Here at Dorset Private GP we would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. With the festive season currently in full swing it is easy to overindulge- mince pies, roast turkey, Christmas pudding, chocolates… all washed down with a few glasses of wine. But overeating and drinking can leave you far from feeling festive, but here’s the good news, it can be avoidable. With a few simple steps, you can make the festive season much more enjoyable.
1. Make a plan
What to do when faced with a party buffet? Plan to eat only a few items of your favourite foods – let’s say six. By focussing on the very best, truly delicious items and eating them mindfully in sensible small portions, you’ll genuinely enjoy your choices – rather than eating a bit of everything and feeling guilty afterwards. Some people find it helps to use a smaller plate. While it may seem tempting to starve yourself throughout the day so you can justify eating more at a party later on, this strategy is likely to backfire. You’ll end up feeling so hungry and weak by the time you get to the event that you’ll end up consuming even more than you’d originally planned – most likely in the form of sugary and high-fat snacks. Eat a small balanced snack before heading out to a social event so you won’t arrive starving and ready to eat everything in sight
2. Don’t forget breakfast
Start your Christmas Day with a sensible breakfast. This will ensure you do not sit down to Christmas lunch ravenous and finish it in 2 minutes. A breakfast of porridge will stabilise your blood sugar levels and will make sure you do not become so hungry by the time Christmas lunch comes that you overeat.
You don’t have to do hours of exercise during the holiday season in order to stay on track. A short 15 minutes work out can be all that is needed to burn calories and keep the pounds off for the New Year. If that’s not possible, then get the whole family involved and take a winter walk after a big dinner- it’ll be a refreshing way to speed up digestion.
4. Keep hydrated
Alcohol units and calories can really mount up over Christmas, so try to keep tabs on what you’re drinking and sip plenty of water between alcoholic drinks. Before you head to a party for buffet and booze, have 2 glasses of water and have alternate non-alcoholic drinks when you’re there. Stick to lighter-coloured drinks, which tend to be lower in chemical by-products and lessen the hangover in the morning. You probably need more water than you think at this time of year, as although it’s not hot outside, central heating, alcohol and the stress of racing around getting your shopping done can all contribute to dehydration. Aim for around two litres of non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic fluid a day.
5. Make it about festivities
Enjoying party spreads and Christmas dinners with friends and family is a huge part of the festive season, but you don’t have to stuff yourself to truly experience it. Quality rather than quantity is key. Gorge less and eat more mindfully, engage your brain and keep your mind active. Round the family up for a game of Trivial Pursuit or Charades when you’re feeling the urge to munch. If that’s not possible, take some time-out and gather your thoughts with some simple meditation. Sit comfortable with a straight spine and tune into your breath as it flows in and out through your nose.
Come January 2019, if a festive season of moderation has not gone according to plans, then a New Year is a fresh start to focusing on improving your health. Making a list of achievable and simple goals can be an excellent start. At Dorset Private GP covering Bournemouth, Poole and the whole of Dorset, we offer full medical screening and health checks. This is an ideal opportunity to get up to date tests such as your Body Mass Index, Blood Pressure, Heart Age, Cholesterol, Diabetes and many more. For many people, having health goals generated from their check up with planned follow up can make these goals more achievable leading to improved physical health.