overwhelming and continuous. We are continually ‘busy’ at all times of years so perhaps the Christmas holidays can be your time to take a bit of time out.
Make sure you eat well, exercise, sleep and take a few quite moments for yourself. If you find this time of year particularly hard, do not judge yourself, treat yourself with compassion and find support. Managing our mental health is not necessarily simple, you may find this website useful:
Angela Rochester is a London based Advanced Personal Trainer and group fitness instructor. Angela trains clients at home or at environments that are convenient for them. One of Angela's favourite seasons is winter and she absolutely loves Christmas!