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How to stay healthy over the silly season


By Claire Richardson

It’s that time of year again!

If you’re anything like me, your social calendar is probably filling up with parties, work break ups, dinners and get-togethers.

Champagne is flowing, canapés are being passed around, work is hectic because of end of year deadlines, Christmas shopping becomes stressful and exercise goes out the window.

Unfortunately, because of the above mentioned reasons, most of us will be prone to putting on a few kilos, losing fitness and becoming more stressed.

Here are a few easy-to-implement strategies to stay on top of your game over Christmas.

H2O is the go!

Are you more familiar with the word “hangover” of late? Are you starting to notice dark patches under your eyes? Are you eating mindlessly?

Staying hydrated is important. Whilst the notion of 8 glasses or 2 litres per day isn’t scientifically based, we do know that drinking adequate water assists with most of our bodily functions.

Intersperse your alcoholic drinks with glasses of water. Not only will this assist with reducing your likelihood of a killer hangover, you’ll also consume less alcohol overall, which may prevent weight gain. Alcohol is very high in kilojoules, meaning that our Christmas podge is caused by not only the food that we eat, but the celebratory drinks that we consume.

Set realistic goals.

This time of year can be stressful. We’re all desperately tapping away at our keyboards, trying to tie up the loose ends and meet deadlines for Christmas. Then there’s the Christmas shopping to be done, parties to attend, food to be cooked, the house to be cleaned, and somehow, the budget to be managed. It’s no wonder we’re all tired!

Stress can influence energy levels, mood and pain. If you’re feeling unusually tired, grumpy or sore, have a think about what you have on your plate at the moment.

If work is unavoidably busy, think about the things that you can change. Do you have relatives offering to help with the cooking? Can you enlist your kids to help with the household chores? Do you really need to attend your second cousin’s annual Christmas fiesta that you never actually enjoy? Will it matter if you use gift bags instead of pretty, ornate wrapping?

By setting realistic goals, your tasks are far more manageable. Stop beating yourself up for taking shortcuts, as you’re simply looking after your health!

Stay active.

For the above mentioned reasons, often all we feel like doing in our spare time at this time of year is plonking on the couch with a bucket of wine and repeats of our favourite TV shows (or is that just me?).

We’re lucky in Australia that Christmas falls during the best weather of the year. Whilst it may be hard to muster the motivation, once you’re out an about, soaking up some vitamin D and getting the blood pumping, your energy and stress levels will improve. Exercise helps to regulate the hormones responsible for stress, energy, blood sugar, pain and even sleep patterns. Not only that, it is important that we try to offset the sudden increase in our food and drink intake, so as not to pile on the Christmas kilos.

Try incorporating a gentle walk every day, or if you’re getting public transport to work or to social events, get off a stop earlier than needed.

You can see another one of my posts on how to move more for some other ideas!

Enjoy your Christmas food, but be sensible.

Oh no, who called the fun police?

Whilst this is a pretty obvious point, it goes a long way to preventing the weight gain and lethargy that can creep in at this time of year. With more social events on our calendar, healthy eating becomes less of a priority and certainly more difficult to implement.

The easiest way to make better choices is to steer clear of the calorie laden canapés and finger food at most events. Do you even really like greasy sausage rolls? Do you really need to scoff half a bowl of cocktail franks?

Try to eat something filling and nutritious before you get to the party, which will reduce your likelihood of inhaling 15 party pies on sight.

Also, if you’re going to indulge, do it mindfully. Want some trifle? Great! Enjoy every mouthful, but don’t just mindlessly scoff everything on the table because it’s there. (Ask yourself, will I really enjoy that? Am I even hungry?)

I hope this blog helps you stay on top of your health this Christmas. Remember – everything in moderation, including moderation.

Keep well,


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