But, since food and drink take centre stage at most of our celebrations, it can be easy to overeat without even realising it.
How can you avoid the dreaded holiday weight gain – but still enjoy festive indulgences?
Here are 5 holiday survival tips to help you navigate the chaos of the festive season:
1. Eat slooooooooooooooooooowly
I hear you! I get that it sounds very, very low tech.
But you see, we all have an enzyme in our gut that tells our brain when we’re full. Thing is – this enzyme takes about 15 minutes to travel from our gut to our brain. So if you’re speedily shovelling in the Christmas ham or frantically scoffing the hors d’oeuves, it’s easy, oh so easy, to go from utterly famished to absolutely stuffed, before your brain even has a chance to register the “I’m done” signal.
Give your body a chance!
One of the easiest ways to slow down your eating is to put your knife and fork down between mouthfuls. Slow down, chew your food and be present.
By putting your utensils down, you’ll have the opportunity to have some conversations and engage with other around the table. How civilised!
2. Alternate your Christmas tipple
All those free cocktails at the Christmas work do, and the bottles of bubbly at the neighbour’s BBQs can be a big culprit for unwanted excess. In the spirit of Christmas one glass can swiftly become, um, well…..substantially more.
But who wants to be a teetotaller? Not me!
A simple way to address the excess holiday drinking is to alternate your alcohol with a glass of water.
Again, I get it – it does sound a wee bit pedestrian! But it works! (and your head will thank you in the morning when you wake up, hangover-less).
Remember to drink slowly, savour the flavour of your drink and alternate with a hydrating glass of water.
3. Connect with family and friends NOT food
Instead of focusing on the inevitable food and drink during the festive season, I encourage you to spend focus on connecting with those gathered around the table.
At the party, make a conscious effort to seek out a conversation with your out-of-town colleague. Have a chat with your favourite aunt and really connect with them.
You see, when we have an enjoyable connection with people, we change the biochemistry in our body. During social engagement with loved ones, the ‘good-feeling’ hormone oxytocin is increased, which decreases our desire for food.
So, connect with your cousin and get the naturally-occurring appetite suppressants flowing!
4. Move your body every day
Set the intention to move your body every day. It’ll help with weight loss and processing any extra food, and it’ll also help with holiday stress.
Perhaps it’s a brief walk after your meals with the family. Maybe it’s a solitary stroll after your meals to avoid the family (!!!). Maybe you could toss the football outside with your grandkids for some fresh air.
The key is to keep it simple – do not overcomplicate it. Just get your body moving – even a 10-minute stroll does wonders for your body.
We all have sooooo much for which to feel grateful.
Even if you’re going through a tough time – maybe Santa didn’t deliver or maybe your dearly beloved is absent. Perhaps money / time / nerves feel stretched. You still have oooooodles for which to be grateful.
Remember, that when we focus on gratitude, we feel more grateful, and we start to have the realisation that – there’s an awful lot that we want ….. that we already have!!!
So, keep focusing on the aspects in your life that bring joy, that being a smile to your lips.
The festive season is a time of celebration, love and gifts. Why not use these five tips so that you can give yourself the gift of health? Hooray!
Wishing you all happy, healthy holidays!
Love etc, Avril