It’s finally here and it seems to be starting earlier and earlier every year but it is the time of year where most of us put on some padding! On average most people put on between 7 and 14 lbs of extra padding at Christmas time and last year I was no exception. I finished the marathon at the end of October and just stopped running, crazy I know but I had had enough at that point! Anyway, what ensued through November and December was a lot of nights out, drinking, hangovers, a lot of evening eating (the biggest culprit) and a real lack of weekly health planning. The result was about a stone of extra weight.
So here are my best tips for surviving this Christmas with your health intact.
Tip 1 – Skip the dessert
Christmas is a time where a lot of us go out a lot more than usual. So rather than not go out at all, it’s important to let the hair down too but this one is about damage limitation. So when it comes to dinners out, skip the dessert. Desserts in restaurants are laden with extra calories that we just don’t need to consume so keep your meals to 2 courses. Remember we have been conditioned by restaurants over time to consume 3-course meals but you rarely eat like this at home, for most people, they have a main meal at home and that’s it. So try and apply the same principle when you go out but treat yourself with a salad based starter instead of a calorie-heavy nutrient poor dessert.
Tip 2 – Water
In terms of damage limitation for alcohol, the aim really is to lessen the hangover and by consequence reduce the likelihood of you gorging yourself on fast junk food over the next few days. I’m no saint when it comes to alcohol consumption but consider drinking water in between every few drinks and make sure you drink a pint of water before you go asleep. Try to get home a little earlier, don’t be the last guy in the bar. I have learned this one the hard way.
Tip 3 – Stop evening eating
My final one is my favourite one but this one is my biggest personal challenge. Evening eating is making us fat. For a lot of people, the evening time is where the kids are down to bed (hopefully) and the adults can finally relax after work and unwind a bit. It is important to unwind and destress but the tools a lot of us choose to help us do that is helping us pile on the pounds. Sitting down after dinner, munching on tea and biscuits or chocolates or crisps or whatever you have in your “goodies cupboard” is slowly adding more unnecessary calories to your daily intake. Make a simple rule and commit to yourself – I do not eat anything after my dinner or 8pm, whichever comes first. By setting a curfew for your eating to say 8pm, as a result, you also introduce a 12 hour fasting period into your day – 8pm to 8am. This is excellent to give your body and your cells a chance to detoxify and regenerate.
Tip 4 – Eat more veg
I am always going to recommend this one. Fill your plate with the colors of the rainbow and eat more veg. Also if eating out, try going for the lighter options of fish over heavy steaks that will take an age to digest. Fish is better meat and lighter on the body in terms of digestion.
I hope some of these tips resonate, they are meant to be simple to apply so let me know how you get on if you get to try them out this Christmas.
Above all else, enjoy this time with family and friends and the sense of well being that comes from spending time with your nearest and dearest.
This will be my last post from thehealthproject.ie for 2018, thanks so much for reading and I wish you all the very best for a healthy and happy 2019.