EAT SENSIBLY AND STAY HEALTHY OVER CHRISTMAS
If you can stay fit and healthy over the Christmas period you undoubtedly be able to enjoy the festivities even more. To do so you need to prepare your body in advance for the extra food you may be eating, drink you may be consuming and exercise you may be participating in on the dance floor! So that means starting NOW.
If you manage to eat healthily in the period building up to Christmas you will maybe be able to have a few more roast potatoes, an extra helping of pudding or a few savoury snacks at the Christmas party, without feeling guilty. And not feeling guilty will help you enjoy them even more!!
So what things can you do over the next month to start getting your body ready:
Avoid sugary foods such as chocolate, cakes biscuits, puddings etc. as these are full of sugar and fat, are devoid of nutrients and will cause you to pile on the pounds.
Tip – to avoid temptation remove all such foods from the house. Limit yourself to a couple of treats per week and eat them out of doors at a coffee bar etc.
Processed foods and takeaways are also full of fats and salt and so also need avoiding as they may also be disrupting your digestive system.
Tip - Fresh food is obviously the best option but if it is not possible every day at least try to eat a salad or vegetables with the ready meal or takeaway.
Limit the carbohydrates you eat in the form of pasta, rice and potatoes as, again, they will contribute to weight gain if eaten in excess and can also make you feel sluggish.
Tip – Choose wholegrain versions (brown rather than white) and eat at lunchtime, rather than for the evening meal, as you then have the afternoon and the rest of the day to ‘burn them off’.
Limit alcohol to prepare your body for a possible Christmas onslaught!
Tip - Choose red wine over white and dilute white wine with soda or tonic water. Get into the habit of drinking a glass of water with each alcoholic drink as this will help the liver to metabolise the alcohol.
Finally... Eat lots of vegetables, especially green, each day as these are very high in nutrients and fibre and will help to strengthen the digestive system. Fruits such as blueberries, oranges, raspberries and strawberries are high in vitamins so eat on a daily basis, again, to prepare your body for the Christmas excess!
So with a bit of forward planning for your body you will hopefully be able to enjoy yourself even more!
HOW TO SURVIVE THE PARTY SEASON
The party season is traditionally a fun packed period but one which may leave you feeling drained and generally unwell. The choices available at Christmas parties are often far from fat free and the alcohol is often flowing freely so the temptation is to overindulge and sort out the damage in the New Year!!
It's not about abstaining completely from the fun but about making the right choices and these tips will hopefully help you have fun without feeling unwell, and so under the weather that it can take you weeks to recover!!
• So if you are going to a drinks reception, try to have a healthy meal or snack beforehand thereby avoiding too much nibbling of the fat laden finger foods. It will also prevent you from drinking too much too quickly as your stomach will be busy digesting the food. Meals such as a jacket potato with chicken and salad or spaghetti bolognaise will line your stomach and protect you from the effects of too much alcohol as will smaller snacks of a wholemeal pitta with turkey and salad or oatcakes with low fat cheese and fruit.
• Keep a glass of water with you at all times – this will help to fill you up and will also help reduce the amount of alcohol you are drinking. Mix wine or spirits with sparkling water or low fat tonic and avoid alcho pops and liqueurs as these are full of calories and sugar. It is also essential to drink water when you get home and have a glass handy during the night if you wake up, as this will dilute the effect of the alcohol and speed up your body’s recovery time.
• Host your own cocktail party and make it healthy by avoiding fried foods and fatty cheeses crisps and nuts – one tiny cocktail sausage can have over 60 calories and 5g of fat! Also watch out for the fatty dips – one tablespoon of mayonnaise or sour cream has around 170 calories and 17g of fat. There are great alternatives. Chicken is a party favourite – have it grilled on skewers or as tiny drumsticks with a low-fat dip. Offer crudités with yogurt dip or low fat hummus with pitta and low fat crisps. Mini sandwiches are also a healthy choice but avoid filling based on mayonnaise - choose low fat ham, chicken or tuna with salad instead.
• Social obligations often mean eating out but if you pick the restaurant you are more guaranteed to be able to eat healthily. Choose a restaurant that offers a variety of foods and preparations as in that way everyone is guaranteed to find something they enjoy.
• And don’t forget to stay active, as this alone will help you recover from your daily indulgences by energising your body and enabling it to function more effectively– if you don’t have time to go to the gym at least try to go for daily walks.
So go ahead enjoy the season and feel good.
FEEL GOOD AFTER CHRISTMAS
Make this number 1 on your list of New Year’s resolutions. Christmas and New Year are over and you’ve had a merry time. There’s a good chance that you are suffering from the effects of having one glass of wine too many and one more mince pie than you should have done. You may be feeling tired, sluggish and generally lethargic. You long to be up and about and enjoying the new year ahead!
So what can you do to help yourself to recover and get on with making your list of New Year resolutions? In all likelihood your body is dehydrated. Alcohol makes you visit the toilet more often and when your organs get deprived of water they take their water supply from elsewhere, including the brain cells - hence the overall sluggish feeling! The obvious remedy is to load up on liquids. So make it part of your routine to drink lots of water - 8 glasses per day - in the form of cold water and herbal teas. You can buy very good ‘detox’ teas in supermarkets, which normally contain cumin, coriander and fennel, all of which work together to aid digestion and cleanse the intestines.
Instead of eating more food, try juices. Freshly squeezes juices help to ensure that you are still packed with vitamins. Vegetable juices are best as they are an excellent aid in calming your stomach and cleansing the system. So as well as drinking lots of water you need to ensure that you are eating healthily to allow your body to recover from the effects of the holiday excesses.
The following list of suggestions should help you to do this:
Take a multi vitamin supplement to enable you to top up on essential nutrients that your body may be depleted in.
Avoid unrefined ‘white’ pastas, breads and pastas- these will block up your system and make you feel sluggish. Choose whole unrefined ‘brown’ versions instead - wholemeal bread, brown rice and wholegrain pasta.
Avoid processed foods - ready meals, crisps, cakes, biscuits as again these are full of salt, sugar or fat, most of the time all three, and these will not aid your body’s recovery. Instead eat lots of fruit and vegetables especially apples and green vegetables as both these have a high fibre content, essential for cleansing the body. Also try to limit chocolate, although it can give an immediate boost, the long term effect may make you feel sluggish and tired. Eat regular meals and snacks to keep your ‘blood sugar’ even as this will enable you to maintain your energy levels throughout the day. Try to avoid sugary cereals for breakfast and eat porridge or eggs on toast instead as these will really set you up for the day.
Ideas for energy building snacks - all should include a small piece of protein which helps to sustain energy:
Small handful of nuts - almonds, walnuts etc
Apple with a small piece of low fat cheese
An orange with a small handful of nuts
Small turkey sandwich on wholegrain bread
1 boiled egg with a piece of wholegrain bread
2/3 oatcakes with peanut butter
Physical Activity is also important as a means to provide energy to the whole body. It gets the blood supply moving round the system which will help you feel revived and ready to go. Stretching for 2-3 minutes will loosen muscles, ease joints and allow blood to flow easily round the body. Using the stairs instead of the lift, increasing walking speed and gently jogging on the spot will also help get the blood flowing. There is no need to break into a sweat, as little as 2-3 minutes of increased activity can make a difference.
So there you are you have your first New Years resolution: Look after your body and it will look after you!!