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Christmas (or as I like to call it “the silly season”) is nearly upon us. Wonderful and all as this time of year is, it can also be the time of year when we completely lose the run of ourselves. Most people will eat and/or drink themselves into a sugar/alcohol coma, and then spend weeks feeling bloated, gassy, sluggish, tired, cranky and guilty! It’s all great fun at the time, but come January you’re on a major downer because you have to drag your ass (that’s doubled in size) into the sales to purchase some very unflattering stretchy pants. And to top it all off the said stretchy pants become your best friends until at least mid March.  If this sounds very familiar then you need to keep reading because I can help maintain balance this Christmas. On the other hand if you’re reading this and think to yourself “bring on the stretchy pants baby” then fair play and may the force be with you.

You don’t have to feel deprived over the holidays, you just have to box clever! Here are my top tips for staying on track with your health goals while still enjoying the foods you love.

Set a Clear Intention

If the scenario above is how your Christmas usually goes, then I want you to take a moment and remember how you felt come January. Uncomfortable in your clothes? Fat? Bloated? Guilty? Disappointed? Exhausted? Be honest with yourself. Then ask yourself “do I want to feel like this again this year?” If the answer is NO then you know what you don’t want, so now it’s time to work out what you do want. How you would like to feel this year? Slim? Happy? Energetic? Refreshed? Accomplished? Proud that you enjoyed Christmas without going mental? Really get a good sense of how you would like to feel and stay mindful of it over the holidays. Setting a clear intention is the most important step, and it will make it easy to implement my top tips below for staying on track.

A Healthy Start to your Day

Start your day with a large glass of luke warm and lemon to flush toxins from the system and to get the bowels moving. Then eat a high protein breakfast, this will stabilise your blood sugar levels and provide you with a steady stream of energy until lunch time. A high protein breakfast will also help to prevent sugar cravings so that you don’t dive head first into a box of chocolates by 11am.

Keep Moving 

Do some form of exercise every day. Get out for a walk with your dog, go for a cycle or a hike. Better still invite some friends along and make it a healthy, fun social outing. Last year on St Stephen’s day a group of us got up super early and did a sunrise coastal walk, it was freaking amazing. I felt so alive and energised afterwards, I posted all my photos on Facebook that day and everyone was like “damn I wish I’d done that”.

Eating Out

Did you know that your stomach is only the size of you fist? And yes it does expand but that doesn’t mean that you have to do the dog on it! Instead of eating a three course meal, try choosing either an appetiser OR a dessert with your main course. Or if you really want a little bit of everything, why not split your appetiser or dessert with someone at the table. The first few mouthfuls of any dish are the most enjoyable, so sharing means you will get your taste bud fix and avoid feeling super stuffed and bloated after the meal.

Balancing your Plate

It’s all about having a little of everything to satisfy your belly. First things first avoid using massive dinner plates, they encourage us to over eat. Secondly pile up on the veggies, fill at least 50% of your plate with non-starchy veg like broccoli, peas, green beans, carrots etc. Absolutely have potatoes and stuffing but don’t let them play a starring role on your plate. If you’re preparing your favourite desserts over the festive season, make them into smaller portion sizes. For example if you bake a cake cut it it into 12 slices instead of the usual 8.

Bottoms Up

You don’t have to go tea total over the holidays instead just pace yourself. There is nothing like a hangover to knock you off your wellness wagon. One minute you’re craving savory, next minute sweet and this can go on for a couple of days while your body tries to regain balance. Try alternating your drinks, make every second drink a glass of water, this will help you remain hydrated and reduce your overall alcohol consumption.

Slow it Down and Remain Mindful

Eat slowly, connect with your food and allow yourself to savour the wonderful flavours, this will ensure that you don’t over eat. Very often we vacuum down our food so fast that the stomach doesn’t get a chance to signal the brain that it’s full until it’s too late. Next thing we know we’re sitting on the couch nursing a HUGE food baby and feeling yuck! It’s also super important to chew your food well, this will not only slow you down but it will also lighten the load on your digestive system and help prevent bloating and gas. Eat mindfully and enjoy every single mouthful.

Food Pickers Wear Big Knickers

Picture the scene, you go to a party and there’s lots of finger food. Crisps and dips, mini sausage rolls, miniature desserts, you get the picture. You look at them in all their cuteness and think to yourself, “awh they’re so tiny, what harm can they do?” Way more than you can imagine is the answer! I don’t know how many times I’ve been to a party or someone’s house and ended up literally inhaling copious amounts of these little feckers. It’s almost like my brain didn’t register the amount of food I was eating over the evening because of the tiny sizes!  Honestly I’ve gone on some serious miniature food rampages, but these days I’ve got tactics to avoid a blow out. My solution is to ask for a plate before you start eating and pop the food you intend on eating on it. You will see that when you round up all the little feckers together that there’s quite a lot of food on the plate. This will alert your brain that you are in fact eating a meal rather than a small amount of food. If you go back to fill up your plate a second time ask yourself, are you eating more because you’re hungry or are you just mindlessly eating?

Dump the Guilt

At the end of the day none of us are perfect, and quite frankly who’d want to be, not me anyway! We’re all human and we won’t always get it right, and that’s OK. What’s more important is that we try our best, we can’t ask anymore of ourselves. You’ve set your intention, do your best to stay on track and if it doesn’t all go according to plan then don’t beat yourself up about it. Guilt is a very low vibrational emotion, and trust me you don’t want to spend too much of your valuable time entertaining it. If you go a bit bananas over Christmas just learn from it and do better the next day. It’s all about balance my lovely.

 

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