Not looking to put "Christmas Podge" on Santa's list this year, then read on....
Christmas is by far my favourite time of year, be it back in my homeland of England in the freezing cold or the 40 degree temperatures of Sydney, the lights, the decorations, the parties and just when I thought I couldn’t enjoy this time of year any more than I did already…the boys turned my excitement onto its head. The magic of Christmas with Children is like no other, and I like many Mothers try and build the best memories for my family.
However, along with the Christmas trees and baubles comes something less welcome, podginess and a couple of extra digits on the scales (although I suggest you don’t even use those bad boys!!).
Not such a magical part of Christmas, but let’s be realistic, the epicurean delights of Christmas are a luxury and indulging is what Christmas is all about…to a point.
So instead of dreading the advent of the unwanted pounds as we enter December, why not implement a few hacks and habits to get this Christmas to be perhaps one of your healthiest.
This is my downfall, but I am taking my own advice for the sake of my skinny jeans, and going into party season with great INTENTION!
Alcohol and Christmas go hand in hand for many of us. From the refreshing Champagne Bellinis at breakfast to the Brandy ladened Eggnog to the infamous fruit punch, oh and of course for us Brits, Bailey’s Irish Cream is an age old tradition.
For many of us however, it is the alcohol rather than the food that is the main culprit for the Christmas podge. Rendering it even more difficult to get unstuck and reboot the diet in the new year.
Arming yourself with a bit of alcohol trivia (not very pc) and a few tips, and you can have a fun filled Christmas without going overboard on the alcohol and calories.
A few tips that can reduce the calorie overload in the drinks department include
- Avoid premixed cocktails or drinks
- Favour non creamy drinks rather than creamy
- Make drinks yourself
- Drink red wine rather than white
- Favour clear spirits over darker spirits
Lean protein is a awesome metabolism kickstarter, and what better time to max out on the good stuff than at Christmas, when there is seemingly endless amounts about. Think salmon, turkey, ham…. All the essentials of any traditional Aussie or Northern Christmas fare. By concentrating your diet (and plate loading technique) on lean protein you can really save on the added kilos. That said be mindful of the way things are cooked, steer your way towards homemade meals that have been prepared from fresh, minus the additives, preservatives and added fat and sugar of course!!
Eat the protein component first, and then if you are still hungry finish off with the carbohydrates. But remember to take your time to eat and drink water in between bites so your body actually gets a chance to register if it is full or not!!
If you can try and fill up on the protein component of food rather than the simple carbohydrates you will really notice the difference and save a bit of the after Christmas struggle to get the kilos off.
Being #mindful is so on trend right now isn't it!! No, but seriously if you eat your food thoughtfully, this Christmas can be enjoyable, indulgent and guilt free by taking just a little more notice of what you eat.
A few simple tips will go a long way to avoid you overeating. Chew your food properly! It's called "chewing" for a reason, and there is a significant physiological purpose for it. If you find it difficult, set yourself a goal or a rule, say 10 chews before you swallow etc. This habit is a must for not only managing weight but aiding in digestion and preventing heartburn and indigestion (big features around Christmas).
Another really simple and actually enjoyable tip is to savour and taste the food and try if you can to avoid distraction, focus on what you are eating and enjoying it rather than consuming it out of habit or momentum when you are watching the TV.
And of course no party is complete without the roving, calorie laden canapés, eat them sure, but make sure you are actually eating them because you want to eat them and not shovelling them in just because they are in front of you or because you are too distracted chatting. THINK about if you actually want them before putting them in your mouth.
These tips may sound simplistic, and it absolutely is, but many of us can eat sometimes double our food intake by just being mindless. If you are going to pile on the pounds this Christmas you better make sure you enjoy every second of it!
Eating Protein Prior
Don't get me wrong, you should still enjoy your food at a party, but if you can pre-fill your stomach with a good quality protein snack, such as almonds, a couple of boiled eggs or a protein smoothie, you will eat much less yet still be able to enjoy the food, just be able to flex your willpower. What's more, eating a protein snack like this will get the fire burning, so when you do partake in the odd naughty nibble, you're body can digest it and use it properly.
Food is everywhere over Christmas and you should indulge, but with limits. A significant factor in my weight management is sharing and having kids is the perfect way to share.
Being conscious about what you eat does not mean missing out of the most indulgent part of the year, just cut the portion size and split it. You still get to enjoy it without feeling deprived but don't need to go overboard.
Sharing creates great memories (not to mention behaviours) for the kids, and you and the closeness (spit and all) is well, priceless!
Drinking water, especially before a party does not have to equal misery, despite what you may have thought when you were 18!
Drinking water, especially before a party does not have to equal misery, despite what you may have thought when you were 18. You are now a little older (or so I keep telling myself), so..... taking sips of the clear stuff (not vodka) is the thing to do.
Hydrating your body prepares your body for the dehydration of the alcohol you are about to ply it with, what's more helps prevent UTI's and other nastie ailments that alcohol can trigger.
Drinking water during the party is a work in progress for me, but intention is the start right?
This year enter a party with the intention of drinking in between drinks, even if it is just sips.
Drinking after the party is my saviour and it should be yours. Your kidneys and liver need a bit of TLC after the assault so give them a bit of love. Not only will you feel heaps better in the morning but your liver will be able to recover quicker.
And if they are not reasons enough to drink water, then consider the fact that you are less likely to be ravenous when you get to a party if you have had 500ml of water.
And there you have it, not rocket science by any stretch, but if we can look at this party season with a few health tips under our belt, we may fare a little stronger and even lighter when it comes to January 1!
Yours in wellness
I would love to hear your personal tips on how to keep healthy this holiday season, please leave a comment below, I am always looking for hacks