It’s that time of year again, a time full of celebrations, family gatherings and nights out. Which invariably all involve delicious food and drinks that we just don’t normally eat on a daily basis. It can make it challenging to maintain your health over the festive season.
If you have already started looking after your health in the last year, you may be wondering how on earth can you maintain your health over the festive season? Or if improving your health is one of your goals for the new year, I’d say why wait till January?
My ethos when it comes to health and wellbeing is that good health is a journey, not an overnight success story.
Bearing that in mind, adding in some small steps now will start you on your wellness journey and lay the foundations for more improvements come the new year. If you’ve already started this journey, keeping the following tips in mind over this festive period will keep you on your path, so you don’t feel like you’re starting from scratch come January.
Tip 1: Hydrate hydrate hydrate
Keeping hydrated is the first starting point when it comes to better health. It may sound too easy to be true, but it is.
Our body uses up a huge amount of water during the day for a number of bodily process, digestion being one of them. It also use the water we take on board to flush out any toxins processed by the liver.
If you’re dehydrated you’ll feel sluggish, tired and even bloated. Even if you’re used to drinking lots of water, a change in routine such as going on holiday, being busy or constant visiting can lead you to drinking less then you normally would.
Always start your day with a large glass of warm water. This will start you off on right foot. To help remind you to drink water over the day fill a large jug and leave it in plain view to remind you. Or take a water bottle with you when out and about.
Tip 2: Fill your plate with vegetables
Festive food plays a large part in any celebration, and it’s Ok to indulge in foods you normally wouldn’t eat on a daily basis.
I have to say, Christmas dinner is one of my favourite meals of the year. But it’s not all about the goose or turkey. There are so many delicious vegetables on offer at this time of year too. Be sure to add 2-3 portions of veggies to your plate at each meal. They are a great source of fibre to keep your gut and bowels healthy. They also contain antioxidants and phytochemicals that help protect cells against damage and support your immune system.
Tip 3: Limit grazing
Between boxes of chocolates in the office, to the never ending supply of food from leftovers and sweet treats, it can be hard not to constantly eat! However, when eating constantly our digestive system just doesn’t get a chance to process what we’ve eaten at all. We’re more likely to end up feeling bloated and sluggish, and probably not eating enough of our main meals.
Our digestive system prefers to have 3-5 hours in between each meal so that it can properly digest it and move it along. While this may feel hard to do with all the food lying around, have your sweet treats with your meal as a desert. Or if relaxing on the coach with the family, take the box of sweets away out of reach. Stick with proper meal times as much as possible, but make these enjoyable and filling so you won’t feel deprived!
Tip 4: Move more
Your exercise routine may take a hit during the festive period, but with time off and family around, going for a walk daily can be just as good.
Movement on a daily basis has many health benefits. So if you haven’t started that gym routine, or you’re just not into it start with some relaxing walks instead.
Some of the benefits that can be achieved from simply walking for 10-30 minutes each day include:
- improved sleep
- lower stress
- improved mood
- increased energy
- reduced fatigue
Research also shows that people who do just 2 minutes of low to moderate intensity walking every 20 minutes see reduction their blood glucose levels after eating (compared to those who remain sedentary). All the more reason to head out for a stroll after your Christmas lunch.
Tip 5: Get a good nights sleep
Sleep can literally go out the window over Christmas, between late nights and early mornings you may end the holidays worse off than before. For our overall health and wellbeing our body does need regular, good quality sleep. It’s during this time that it can do all its repair work and set us up for the next day.
To help you get a good nights sleep and maintain your health over the festive period try not to eat right up until bedtime. A full stomach can lead to a bad nights sleep as our digestion is not up to full par late at night, so the food can sit there. If possible leave 2 hours after food and before bed.
Have a calming herbal tea before bed to help calm the mind after a busy day. This will also help to re-hydrate you too.
Go for a walk during the day, as with all the food and festivities you may have lots of excess energy that can leave you restless at night.
Festivities are meant to be just that – a time to celebrate. You can definitely enjoy the things you love while maintaining your health this festive season. It’s all about balance!
If you’re looking to work on your health in 2023 the doors are now open for my 1:1 Totally Nourished 10-week program starting in January. If you’re interested in finding out more book in for a free no-obligation 30-minute call with me today here.