Silly season has arrived. I personally believe this is the hardest time of the year to be healthy because there is an excuse for a festive drink or a party pretty much every day. Even if you avoid the champagne, canapé and one more drink won’t hurt diet there’s the temptation of staying in with mince pies, red wine, a cheeseboard and your entire advent calendar.
I’m not a nutritionist or a PT, but I am a fit and healthy 24 year old with a full time job and love of food and wine. I always hope that what I write on here is honest and down to earth, so this is more about damage limitation rather than green juices as Christmas cocktails, not that there is anything wrong with that but for me Christmas is about enjoyment.
The key for me is keeping a semblance of control within celebrations rather than throwing all caution to the wind. This means that I can keep a healthy perspective on both what I want to indulge in and what I can do without. In essence this means moderation and consistency with regards to food, sleeping and exercise, and here is how I think best to put this into practice get through silly season without losing your fitness, fun, or friends.
Embrace your vice and enjoy it mindfully
When you are continually surrounded by an abundance of choice it’s hard to say no to anything and keep track of things. I personally think a bit of what you fancy does you good and it is definitely the season for it. I find it best to meet temptation half way. I love cheese, wine and chocolate but I can live without crisps, canapés and Christmas pudding.
It’s best to identify what it is you love, acknowledge it and enjoy it when you have it. Otherwise if you say no you end up picking at a bit of everything, over-eating and feeling guilty. Not to mention the fact that you won’t really enjoy it.
Be mindful of what your favourite treats are and enjoy them mindfully. This also means you’ll be more in control of timing and portion as you’re not just waiting to be pushed over the edge into Christmas binge madness.
Keep your Routine
I’m not saying wake up, or get to bed at, the crack of dawn everyday but try and keep a reasonably consistent sleeping routine. I’m a naturally early riser so when I sleep in on weekdays to compensate for a late night I actually end up feeling worse as I end up not knowing if I’m coming or going and getting up early one day and five minutes after I should be out the front door the next. I find it easier to get up at a similar time everyday and be in a routine, even when I’m hungover as it means I feel more in control.
Naturally this is much harder with regards to bedtime if you mean to go for one drink but run into an espresso martini instead, but if you can stick to your normal sleeping pattern as much as you can and you’ll feel more with it during the working week.
Know what you’re drinking
Pick a drink, pick a portion size and stick with it. You’ll have a better idea of how much you’ve drunk and whether or not you want to stop.
I’m not saying you should only drink a certain amount – it is Christmas – but that decision should be up to you and if you’ve drunk four glasses of wine, a gin and tonic, a jägerbomb and a sip of whisky because you’ve always liked the idea of being someone who orders a whisky then it’s hard to know what that looks like as a sum total.
It’s far easier to remember and understand the consequences of X glasses of wine or gin for example.
A little exercise is better than nothing
If you can’t do your normal amount then don’t worry about what you can’t do, but focus and feel good about what you can get done. Now probably isn’t the best time to take up bootcamp, but there’s no need to give up entirely.
The best thing to do is keep your routine and commit to what you can realistically get done. If you normally run or do HIIT five times a week then settle for doing it twice but choose when you will and commit to getting those workouts done.
Even if it’s just going for a walk, don’t forget that if weather permits a long walk will do you and your hangover a world of good.