Whilst many of us find it easy to jump straight into the Christmas spirit, sometimes we can feel a little guilty about skipping the gym and overindulging in Christmas treats. December is an indulgent month and we certainly shouldn't feel guilty about enjoying the festivities. I’ve put together my top 5 tips to help you stay balanced and feel less guilty about taking some time to relax and enjoy yourself.
1. Keep moving
We all hate the thought of exercising in the cold winter months but fitting some exercise into your busy schedule can help you relieve stress and make you feel a little more relaxed about having that second mince pie. Spending lots of time indoors over Christmas can also make you feel sluggish and can make you more prone to picking up a cold. Even if your calendar is fully booked with parties, there is always time to squeeze in a quick workout. This could be a spin class, a 5km run, a YouTube hit session or simply a 20 minute walk. Check your calendar and plan your week ahead, fitting in a couple of workouts where you can.
2. Balance your week
If you know you’re going to be at parties or work-dos a few nights of the week, try to be mindful and make a conscious decision to eat healthier meals on the other nights. Focus on eating lots of veggies and high fibre foods. That way you can balance your week and feel less guilty about indulging at the party. Head on over to our blog for healthy and delicious comfort food dishes such as Red Lentil Dhal with Crispy Kale and Butternut Squash and Cavolo Nero Curry.
3. Avoid skipping meals
Skipping meals in general is not a good idea as it can play havoc with your blood glucose levels and cause dips and spikes throughout the day. This can make you feel fatigued and sluggish and can even give you headaches. It’s tempting to skip meals during the busy Christmas period however this can result in us making bad choices later in the day. We are much more likely to overindulge in the nibbles and drinks at the party when we skip meals, which are often high in sugar, fat and salt, and low in fibre and protein. Try to eat a balanced meal before you head to the party so your less likely to overindulge in the christmas treats.
4. Choose your drink wisely
We all love a drink or two down the pub at Christmas but if we’re out most nights of the week the drinks can easily mount up. Some alcoholic drinks can also be very high in sugar and take you over your recommended intake for the day (30g). If you find it difficult to say no after a few, then try opting for a lighter choice. You could swap your tonic water for soda water or a slim line version. Or choose a glass of Prosecco over a cocktail.
• Mojito cocktail (225ml) = 20g sugar and 180kcal
• Pina Colada cocktail (425ml) = 65g sugar and 450kcal
• Pint of beer = 13.5g of sugar and 170kcal
• Large glass of wine (250ml) = 2.5g of sugar and 230kcal
• Serving of mixer such as tonic water (200ml) = 16g of sugar and 72kcal
• Glass of Prosecco (125ml) = 1g of sugar and 85kcal
5. Don’t beat yourself up
It wouldn’t be Christmas if we didn’t indulge in mince pies, mulled wine and cheese boards. December is the only month of the year where our diaries are booked up with parties, work-dos and drinks. You shouldn’t feel guilty at Christmas but if you do there are lots of things you can do to help you stay on track and balance your weeks. Save the hard work for the New Year and enjoy your time to relax with family and friends.
Speak again soon,
Gemma, The Food Doctor nutritionist