It is time to get Merry and wrap up a tumultuous year, to say the least. Time to truly rest, recover, nourish, indulge and avoid ‘Christmas-it is’. Somehow every time I use this term, people smile and often know exactly what this made-up term indicates. ‘Christmas-it is- ‘as defined by me is the inflammation, bloat, and self-sabotage that begin early December and goes to the middle or end of January. I will see what I can do to get this term on Wikipedia soon.
With each stir or shake of a cocktail or champagne cork popping, you may feel your willpower shrinking, your hip handles expanding and your face rounding. I want you to swell with emotional enjoyment over the coming holidays not with physical puffiness.
My five easy health messages will ensure you don’t have a true blowout of your weight or wellness. The combination of Covid stress, summer and the festive season can catapult many of us into an eating frenzy. Christmas parties, end-of-the-year parties, welcome-to-summer parties, New Year’s Eve parties, and a host of other celebrations can bring out the Sugar Addict in the healthiest of us.
But you don’t have to be a Scrooge and not enjoy the celebrations if you consider some ways to keep yourself from feeling miserable and overstuffed about how you indulged once the fun dies down. Take heed of the following tips and you should feel delighted and encouraged by all the possibilities that come with the fresh start of a new year.
- #noguilt – Your Mantra. You’re going to indulge, you’re only human. It has been a big year, and it’s okay to have a bit of indulgence. A frosty glass of bubbles, an inviting pavlova, and even one too many nibbles may sway you from your normal routine. That is so okay. What is not okay is indulging, then beating yourself up, then being overwhelmed with a sneaky hate spiral, then bingeing because you’re angry with yourself, then going to bed with punishing monkey chatter, you wake up and have road rage on the way to your stressful, high intensity workout, you vow not to eat all day and you skip breakfast as the shame of last night has still engulfed you. By 1pm you are exhausted, brain fogged and about to chew your knuckles off or harm someone because you’re so hungry. You binge again and the sneaky spiral happens all over again.
Commit to stopping that self-destruction right now. Enjoy in moderation. You cannot fail at good nutrition – simply pick up again at the next meal. And commit to a wellbeing week or two in late January or February.
- “Choose Your Poison”. Of course, I don’t really mean poison, but it’s a cheeky saying to ring in your ears. I actually mean choose your indulgence wisely. If I am going to eat the carb-loaded but long-awaited Christmas pudding, I might not have that second cocktail or glass of bubbles. Or I might choose a cheeky pinot over a fluffy bread roll. Choose wisely and beware of sugar. Glucose, fructose, sucrose, lactose… too much sugar of any kind is exactly that – too much sugar – and will lead to excess weight and bloating, not to mention your energy roller-coasting up and down. Be sugar savvy!
- Seek Steps and Stairs. Keep moving and do not let your exercise routine get thrown out due to the hectic pace of the silly season. You do not need a gym or a fancy Pilates class. Those are great but so is walking upstairs or an incline. To cement your daily commitment, exercise with a friend. Studies show that we are more likely to make the fitness session if we have a buddy we have to answer to. Not only will you feel better, but you will also burn the excess from the night before, and movement brings a plush, luxuriant blood flow to the skin for a healthy, merry glow.
- Hydrate for Hunger. Have you ever considered that you have confused the fact that you are thirsty rather than hungry? Think about it. So many of us confuse this message in our brain. It is not uncommon to be dehydrated in the summer months particularly if we have indulgenced in one too many alcoholic beverages the night before. So, before you go inhaling foods that do not serve you during your hunger blaze, ask yourself when was the last time was you had a big glass of water. If it has been a few hours, then have another and then if you’re still ravenous, eat with conscious thought.
Consider making your hydration fun with sparkling waters with bits of fruit for flavour, ice cubes made from lemon or lime juice, mint leaves and even herbal teas.
- Be a Wellness Warrior on your non-party days. There will be days where you are not going to a party, BBQ, or an event so be a wellness Rockstar on that day. Protect your sleep, exercise, and nourishment on those days like they are your most valuable assets- because in fact, they should be. Exercise eat well throughout the day, hydrate, intermittent fast for dinner, go to bed at a nourishing time and wake up and shine for your next party.
Enjoy this: Gin and Sonic – ½ soda water and ½ tonic
Instead of this: Margarita (5 -8 tsp sugar)
Enjoy this: Chicken Skewer
Instead of this: Sweet Chilli fried prawns (3.5 tsp sugar per tablespoon)
Enjoy this: Roasted spicy almonds
Instead of this: Mince Pie (6 tsp)
Enjoy this: Dark Chocolate Santa
Instead of this: Rum Ball (4 tsp of sugar)
Enjoy this: Chocolate-dipped Strawberry
Instead of this: Peppermint Candy Cane small (2 tsp)
Enjoy this: Cheese platter (eat more cheese than crackers)
Instead of this: Pavlova (13 tsp / one 125-gram slice)