It’s no secret that Christmas is one of the hardest times of the year to stay healthy. With mince pies, mulled wine and pigs in blankets in abundance, it’s certainly not easy to keep up with fitness and nutrition regimes.
Christmas is an excuse to eat all the naughty things. ‘Glass of champagne, Madame?’ Sure, why not! ‘How about a slice of chocolate gateau?’ Well it would be rude not to! ‘And how about seconds and thirds?’ Go on then, it’s Christmas!
Sound familiar? It’s absolutely nothing to feel guilty about because yes, it is Christmas, and we do deserve to treat ourselves. But we also want to make sure that by the new year you are feeling refreshed, rather than feeling sluggish and run-down.
I’m sharing with you some of my top tips and advice on how to stay healthy this time of year, but with some of the treats included too of course.
1. Balance Your Meals
You’ve heard it before but I’ll say it again. It’s all about balance when it comes to nutrition.
No one is perfect, so don’t put pressure on yourself to eat a 100% healthy diet, because you’ll just end up feeling guilty when you do eat that delicious looking mince pie at your work Christmas party. Aim to cook batch meals from scratch at home with a variety of vegetables, so that you have healthy lunches and dinners whenever you can. You’ll of course find yourself out for dinner with friends and family over the next few days, and indulging in those festive desserts that your mum has made, but if you can get in those healthy and wholesome meals that you’ve made, you have no reason to feel any guilt for the naughty things.
2. 15 Minute Workouts
I love keeping fit and healthy throughout the year, but December is hard to keep up with the workouts. I find I don’t have enough time to go to the gym or go on my long runs because I’m either
a. too cold to get out of bed first thing in the morning or
b. too tired from the night before.
One thing that I can manage though, is a 15 to 20 minute workout at home. You won’t need any equipment, and you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your home. Simply wake up 20 minutes earlier, and find a HIIT workout on YouTube (I’d recommend The Body Coach), and work up a sweat! You’ll feel great for it, and even feel more energised and motivated throughout the day.
Stylish sportswear that will *actually* make you want to hit the gym ASAP
3. Stay Hydrated
If you do only one thing to stay healthy this time of the year, let it be drinking enough water.
Sadly, mulled wine doesn’t count! I’m guilty of not drinking enough, and find it hard to reach the daily recommended amount of water, but I have a few tips to make it slightly easier. Carry a water bottle with you at all times, and make sure you are constantly filling it up wherever you are. It helps to use a marker pen to write the hours of the day down the side of the bottle so you can keep track of how much you have drunk. I try to drink a full glass of water before every meal too, so that I don’t mistake hunger for thirst, and for every alcoholic drink, have a glass of water. You’ll be grateful for it the next morning!
4. Eat Your Greens
We’re more prone to catching colds and flu this time of year, so I would recommend eating a portion of greens at least once a day to build up your immune system. Don’t worry, you don’t have to force feed yourself raw kale, you can make greens taste delicious too, by using an abundance of fresh herbs to create festive flavours. How about a roasted Brussel sprout salad with garlic and rosemary? Or a morning smoothie made with banana, dates, protein powder and spinach (you won’t taste the spinach, I promise!). A personal green favourite of mine is tender stem broccoli with red chilli, roasted garlic and toasted almonds.
5. Time Out
Lastly, give yourself a break and allow some time for yourself. The build up to Christmas can be stressful with all the presents to buy and wrap, travelling back and forth between family members, and thinking about cooking a big roast dinner. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re not over doing it, and take care of yourself. It’s amazing how much better you can feel after an hour or so to just relax. Have a bath, go on a long walk, practice yoga or read a book. It sounds obvious and painfully cliché, but it works.
Most importantly, enjoy this time with your loved ones. Merry Christmas!