It can be a real challenge to not get high-jacked by all the festive excitement and indulgences we are often exposed to over the silly season.
Clients always check in around now for tips on the best food and drink choices to enjoy without undoing all their hard work. Here are some personal tips and tricks I suggest, so you can continue making choices from a place of health and self care over Christmas.
1. Move Daily!!
I suggest making exercise the first thing you do in the morning this time of year, that way you take away the risk of social invites pushing your fitness plans back. Get outdoors before breakfast, it’s the most magical and inspiring hour of the day and will fire up your metabolism… if you have visitors, perhaps you can all head out for a beach walk, a bike ride to your local coffee shop, or explore a nearby bush walking track..
Exercise makes for a clear mind, and a clear mind makes for clear food choices.
The more incidental exercise over this period the better, you can make it fun and incorporate the whole family! Think backyard games, walking to and from venues and post dinner sunset strolling to help you digest your food.
2. On Food:
My 2:1 Rule: I use this approach when I am traveling. My rule of thumb is to eat two pristine meals a day, and then allow myself one “free” meal… which means I eat exactly what I want for one meal, guilt free!
Take care of you by eating small amounts mindfully, being careful not to get swept up in the gorging that may be happening around you!! I have noticed over the years that I can easily be effected by someone next to me who is eating as though it’s their last meal. Chew slowly and remember, this time of year, there is always more food just around the corner.
Sugar is the big one you want to avoid during this period. Our body has no ability to register if it is full when we are eating refined carbs, making it far easier to overeat… Some simple suggestions: always go a cheese plate over christmas cake for dessert, fill up on seafood and protein with salad before you smash in to the bread basket, and avoid sugary mixers when choosing beverages.
If you are a real dessert lover, plan ahead of the day… get crafty and search “sugar free or low sugar version”… of your favourite dessert online, chances are there will be a few healthier options for you to try out!
Second to this is deep fried foods, like chips/crisps, they are laden with salt (which will dehydrate you more) and have virtually zero nutritional value, instead, make your own home made chips from sweet potato or fill up on a full fat, low sugar dip with fresh cut vegetables!!
Need a sweet? Make a batch of my Grain & Refined Sugar Free Christmas Panforte.
Try these Grain, Dairy and Refined Sugar Free Gingerbread Men from the Carla Oat’s cookbook, The Beauty Chef, they were a total winner.
3. On Alcohol:
My top three drink options I would recommend: gin/vodka with soda water, a good quality sparkling wine, or a martini/negroni if you’re feeling fancy/dining out.
Want to avoid a hangover? Don’t let yourself start drinking when you are dehydrated, drink a heap of water if you have been out in the sun all day before you crack your first beer, eat some fat/protein… and avoid sugar in food and drinks – stay away from sugary mixers (FYI did you know tonic water is full of sugar!).
Also preservatives in wine or beer will give you a killer headache the next day! Go natural or preservative free when it comes to vino/beer, and remember often one glass of wine (depending on who is pouring) is more likely to be two standard drinks, not one.
Get in the habit of drinking a glass of water in between alcoholic beverages 1:1.
Alcohol more often then not makes us over eat or become less mindful of what we are eating, the less sugar you’re consuming in your beverages, the less likely you are to fall victim to this.
4. On Stress & Emotions:
Christmas time can be a difficult one for many. I personally find it challenging, and prefer not to get too caught up in the commercial hype of it all… I see this week as a staycation, spending as much time with friends as possible, reading books and surfing.
For anyone else who swerves the Christmas festivities, or needs some tools to help manage emotions that arise when your family hits town, here are some other resources I find useful.
Reflection + contemplation: I use this time to reflect on the year gone by, thinking about what I would like to let go of, and then what I would like to focus more on in the year to come. I do this for both my work and personal life.
I am a huge fan of a daily mediation practice before bed or on rising. I take 15 minutes sitting comfortably (not lying down!!). It’s a great way of reducing stress, turning the volume down on negative self talk, and improving sleep. I spend a lot of time listening to meditations and podcasts by Tara Brach. I also use the meditation app ~ One Giant Mind.
Unplug social media: If there was ever a time to disconnect from the giant energy zapping cord that is social media, it’s Christmas. Be with friends, family and yourself. If you find Christmas time emotionally challenging, it’s even more of a reason to take some time away from the screen and find ways to have fun outside of technology!
Need I state that alcohol can also heat things up in the emotional department, so if your family/in-laws tend to raise your blood pressure or shorten your fuse, you’re much more likely to react and lash out with each additional glass you have… practice slowing down so you can communicate from your highest self.
The ocean is everything to me! The more time I can get in the water, the better!! Being by the ocean gives me perspective and allows me to see that each day is a fresh start. It suspends me when I need support from something greater, it reminds me that like the waves, seasons and situations come and go, and that everything belongs here, I belong here.
May your holidays be peaceful. x