December is without a doubt the month of indulgences, with the Christmas meal being the climax that ends a month-long of festive overeating, drinking and general tiredness.
In saying this, and from what I am seeing in my line of work as a Nutrition and Health Coach, is more people are striving to stay committed to their goals without letting outside influences, around the holiday season halt the progress of their hard work (which is sometimes months in the making).
So here we are, looking the holidays in the eye and we’re being bombarded by food advertisers who seem to know all our vulnerabilities. So what is the best approach to being resilient to temptations?
By using your own self as a guide, try not to be influenced by everything that’s being bombarded at you. Really think about the fact, for example, if you’re going to a party, maybe you do have to prepare things and take a healthy platter that is in line with your goals. Or just because it’s the festive month, it’s not an excuse to stock up on extra cheese, crackers, cookies and so forth on a regular shopping trip. Save that for Christmas day.
Speaking of outside influences, did you know that when we’re at parties or social gatherings, we tend to eat more because we are distracted by socializing and therefore distracted from what we’re eating? When there’s a lot of variety in a lot of finger foods, the more we tend to eat… And drink! So keep in mind the ultimate reason you’re at a gathering is to enjoy the company of friends and family – and leave the mindless munching and overconsumption of alcohol at the door.
If you have a health goal in place and to avoid the attention that comes with NOT drinking and what some pesky people may consider anti-social try to sip on drinks that look like their alcoholic. Soda water can be tricked up to look like a spirit, by adding some lime, a dash of cordial and ice cubes. If you’re constantly being topped up by your fab host, politely say you’ve been far too busy talking to finish your glass. Keep it on the full side of things so it’s impossible to refill. If all else fails, give yourself a purpose for not drinking and designate yourself as the driver. This will not only save you the taxi fare home but also the time in the morning to pick your vehicle up.
With all the party hysteria, Christmas shopping, kids commitments and longer daylight hours it goes without saying there is a fair chance the candle is burning at both ends. To avoid holiday burnout ensure you hit the sheets by 10.30pm each night or allow yourself quite moments during the day to reflect on what’s important this time of the year. Make a non-negotiable to set your alarm early to enjoy some form of movement before the day hits full swing (and commitments gobble up the rest of the day). Not only does exercise help maintain fitness levels, but it also sets the tone for healthy eating patterns, a positive mindset whilst balancing anxiety levels for the day ahead.
With a little bit of mindfulness and planning, your health habits don’t have to take a back seat amid the festive fun. Just like we have tactics on how to manage tricky relatives, the same approach can be applied to our overall health habits. Try something different this year and enter the New Year feeling great… It’s possibly one thing you won’t regret!