Six Christmas Health Saboteurs
Updated: Dec 18, 2021
So, are you in full-on party mood yet? Had your first mince pie, or mulled wine, or Christmas lunch? After all, we all enjoy letting our hair down a little at this time of year ... and there's usually plenty of celebrations, traditions, and festivities to enjoy.
I have to say that I love it! I enjoy the lights, the food, the shopping and, most of all, I love the opportunity to catch up with friends and family. Isn't it amazing how people tend to seem more relaxed, less stressed and much more accepting of each other? It really is the season of goodwill!
BUT ... there’s something not-so-fabulous too and that's all the sneaky health saboteurs that also come out during December. If you're not careful, they can undermine your efforts during the rest of the year and can set you back from reaching your longer term health goals.
To be clear, I'm no party-pooper (I heard you say bah humbug!) but, there's always a trade-off and, when you are aware of these things, it’s so much easier to avoid them, or at least be more mindful about how you approach them.
So, I've put together a list of the 6 most common ways we tend to sabotage our wellness progress over the festive season.
1. Not eating all day before a party.
On the surface, eating lightly all day when you know you’re going to overindulge later can seem like a great idea ... but “saving calories” by eating poorly balanced meals, or skipping them altogether, can seriously back-fire,. Often it can cause you to eat and drink even MORE than you wanted to because you are SO HUNGRY.
Even worse, that feeling of being out of control can put yourself right back on a guilt-led rollercoaster relationship with what’s on your plate as you try to rebalance the following day. You don’t need that.
A MUCH better approach is to eat healthy, slightly smaller meals before you head out … and then enjoy your favourites mindfully and in moderation!
And, if you should overeat, it’s worth remembering that a single day … or even a week of eating a little differently will not significantly impact on your overall health or nutrition. It’s what you do consistently that makes the difference. So, if you’re generally eating well, the impact of one Christmas party is minimal.
2. Overdoing the seasonal coffeehouse drinks.
Even if you’ve seen these numbers before, they are worth another look. Talk about empty calories and a roller-coaster ride for your blood sugar levels!
Egg Nog Latte: a Grande (350ml) - 364 calories & 41g sugar
Toffee Nut Creme Frappuccino (semi skimmed milk) – 350ml - 301 calories & 35g sugar
Gingerbread Coffee Frappuccino (semi skimmed milk) – 350ml - 301 calories & 42g sugar
3. Eating it just “because it’s there.”
If your once-a-year indulgence in your Nan’s famous gingerbread, then it is so worth it!
However, the shop-bought cookies that someone has bought at the last minute to bring to the staff party? Not so much - they will just leave you feeling tired and regretting that you ate them.
4. Drinking too much.
There are a lot of reasons to be intentional about your alcohol intake. It can interfere with your sleep, it can make you dehydrated ... plus it also contains a lot of empty calories.
There’s something else too: It can lower your inhibitions meaning you might be more likely to snack on foods you’d normally avoid! In addition, the carb craving that accompanies the hangover will probably mean that you end up with two days of excess.
5. Letting your exercise routine slide.
One of the things we’ve learned over the past 2 years is that being fit is a huge part of being healthy. It can help keep your immune system strong and in shape and support your mental health as much as your physical wellness.
Yes, this season can be hectic, but do your best to squeeze in at least a quick workout most days of the week.
6. Not getting enough sleep.
Making time for sleep is SO WORTH IT. You’ll have more energy to enjoy the festivities, be able to make more considered decisions, it will help to keep your metabolism revved and your appetite under control.
Remember, like most things, it’s all about MODERATION.
Having a plan in place is important, not only during the Christmas but all year long. It removes the need for guesswork and allows you to keep moving forward with your health goals.
Whatever treats you have, enjoy them and, rather than falling into that "sure I can start again in January" mindset, keep mindful of those health and fitness goals you've been working so hard towards!