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THRIVING rather than surviving the silly season

As Christmas nears we begin to think about stocking the pantry to feed the ones we love the most. No doubt Christmas is a time to indulge, enjoy and cherish, however it can also be a time of stress, tiredness, heartburn and bloating if we don’t get it right.

However we also like to prevent the unpleasant side effects of over indulging during the holiday period. A slump in energy combined with less physical activity and foods rich in fats and sugars will likely leave you with an unwanted present after Christmas is over. Doesn’t it make sense to look after your health and make the transition into the New Year smoothly? If you put in place some easy to follow guidelines earlier on in the season, you will have a much better chance at sailing through the holidays with your energy levels and waist line still intact.

Here are some practical tips that you can put into play to make sure that you still enjoy the food this festive season, without consequence.

Work on the 80/20 rule: That is eat healthy 80% of the time and indulge 20% of the time, this is a great guideline to help you monitor your intake and forget the guilt! If you do overindulge, just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and soldier on. If you feel guilty about it, you are more likely to continue making poor choices.

Avoid skipping breakfast: “If I skip breakfast, I can eat more at lunch and dinner, right?” We get where you’re coming from but this mindset does nothing to support metabolism or digestion! Instead have a healthy breakfast to support healthy blood sugar and appetite control, which will then enable you to make better lunch and dinner choices.

Choose moderation: A spoon of gravy rather than a cup, a couple of pieces of turkey rather than a plate full, ‘One’ fruit mince pie rather than 4 and a spoon of custard or cream rather than a bowl full- you get the idea!

Include exercise: Keeping physical activity as part of the celebration is a great idea. It might be that you play a few innings of backyard cricket, or bust out the ping pong balls to get some table tennis happening. Or perhaps you might be just happy going for a walk to help with blood flow. Exercise is the best anti-depressant known to mankind and does wonders for mood, energy and blood sugar maintenance.

Hydrate well: Remember that water will help to keep your body functioning at an optimum level. Water is essential to many body functions and there are many ways to dehydrate your body over Christmas such as drinking alcohol, caffeine, or sitting in the scorching hot sun or air-conditioning. Having regular water intake also means that you will consume less of other liquids (soft drinks, fruit juices, alcohol) as well as keeping your appetite in check.

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