It’s funny how we look forward to enjoying the forthcoming festivities and yet often over-indulgence means that instead of enjoyment we can suffer bloating, nausea, a sore-head and a feeling of guilt! Perhaps it is a mind-set issue? “If I haven’t eaten and drunk to excess I can’t have had fun”? Or that the stress of organising it all and/or putting up with relatives we can’t stand forces us to resort to comfort food and alcohol? Here’s my plan for enjoying myself but still feeling good
I practice a form of intermittent fasting in which I consume all my food within an 8-hour window (usually between midday and 8pm). I shall do the same throughout Christmas even though the rest of the family will likely be sitting down to a full English breakfast on Christmas morning! I shall enjoy a cup of coffee and the company of the family without feeling I need to fill myself up first thing in the morning: I’m pretty confident there will be enough to eat over the rest of the day!
Drink plenty…of water!
Rich foods, alcohol, confectionary will all increase thirst. Trying to hydrate with alcoholic or sugary drinks will not work! I plan to take some time to have a glass of water (or at least a cup of tea) several times during the day.
Christmas food doesn’t have to be unhealthy
Turkey, goose (or whatever main protein source you choose), a good range of vegetables, a rich gravy are all highly nutritious (and delicious) foods: I look forward to enjoying the main event of our Christmas dinner, and I should be hungry enough to do it justice it by the time it is served. On Christmas eve we often have fish, which is another very nutritious food and maybe some smoked salmon canapes might be on offer. Oily fish such as salmon is a good source of essential polyunsaturated fats and many people don’t get enough so I shall make sure to partake!
Limit unnecessary carbs (and sugar)
I shan’t completely exclude the high carbohydrate offerings, such as mince pies, Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and the like, but I generally find them over-sweet so will probably take just a very small helping if I have any at all. I often find that, if pressed to eat some I don’t really enjoy it anyway, which brings me to my next point…
I won’t eat/drink things I don’t really like
Sounds straightforward enough? Often we end up eating or drinking things we didn’t want because of tradition, not wanting to upset others or because you’ve been waiting all day for Christmas dinner to be ready and are feeling a bit hungry. I will try to ask myself before taking anything whether I really want it or are just going with the flow.
Stop eating/drinking well before bedtime
Eating or drinking late at night will be sure to lead to a poor night’s sleep feeling bloated and/or restless and a morning headache. By stopping at least 3 hours before bedtime it gives my body time to process the food and drink and be ready for sleep.
It’s just a few days in the whole year
Even if I don’t stick rigidly to my rules, I will always remember that it’s not how I eat between Christmas and New Year that matters to my health but how I eat between New Year and Christmas. I can enjoy the festivities and do not have to feel guilty!