Written by: Sebastian Mann (Accredited Exercise Scientist)
Christmas is known as a time to eat, drink, be merry and enjoy time with family and friends.
However, for many it’s a time when healthy habits go out the window. The average with overindulging being a common occurrence for many people. However, Christmas can still be enjoyed whilst maintaining a healthy approach. Here are some tips on staying healthy and fit over Christmas.
1) Reduce Alcohol
Obviously, with the rest of the family enjoying cold beverages, it’s very difficult not to join in with peers, but try and limit yourself to two or three drinks in a day. Doing this everyday however, isn’t great for your body given alcohol is high in empty calories meaning it has no nutritional benefit. Water intake should also be maintained or even increased as alcohol is a diuretic (promotes water loss through urine). Without sufficient hydration we also often feel hungry and sluggish, this may lead to other problems such as wanting to skip exercise activities, workouts, eating more snacks, eating unhealthy foods, and reach for excess caffeine.
2) Eat Well (Make Smart food Choices!)
One of the best things about Christmas is the endless mounds of mouth-watering Christmas food that is no-doubt, high in carbs and calories. If you’re headed out to dinner or a holiday party, spoil your appetite first, that way you’re less likely to inhale all the holiday snacks. Have a snack an hour or so beforehand so you don’t show up starving. When you’re hungry you tend to make poor food decisions.
So have a snack and give yourself time to see what foods are available, and make choices based on what you’re craving and what you actually want. Consider what is on your plate as well, make sure you consider a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and vegetables.
3) Increase your Physical Activity
Stick to a consistent exercise routine. If you have access to a gym, try to allocate specific times during the week to complete sessions. However, if there is no nearby facility, you’ll need to get creative. This may include squeezing in walks after big meals or exercising whilst cooking in the kitchen. Incorporate bodyweight movements that burn a lot of calories such as squats, lunges, and burpees, do your best to get your exercise time in, no matter how small.
A modified or condensed workout is better than a missed workout. Combine your workouts by buddying up with a friend and commit to working out together over the holiday. Exercising with a friend is great way to commit yourself to keeping active as you can hold each other accountable for showing up. It’s also a great excuse to get some more socializing in.
4) Get Sleep
Sufficient sleep is essential for being in a good mood, and feeling energetic. just like insufficient water intake, a lack of sleep can lead to poor health choices such as inactivity and eating decisions. Even with holiday travel plans, be sure to make time for sleep. Consistency is the most important part so try your best to maintain your regular bed and wake times, even when traveling. Maintaining a relaxing bedtime can be useful. Christmas leaves many people running overtime which isn’t good on anyone’s body.
Stressed individuals commonly have high levels of cortisol, a hormone that’s released in response to stress. Which is linked to increased food intake. and increased cravings for more junk food.
For these reasons, it’s important to keep stress levels under control in general, but especially during the build up to Christmas, when you might be busy and surrounded by unhealthy foods and possibly but hopefully not, annoying family members.
Commit to daily meditation to reduce your hormones of stress, remain centered and calm; and protect yourself from feeling overwhelmed during this busy period!
If you are interested in learning more about how you can improve our health and fitness, or improve your mental wellbeing, come in and speak to one of our Exercise Physiologists or Personal Trainers at Inspire Fitness for Wellbeing, or call us on 9857 3007