How to prioritise your health during the silly season

 The opportunities to overindulge and let your exercise slide are endless during this time of the year. If you have historically found it difficult to maintain your weight or eat well in general over the Christmas period then below are some helpful tips to limit overindulging and also keep you focused when it comes to your health and wellbeing!


1. Ditch the all-or-nothing thinking

Going into December with an attitude of ‘ah well I will get back on track in Jan’ isn’t helpful and leads to black and white thinking around food e.g. I’m either being good or bad or I’m either on my diet or off my diet. Try and follow the 80/20 rule where you aim to eat well 80% of the time and 20% of the time you can enjoy the Christmas goodies without guilt.


2. Keep up with your exercise

If you have time off during the Christmas break take advantage of all the extra time you have not sitting behind a desk or sitting in a car communicating. Schedule time to exercise and move your body. This might look like getting in a regular walk, parking your car a little further from your destination, getting to a gym class, hopping on a bike with the kids or going down to the beach.


3. Start the day with a filling breakfast

Often people eat light or skip a meal entirely in anticipation of a social meal or outing but in my experience, this just leads to over-eating. Protein and fibre are your two best friends at breakfast and will leave you feeling fuller for longer. Opt for a filling meal in the morning such as poached eggs and avocado on sourdough, a vegetable and cheese omelette, Greek yoghurt with fruit and low sugar granola, porridge made on milk and topped with almond butter, a protein smoothie or soy & linseed bread with avocado and ricotta.


4. Moderate your drinking

Having too much alcohol isn’t good for your health in general whether it’s the impact it has on your sleep, energy levels, food choices, digestive health or calorie load. If you choose to drink keep track of how much drinking you are having or alternate an alcoholic beverage with water or mineral water. Always aim for at least two alcohol-free days and remember it is possible to socialise without drinking alcohol or going overboard.


5. Plan your catch-up environment

Try your best to plan catchups with friends and family that are centred around movement and healthy eating choices. For example, meet a friend for coffee and the kids can play at the playground. Go for a walk and grab a healthy breakfast with a friend.


6. Be strategic with your eating

If you are attending a social event with all the delicious foods make sure not to arrive hungry. Be an intuitive eater and eat slowly so that you’re more likely to know when you are full and satisfied. Limit or avoid fried finger foods. Go easy on the canapes and nibbles. If you’re making a platter fill it with olives, veggie sticks, hummus, Tzatziki, nuts, seeded crackers and fruit and smaller amounts of the decadent cheeses and deli meats. When it comes to main meals aim to fill 50% of your plate with salad and vegetables, 25% with protein e.g. chicken, meat, fish, seafood and 25% if you choose with carbohydrates. Always have a fruit salad served with dessert.


7. Take care of your mental health

The holiday period isn’t a relaxing, stress-free and happy time for everyone. If this is the case for you make sure to check in with someone whether it be a trained health professional like a psychologist, or friend or family member. Embrace a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, extra-virgin olive oil, seafood and smaller amounts of meat and sweets. Prioritise your sleep and take steps to move your body.


If you would like more information and feel that you would benefit from the input of a specialised dietitianBOOK AN APPOINTMENT

Larry Osborne