How to have a Healthy, Happy, Family, Fitness orientated Christmas
Christmas is a time for celebration, meeting friends and engaging with family, but unfortunately it is also a time where we add some extra inches to our waist lines.
During the festive period the average person puts on around 5lbs, with most people regretting the poor food choices made during this period, which leads to feeling sluggish, being stuffed and overweight heading in to the new year.
In the lead in to this festive period we have weeks of tempting treats in supermarkets, gifts in to our offices, within our homes and at parties. Added to these over-indulgences is the blow-out on Christmas Day itself. Did you know that we can eat more than 6500 extra calories during the festive meal, as we indulge in rich starters, followed by turkey with all the trimmings, heavy desserts, cheese and biscuits all washed down with a few glasses of wine!
But it doesn’t have to be this way… If we alter our mindset and see this as a restorative period, an opportunity to reboot the system whereby we focus on a healthy, happy, family fitness orientated Christmas. We can shift our approach and make it a period where we stay active, stay on top of our exercise, nutrition, hydration, mindfulness and recovery.
In fact, new research reveals that keeping fit actually affects how much we eat in the first place. A Harvard University study comparing dieting and keeping fit for weight loss found that physical exercise encourages a healthy diet.
McNulty Performance Christmas Health Top Tips will enable you to flourish over the Holiday period
- Eat Healthy and Enjoy your food this Christmas!
Remember to consciously make healthy choices this Christmas. It’s easy to get carried away with all the Christmas indulging but remember how it’s going to make you feel afterwards and keep in mind, it will be tough to burn off those additional calories in January.
Christmas is a great time to eat more superfoods; The main being turkey, a healthy protein source and full of vitamins that you only need to eat a little bit of it to feel full. And what is Turkey’s best friend? Cranberries of course! Not only the perfect partner to your turkey, but they are full of antioxidants and lower bad cholesterol. Spices like nutmeg and cinnamon are heavily featured in festive food, make the most of them and not forgetting that vegetables like brussel sprouts, carrots and parsnips are bursting with goodness and big Christmas staples, fill your plates with these!
Enjoy your food over Christmas and savour each meal, try to eat smaller portions and eat mindfully, being aware of the experience rather than “consuming” your food. Instead of filling yourself eat a normal-sized meal and then take a 20-minute break to see if you are still hungry (it takes this long for the brain to register that the stomach is full). The chances are, you’ll realise you’ve had enough.
Portion control is very important at Christmas, your stomach is not designed to hold a large volume of food! Keeping an eye on your portions can mean you don’t need to deprive yourself of anything, but you are not going over the top either. If you do like enjoying Christmas treats, have them as one or two treats, not the whole bag.
- Get a work out in every day
Christmas is a great opportunity to get a work out in every day. And it is a brilliant opportunity to reinvigorate the body through exercise. Why not aim to get in 60 minutes of exercise every day and why not aim to do this with loved ones? Imagine going for a cycle with a good friend for a few hours early one morning over Christmas when most people are still in bed. Perhaps consider bringing all your family off for a very long hike in the mountains, with a packed healthy lunch. Or, why not do a great home workout with a friend in your garage, or in your hallway with Christmas music on.
Remember to keep up with your exercise routine even after a night out. One of the best ways to lessen the impact of a hangover is to go for a long cycle, or a long run or walk. It’s a great way to sweat out those toxins from the system and burn off those extra calories consumed.
Remember the more you move, the more energy you will have and therefore, the more enjoyable and productive Christmas will be. Try and add variety to your exercise over Christmas by being resourceful and using your natural environment to challenge yourself. Get out in nature, it’s all around!
- Drink Sensibly
Mulled wine, Baileys, sugary cocktails and hot chocolate, hot whiskeys, baby Guinness….. these rich drinks are packed with calories. This can easily lead you to having your daily recommended calorie intake just from drinks. Your best bet is to either limit your drink intake, or make other choices (even better, do both).
If you are really craving that creamy Baileys, then have it, but just one, and make your other drinks low calorie like vodka and soda. Remember to drink a glass of water for every alcoholic drink you have. Drinking too much can mean you make some less than healthy food choices, so try keeping it to a minimum.
Always hydrate before going out for the night by drinking 1-2litres of water in the few hours before you go out, and try to have a 1litre bottle of water in the fridge for when you come home so you can drink on your return from the night out.
- Rest, Relaxation and Rejuvenation
Christmas is a great time to catch up with all your friends and family; this is one of the best things about Christmas. But remember to take some time out to relax and rejuvenate as well. Possibly think about doing a little yoga each day or take a few moments in the day to practice meditation.
If you train hard over Christmas give yourself a treat by going for a cat nap for 30 minutes in the afternoon to rejuvenate. Imagine if you get 7 x 30 minutes naps in over Christmas; imagine the impact this will have on your energy levels and freshness. Aim to get plenty of rest and plan for 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
Take a few hot baths perhaps, or put your feet up and watch a relaxing film. Even better why not read that book that you had been meaning to read.
- Make a difference
If you can make a significant contribution to someone else’s happiness or enjoyment this Christmas; you will get a gift in return. That is a gift of fulfilment. Aim to go and help that elderly neighbour who may be lonely this Christmas, or aim to reconnect and spend time with a friend from the past who has no family. Possibly invite a few people for dinner who you know are not as fortunate as you and who perhaps don’t have people to enjoy Christmas with.
When you make a difference by giving your time to someone you give the most precious part of yourself, which is your spirit, your soul, your energy and compassion – no wrapped gift could ever equate to these!