Prosecco, parties, pigs in blankets. Christmas dinner. Turkey, trimmings, and “just one more piece” of trifle. It is no secret that the Christmas season can play havoc with a healthy lifestyle, with so many tempting treats on offer.
For many people, the Christmas diet consists largely of Celebrations and champagne, and any inclination to be healthy goes out of the window.
Luckily, there are a number of things you can do in the post festive period to get your health back on track, and keep it there.
1. Set sustainable, long term goals
While we would all like to magically drop a dress size with zero effort following the festive season, the reality is that crash diets will not be beneficial long term.
Setting a long term, sustainable goal will be far more beneficial in the long run, and means that you are far more likely to succeed in what you want.
Whether it is losing a stone by next Christmas, completing a 5K charity run, or simply eating a better diet, write down what you want to achieve, and the steps you can take to succeed; joining a running club, downloading an app, making a meal plan, starting a yoga class: whatever you need to do to achieve that dream.
Stick this list somewhere you will see it often; on the mirror or fridge are good choices. This holds you accountable, as well as regularly inspiring you!
Make it more than a New Years Resolution, make it a genuine life change.
2. Pick some exercise you truly enjoy
It has happened to the best of us; Christmas comes, we overindulge, feel guilty, then show up at the gym on January 1st full of good intentions to become honed, toned, gym bunnies.
We book an induction, nod enthusiastically at everything the personal trainer says…complete an enthusiastic workout…only to never be seen anywhere near the gym again, again January 1st next year when the same thing happens.
The gym does not sit everyone, but there is something that will. The trick is to find an exercise routine which doesn’t feel like work. Whether your talent is ballroom dancing or boxing, Crossfit or cheerleading, finding a workout routine you enjoy will allow you to keep active with very little effort.
3. Change up your diet
Diet. It is a word which strikes fear into the heart of many, conjuring visions of tasteless salads, endless weighing, and living on cabbage soup.
The diet industry flourishes in the post festive period, with endless promises of the ultimate after Christmas diet, promising you will lose weight overnight and change your life.
In reality, all you need to do to beat the bloat of the festive season is choose healthy food which gives your body what it needs, and this definitely does not have to be boring.
Read up on basic nutrition, and learn some simple, healthy recipes which you can pull out of the bag at a moments notice, eliminating the stress of healthy cooking, and ensuring that you have no excuses!
4. Examine your relationship with alcohol
For many of us, Christmas time is the only day if the year it is acceptable to start drinking Bucks Fizz at 10am. (Try that any other day of the year and you may get more than a concerned look!)
There are very few people who have not overindulged on Christmas Day, or had a tipple too many at the New Year Party.
The festive season is a time of indulgence and enjoyment, but this can leave you feeling tired and ropey in the New Year.
Too much alcohol can lead to disrupted and broken sleep, which, combined with late nights, contributes to bad skin, less than great circulation, a lack of energy, and a general feeling of cannot-be-bothered.
Alcohol is also dehydrating, which has an impact on our skin, bodies and health – and all this without the next day hangover which leave us feeling rotten as our tired bodies try to repair themselves!
It is unlikely you have been topping up your glasses with water between drinks, so you are probably approaching the New Year feeling flatter than uncorked champagne.
Consider Dry January to give your body a break; have nothing alcoholic to drink between New Year’s Day and January 31st, or even longer if you wish.
This gives your body a chance to repair and rejuvenate, leaving you looking and feeling much fresher.
In the meantime, ensure you are drinking a litre of water a day to keep yourself hydrated.
5. Don’t forget your mental health
There is a great focus in the New Year of getting our bodies back into shape, and this is important. Do not forget, however, about your mind.
Christmas can be stressful, and can even be a sad or lonely time for some people.
Make sure you take care of your mental health over the period and in the time after.
Make time for yourself; be it reading a good book, having a luxurious bath, or going for a mind-clearing walk.
Reach out to those who care about you, and don’t feel you have to suffer in silence.
Try yoga or meditation to really clear and focus your mind, and remember that your mind and body are connected; care for one to balance out the other.