Christmas is the best time of year. Long holidays. Family. Friends. No work! And don’t forget the visit from Santa. In the lead up to Christmas, the social diary gets pretty full. Late night shopping. Extra socialising. Office Christmas party. Family re-unions. Hours in front of the TV (Downton Christmas Special anyone?) Work deadlines – the 16th is just a few days away! All of this is squeezed into 1 month.
But then on the other side of Christmas is January. The New Year, a raft of resolutions, a few kilos to shed and a general feeling of lethargy and over indulgence. Plus the annoying fact that all of the ‘healthy living’ hard work over 2015 has been cancelled out by the Christmas blow out. Even for the health conscious, navigating the Christmas break can be tricky: tempting treats wherever you go and maintaining a fitness routine can be difficult. The inevitable conclusion? A combination of detox/ diet/ exercise or purge is needed. Looking forward to it?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were fewer challenges to the start to the New Year? To survive the holidays we have pulled together some hints and tips to help 2016 start with a bang.
Everything starts with a healthy breakfast! If you are going out in the evening, make sure you start the day with a good, healthy breakfast. Choose something that will keep you satiated and help stabilise blood sugars throughout the day. Oats are ideal: indulge in a filling porridge or try our simple Bircher breakfast or Quinola. If it’s the morning after, whip up an egg omelette or frittata packed with veggies. Eggs include nutrients which support the liver. Or if a cooked breakfast is not an option, get out the blender and make a smoothie and try to include bananas, oranges and kiwi as they help combat the diuretic effects of alcohol.
If you are heading out in the evening, don’t starve yourself in the day to save on calories. You will turn up at the party ravenous and eat five times more than you should. Instead eat a healthy snack or half a meal 45 minutes before you go to the party. It will help keep your hunger at bay and stop you from attacking the buffet table. Try a natural (full fat yoghurt) with banana or granary toast with nut butter.
The gym schedule is likely to be thrown off its normal routine over the holidays, but that does not mean you can’t keep active. Keeping active will help limit the kilos piling on! Squeeze in a walk or family hike. Go for a run. If it’s hot, go for a swim. Try and walk more, drive less. And even if is not your normal routine, go to the gym when you can. You can make your sessions count for more by adding some HIIT to the workout.
Sleep is vital to keep your health on track (see Are You Getting Your Beauty Sleep?). The holidays are tough (but fun) on health: all the extra activities, late night shopping, parties, extra food. Our bodies and minds need time to recuperate and recover. Getting enough sleep is key to this. Grehlin, the hunger hormone, is produced in excess, when the body lacks sleep: the more tired you are, the more likely you will feel the need to snack or binge on foods to boost your energy. When you can, try and prioritise sleep over the holidays.
Water is a magic bullet in many ways. It helps to manage the effects of food and alcohol before, during and after an event! People often mistake thirst for hunger, so making sure you keep hydrated will help control hunger pangs at any time of the day. Alternating alcoholic drinks with water at a party helps manage the dehydrating effects of alcohol and may help control snack attacks after a few glasses of wine. Even mild dehydration will lead to a headache. Combine this with the diuretic impacts of alcohol and it’s clear that the best way to manage your recovery after a party is to up the water intake. And don’t forget, if you want your skin to glow …. water, water, water.
At the end of the day everything in life is about balance. The holidays should be enjoyed! So have fun and remember, you can always start again in 2016!