Managing Your Health In The Lead Up To Christmas

Healthy eating
Robyn Foyster Robyn Foyster has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Editor

Dec 15, 2023

Nikita Deo, Clinical Dietitian at Vityl Medical

The festive season is a time of celebration, food, family, and joy. However, it’s news to no-one that in between the many Christmas celebrations, work drinks, people to see, things to bake, presents to buy and the general busy-ness that consumes us before we put our ‘pens down’ for the year, looking after our health usually falls down our list of priorities – and it’s very common to over-indulge.

The reality is though, we only get one body and it’s our responsibility to look after it as best we can. As a clinical dietician at Vityl Medical, I see day in day out the effects of a poor diet on our patient’s quality of life. In fact, diet plays a significant role in long-term chronic diseases like obesity, cardiac disease, diabetes and even mental health issues – these make up the most common causes of death in the world. With that said, when you think about the bigger picture, a day or two of overindulging isn’t going to make a major difference to your overall wellbeing. It’s more about what you do most of the time, not occasionally, but is important to manage your health all year round.

Be mindful about portion control. Overeating is the biggest problem over the festive season. Whilst food is to be enjoyed, everything should be in moderation. Dish yourself up your own meal, on a small plate where possible, and wait a good 20 minutes before going back for sections – it takes this amount of time for your brain to register that your stomach is full.

Remember that food is still fuel. We must try to remember that even at Christmas, food is still fuel for our bodies and has a major impact on our overall function. When filling up your plate, try to prioritize the more nutritious items, filling the dominant part of your plate with colorful vegetables, salads, and protein such as roast or grilled meats, with a small fist-size serving of carbs like pasta or potatoes.
 
Entertain mindfully. If you’re entertaining, think about whether you really need discretionary snack items such as bowls of chips, lollies, dips and biscuits on top of a large lunch or dinner. Instead, consider serving a no added sugar punch, made with soda, lime, mint and a fresh fruit of choice. If putting up finger foods, consider bowls of unsalted mixed nuts and seeds mixed with lovely, dried fruits such as goji berries, pears, and apricots, instead of mince tarts and chocolates.

Stick to a normal eating routine. Try not to skip meals. It can be tempting to do so with the mindset that you will end up over-eating at one event or another, but if you continue to have your three meals a day means you will help naturally reduce the serving sizes of your celebratory meals. Plus, a regular eating routine helps to regulate our body clock, which is important for overall health.

Eat consciously. Conscious eating means eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re satisfied, rather than using other common cues, such as how much food is on the table and the size of your plate or cocktail glass. These little things often shape our food choices, causing us to indulge more than we need to. Ask yourself, am I eating this just because it’s in front of me?

Don’t forget to exercise. It might feel like a drag to fit exercise in amongst everything else that is happening at this time of the year – but it’s imperative that we get our sweat on and our heart rate up. 
Something as simple as a 30-minute walk in the sunshine, a beach swim or a 10-minute HIIT workout can have a real impact on our overall bodily functioning, and importantly our mind. I’d encourage you to seize opportunities to move your body as often as you can – even if it’s walking the 10 minutes down the road to the event, rather than catching an Uber!

Lower your stress levels. It is certainly easier said than done, but high levels of stress can wreak havoc on our entire body. Practice meditation, just 5 minutes in the morning can make all the difference to your day. Take deep breaths. Prioritize. Limit alcohol. Importantly, talk about it. If you’re experiencing particularly high levels or stress of anxiety in this season, reach out to a trusted friend, family member
or counsellor.
As much as possible over the Christmas period, continue sticking to your regular fitness schedule, eating a balanced breakfast, snacking with intention and purpose, and being mindful of your alcohol intake will help you get through the festive season and into a healthy 2023.

If you do find that you are experiencing signs and symptoms of a chronic illness like diabetes, heart disease, sleep issues or sexual dysfunction, Vityl can help. Vityl is a patient-centric chronic care platform dedicated to helping you feel your best. Using our unique platforms and medical management software we allow our team of medical professionals, specialists, allied health experts and coaches to coordinate seamless and effective care for your most chronic concerns in conjunction with your GP. Anywhere, anytime, our platform is like a virtual hospital in the palm of your hand.

Nikita Deo is a clinical dietitian at Vityl, and is an expert in chronic illness and weight management, diabetes, pre-diabetes and heart disease.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

By Robyn Foyster Robyn Foyster has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Editor

Robyn Foyster is the owner and publisher of the lifestyle websites TheCarousel.com, GameChangers.com.au and WomenLoveTech.com. She is the only person to edit and publish Australia's three biggest flagship magazines - The Australian Women's Weekly, Woman's Day and New Idea. Robyn was Group Publisher of Bauer Media's most successful and prestigious magazines including Woman's Day, Good Health, Grazia and ran Hearst in Australia including Harper’s BAZAAR, Cosmopolitan and madison. Voted one of B&T's 30 Most Powerful Women In Media at the Women in Media Awards Robyn was a keynote speaker at Pause 2021, Cebit & J&J Women In Leadership. Robyn was also the winner of the prestigious Magazine Publisher Association’s Editor of the Year award.

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