Christmas is a wonderful time of year filled with festive celebrations, delicious food, and quality time with loved ones. It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit and indulge in all the treats and traditions.
It’s also an excellent chance to establish and maintain healthy habits. In this blog, we’ll explore how creating healthy habits over the Christmas Holidays can make sure you enjoy the season and come out feeling as good as ever.
The abundance of holiday dishes can be enticing, but it’s a good idea to practice mindful eating during the Christmas season.
Mindful eating means paying full attention to the experience of eating, rather than eating something just because it’s there. Ask yourself: Are you actually hungry? Is your stomach full? Can you appreciate the taste and texture of what you are consuming?
Here are some tips to help you enjoy the festivities without overindulging:
- Portion control: Pay attention to portion sizes and use smaller plates to help manage your serving sizes.
- Balanced plate: Try and include plenty of vegetables and lean proteins alongside your holiday favourites for a balanced meal.
- Savour each bite: Slow down and pay attention to the flavours of your food. This not only enhances your dining experience but also allows your brain to register fullness.
- Stay hydrated: Drink water between meals to help control your appetite and counter any salty snacks.
Maintaining an active lifestyle during the holiday season can be fun! Why not try the following ways to bring some physical activity into your Christmas routine:
- Outdoor Activities: Organise outdoor games like snowball fights and scavenger hunts. Ice skating, or hiking is a lovely way to enjoy the winter and burn off some calories. Even a long dog walk if you have one or can borrow a dog to walk will get you some fresh air.
- Family Workouts: Encourage your family to participate in group workouts or yoga sessions to stay active together. Here’s some super simple at home exercises you can incorporate into your day.
- Dancing: Dance is an excellent way to keep moving, and it’s a great way to get everyone involved. Kitchen dancing for the adults and a game of musical statues for the kids!
- Stay Consistent: If you already have a workout routine, try to stick to it, even during the holidays.
Planning is key to maintaining healthy habits during the Christmas holidays. Here’s how you can prepare for success:
- Meal prep: Plan your meals and snacks in advance, so healthy options are easily available, reducing the temptation to reach for unhealthy treats.
- Healthy swaps: Explore healthier alternatives to traditional holiday recipes. For example, you can use whole wheat flour instead of white, or opt for unsweetened applesauce in baking.
- Indulge mindfully: If you can’t resist your favourite Christmas dessert, have a small portion and make healthier choices in your other meals.
The holiday season can be stressful, so don’t forget to prioritise self-care to maintain your overall well-being:
- Get enough sleep: Ensure you’re getting enough rest to recharge your body and mind. Read Dr Sally Norton’s article on the benefits of getting good quality sleep.
- Manage stress: Engage in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or a warm bath to alleviate stress.
- Limit alcohol intake: If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation and remember to stay hydrated.
Having an accountability partner can be incredibly helpful in maintaining healthy habits.
- Share your goals with a friend or family member and support each other in making healthy choices.
- Keep a food or exercise diary, so you can really see how much you are consuming and balance things out if you need to.
Creating and maintaining healthy habits during the Christmas holidays doesn’t mean depriving yourself. Instead, it’s about finding a balance that allows you to enjoy the festivities while still prioritising your health and well-being. By practicing mindful eating, staying active, planning ahead, prioritising self-care, and seeking support, you can enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season. Remember that the most important gift you can give yourself is the gift of good health.
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