Happy December! For me, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year. I’ve been planning Xmas related events and decorations since pretty much July, so I’m thrilled it’s finally acceptable to get up the tree, watch my favourite Rod Stewart Christmas special (strange but amazing obsession) and turn up (everywhere) in sparkles.
December also usually means a calendar jam-packed with socializing, eating and drinking. We all know it’s hard to stay healthy during the holidays and most of us even expect to put on a few extra pounds – but it doesn’t have to be that way! I truly believe you can enjoy, indulge and experience a wonderful December without going crazy. Here’s how I intend to do it:
1) Planning activities that don’t revolve around eating and drinking
Pre-Christmas catch-ups are filling up everyone’s diaries. But socializing doesn’t have to equate to drinks and a meal.
I love meeting friend for alternative activities. I can’t wait to spend an afternoon at Winter Wonderland, playing games, ice skating and going on a few rides. Yes I’ll probably have a mulled one but I’ll also be moving around and trying to stay warm. So it’s a much healthier option than sharing a bottle of red wine in a cosy bar (which all too often becomes two bottles and a bowl of chips!).
2) Its a balancing act
Temptation is everywhere. Accept it, embrace it and BALANCE it. If you’re dying for a calorie-laden Pret Christmas sandwich, have it! Just forgo the crisps and wash it down with water instead of a sugary drink. Have a slice of Christmas cake, but limit yourself to just one – enjoy it and then move on.
If I know I’ll be going out for food or drink in the evening, I’ll have a healthy breakfast, a bowl of soup for lunch and then enjoy myself in the evening without any guilt. I will also try to pack a gym session in on either side whenever possible.
3) Don’t let others top up your glass
We’ve all been there. You’re enjoying a nice meal and your friend is rather heavy handed with the pour. You can’t even finish one glass of vino before it’s magically replenished. A couple hours in and you have no idea how much you’ve actually had to drink.
Just say no! Keep your glass close to you so an effort has to be made to refill and then when the gesture is made just say ‘thanks, I’ll just finish this one first’. And pause for a glass of water between every two drinks (or every other if possible!). It may seem like over thinking but your head will thank you the next day.
4) Stay active
Your normal routine is probably going to go out the window, and flexible activities like working out end up at the bottom of the priority list. I’m going to combat this by scheduling my gym sessions and giving them the same priority as anything else in my calendar.
Sometimes it’s just not possible to get in a proper session, and that’s ok. Just try to make small adjustments where possible. Take the stairs at the office, do an extra lap around the mall or get off a tube station early. Every little bit helps!
5) Leave the loose trousers at home
Another stylist gave me this tip a few months ago and I haven’t looked back. It’s easy to choose stretchy leggings or an elasticated waistband for that big family feast – don’t do it!
Wear high-waisted jeans/trousers or accessories with a waist-cinching belt.
It’s amazing how quickly you can feel your stomach grow when you eat if you do this. You’ll feel fuller quicker and stop yourself before you over indulge.
6) Take time for yourself
This is absolutely essential for remaining calm, healthy and happy. We give so much to everyone else this time of year, which is great and wonderful in itself but don’t forget about number one – you!
If I’m out Christmas shopping I love to take a break and sit in the window with a cappuccino to watch the world go by. I’m also trying to read more– for both work and pleasure.
Most importantly, be sure to get enough sleep! If I have a late night and can set the alarm a bit later the next day, I will, as I know an extra hour in bed will help make the next eight much more productive.
Want more tips specific to healthy eating? This article has great advice.
I would love to hear your healthy holiday tips too. Please share them below!