Christmas is almost upon us and as I finish my daily exercise I think about all the good work I’ve done over the last few months, knowing that in a couple of days my good work may be undone in the space of a few hours from overindulgence. So let’s face it unless you lock yourself in a room and don't come out for the next week you can’t avoid the food and alcohol but there are ways to minimise the damage.
1. Drink wisely
If you can avoid alcohol on Christmas day, then more power to you – this is your best option. However if you’re like me and enjoy a few drinks on Christmas day then choose your drink wisely.
Remember it’s not just the alcohol but what we mix with it, which is quite often lots of sugary soft drink. I think we all know how much sugar is in a can of coke. It’s best to avoid all full sugar soft drinks. Also think about the sugars in other alcoholic drinks. One of my favourite drinks that I had in England at Christmas one year was mulled wine. It’s extremely high in sugar. Ciders are also high in sugar, as well as most cocktails.
Beer is also a bad choice but better than sugary mixes. The yeast, grains, gluten, and calories in beer make it a recipe for becoming bloated and inflamed. If you must have beer opt for light beer. Wine is also not great but slightly better than beer (comparing a glass of wine to a bottle of beer). Am I killing the Christmas spirit yet?
One of the best options is mixing gin or vodka with soda water – add a squeeze of fresh lime and perfect. Try halving the alcohol you’d normally mix. If you need something that’s a bit sweater then try diet tonic or diet soft drink. You could also make some ice tea (try a fruity blend - no sugar) and mix with gin & diet tonic – add a few slices of lemon and lime. Very refreshing.
Moderate the alcohol with water. Keep a glass of water nearby all day and alternate between water and alcoholic beverages – you’ll feel much better for it.
2. Ditch the unhealthy snacks
As if we don’t eat enough for Christmas lunch, we also have terrible unhealthy snacks that sit on the table all day. As adults our excuse is usually that there for the children… chips, lollies, chocolates, cheese & biscuits. However we’re the ones that end up eating them. No excuse, ditch them this year, they are not necessary. If you must have snacks replace with vegetable sticks, fruit, and nuts (no salt).
3. Use a smaller plate
The philosophy is simple… have a smaller plate to reduce your consumption of food. There have been many studies to support this claim and this is especially the case when we are serving our own food. Smaller plate, serve ourselves less, and therefore, eat less. It works so give it a go this Christmas.
4. Fill your plate with healthy options first
Instead of heading straight for the high calorie and fattening side dishes, choose some lean turkey or ham and plenty of vegetables and salads (minus the gravy, heavy sauces and dressings). If you must go for some higher-calorie options do it after you’ve eaten the good stuff, when you’re already somewhat full... you'll be likely to eat less.
5. Exercise on Christmas morning
Imagine waking up on Christmas morning, the shine is shining (for Australian's at least) and it's a beautiful day… get up wish everyone a Merry Christmas, open the pressies, go outside and DO SOME EXERCISE!!!
Chances are, even with all the above suggestions you are still likely to drink alcohol and eat unhealthier than normal. So do yourself a favour and get active - go for a swim, jog or walk the dog. Better still do it with the family. You won’t feel guilty when you have that small piece of Christmas pudding or dessert.
6. Practice gratitude and mindfulness during Christmas day
When you are eating practice mindfulness... savour and enjoy the food. Make sure you chew it slowly and thoroughly, it is not only a more pleasant experience, it will make you feel satisfied far more easily. Listen to your stomach… you’ll be aware of when you feel full and stop eating.
One of the greatest things we can do on Christmas day is practice gratitude and mindfulness. What's important for most of us is that we get to spend it with family and friends. Be grateful to spend this day with the ones you love. Be mindful during the day, take the time to interact and connect with the people around you… not only will it be super beneficial to your relationship with others it’ll most likely distract you from overindulging. Enjoy and indulge in conversation, laughter and activities with your loved ones not on food and alcohol.
Have a great Christmas & a wonderful New Years