There is nothing like the festive season to throw our healthy routines completely out of sync. Whether it’s because we are out at Christmas parties rather than in our usual gym class, choosing unhealthy meal options as we are hungover or on the move, all our best laid plans can fall apart. But Dr Hilary Jones says there are quick and easy ways we can try and stay on track while having a good time.
There is no doubt rich foods and drink are all around us from mid-November and faced with so much temptation it can be hard to resist.
But, you can still feel like you are treating yourself without the average 6,000 calories a person consumes on Christmas Day! Some simple changes can mean you still feel part of the action but won’t have to put in as much work to get back on track in the New Year.
For example, fill up your dinner plate with plenty of vitamin rich foods like broccoli and spinach, choose a dark chocolate from the box rather than a liqueur filled one and drink plenty of water between and during meals – even if you are having a glass of wine too. “And let’s not forget the calories of alcohol,” says Dr Hilary.
“Despite its association with merriment, alcohol is actually a depressant – and it lowers your sleep quality. Its weekly recommendation is 14 units a week which equates to seven 175ml glasses of wine or seven pints of lager, so don’t be afraid to say no to that extra glass of mulled wine!”
A shocking survey by the British Heart Foundation revealed that British people spend an average of 178 hours sitting down over the festive period. “Something as simple as a daily walk has been shown to improve your health,” says Dr Hilary.
A study by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress found that just 15 minutes of brisk walking a day can add up to seven years to your life.
Try and make walking part of your socializing by perhaps arranging an afternoon walk from a beauty spot instead of meeting at someone’s house or a pub? “If you want to stay indoors and avoid the cold weather, get in some exercise by playing games with your younger family members, even if it’s just an exaggerated version of classic charades!”
For anyone with FOMO the festive season can be a minefield. But, making sure you go to everything you are invited to can put a pressure on your mental and physical health – and your bank balance!
“You don’t have to say yes to everything,” says Dr Hilary. “Enjoy the holidays by spending time doing what you want to do rather than constantly catering for the needs of others.”
It’s little wonder a survey of 1,000 Brits revealed that 81% of people find Christmas stressful, “Which is why it’s important to switch off and take some time for yourself,” Dr Hilary adds. “Schedule in some quiet time to de-stress, either by reading a book, relaxing in a bubble bath or just by sitting down and watching a movie.” There is no point arriving in 2019 burnt out!
As well as looking after yourself at Christmas, the seasonal coming together is the perfect opportunity to make sure family and friends you rarely see are well too. “Look out for any changes in their health – for example, feelings of lethargy or weakness may be an indicator of type 2 diabetes; physical unsteadiness may be an indication of osteoporosis; and being asked to repeat what you have said may highlight a hearing problem,” advises Dr Hilary.
If you are worried Dr Hilary says it’s important to speak up about your concerns. “It might be a good time to gently suggest a health check-up,” he says. “For example if you notice your family member or friend is having difficulty following the conversation, suggest they get their hearing checked with a free hearing test at their local Hidden Hearing branch, or check with your own doctor for a recommendation to see a specialist. You are much more likely to notice any changes than they are, especially if you haven’t seen them for a while.
Don’t forget to take your Lumity supplements every morning and before you go to bed at night. And, if you’re feeling stressed, take some time out to relax and treat your skin with our Skin Nutrients and a facial massage.
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