Over the coming weeks, as we hit peak Christmas, there will be a great deal of temptation and potential gluttony that could undo some of the amazing work that you have achieved this year with your health and healthy habits.
Now please don’t get me wrong, I want you to enjoy your Christmas meals and treats but if you follow my guidance below you can still enjoy them, you’ll just be being more mindful of the festive food that you eat and when you eat it, and how to come out the other side of the season smiling! 😊
Make clever food choices
- Protein is your friend. Remember this and make sure that you are having protein for every meal, especially breakfast as then you are less likely to reach for the mince pies later in the day!
- Ease off the potatoes on Christmas Day. This leaves more room for Christmas pudding and means you are having the carbs for dessert instead of for the main course, I’ve been doing this for years and find I enjoy my Christmas Day far more because of it.
- Keep up with your veg intake. In particular cruciferous ones like broccoli and brussel sprouts which help your liver to metabolise alcohol and help it to detox all that rich food by increasing liver enzymes!
- Drink black coffee after a big meal. Particularly better at lunchtime as this really helps your liver and your digestion. If you can’t manage caffeine then try decaffeinated (still at lunch though because it does have a small amount of caffeine).
- Eat nuts and seeds. Both are great snacks to have when you get peckish or are having a glass of wine or Champagne away from a meal. BONUS – nuts support the production of liver enzymes so they are also helping your liver to detox the drink! Toast them, roast them, flavour them with spices, and treat other people with something special.
Sweet treats after meals
There are often plenty of sweet treats around at this time of year, so here is some guidance on when to eat them to limit the effects on your body, if you can’t resist!
- Mince pies, Christmas cake and chocolates. Have them as part of your meal, preferably at lunchtime, this slows down the release of sugar and therefore makes the job of metabolising the sugar easier for your body.
- Don’t keep them out! Put them away after meals the same way you put the other food away. Having chocolates sitting out when you’re watching TV or in the kitchen just makes you more likely to reach for them and once you’ve had one – well who knows what happens then!
- More about chocolates. If you are the one buying chocolate buy dark and buy the best quality, enjoy them, make them special and finish them!
Alcohol with food or food with alcohol
This speaks for itself. If you are drinking away from a meal then have some nuts or a protein-rich snack, it will help to keep your blood sugar more stable as alcohol can make it drop significantly after the initial high causing you to reach for the sweet treats!
Otherwise drink alcohol with a meal that contains protein.
Water, water and more water!
- Flush out your liver and kidneys and prepare them for what comes next.
- Have water on the table at mealtimes and pour it out for everyone at the start of the meal, that encourages you and your fellow diners to drink some before eating – along with whatever is in your other glass!
- Have a glass of water when you get out of bed.
- And another before each meal, even if you are having a glass of wine or a gin and tonic.
- Drink a glass every time you reach for anything to eat or drink, you are probably thirsty. Whether it be tea, coffee, wine, gin, cake or chocolates that you are reaching for you are probably thirsty. So have a glass of water first!
Do something active and positive
- I love winter walks, don’t you? So wrap up warm and get outside, best to do this in the morning, once the light starts going it’s much harder to motivate yourself though any time will do.
- Dance – that morning dance in the bathroom. The music while you’re cooking. Let them take you to a happy place and Ge-e-et Dancing!
- Laugh, put a comedy show on TV, spend time with a friend that you know will make you laugh, and listen to something funny. Laughter is so good for us – boosting the endorphins to make us feel better, increasing our oxygen intake and helping us to relax. It’s not just a short-term pick-me-up either it also supports our long-term health by improving the function of our immune system and relieving pain. Just laugh.
- Sing – singing has lots of the benefits that laughter does, improving your mood, relieving stress and improving sleep and helping with pain. It even improves your posture, increases your lung capacity and can help to clear your sinuses!
Take some time for yourself!
And last but by no means least, take some time for yourself! Are you someone who is constantly thinking of others, particularly at Christmas? This year remember to take some time for you, just you, to have space to replenish your energy, to fill your cup so you can give more to those you love most dearly (and the other ones!)
- Go and take a soak in the bath, and use some Epsom salts or essential oils to enhance the relaxation.
- Go for a walk on your own.
- Read a book.
- Sit for 10-15 minutes on your own with some music on or just quietly. I find it good to have a pen and paper handy because this time often brings the best thoughts and ideas.
- Do some yoga/pilates/stretching
- Have a rest in the afternoon, lying flat resets your nervous system.
The more you take time for yourself, the more you can give back and the more fun you are likely to have.