One week today all the excitement of Christmas really begins for me. December 1st! The first window in our Advent Calendars are opened and> it seems all dreams of a healthy Christmas disappear! I am a massive Christmas fan, I love everything about it but enjoying all the festivities can lead to us feeling sluggish, bloated and> piling on the pounds.  I am not here to tell you not to enjoy the fabulous treats that are around at this time of year, as I know I will be but hopefully by following some of my simple tips you can avoid the Christmas hangover!

1.  Preparation – We get extremely busy in the run up to Christmas.  With all the shopping, partying and> constant visits to friends/family it is hard to continue to cook healthy meals.  Takeaways & ready meals can become a staple part of your diet.  However there is a way around this, make your own healthy ready meals or ensure you have ingredients in for quick fix meals like stir fries.  Try and> make some time each week to prepare a few healthy meals and> stick them in the freezer ready to heat up at a moments notice.  This way you don’t have to rely on the takeaway guys and> can have a hit of healthy food when you otherwise may have reached for those Christmas chocolates!

2.  Make sure you are getting enough sleep – During the festive period we often end up burning the cand>le at both ends and> sleep can get forgotten about! However during this time sleep can become even more important. The stress of thinking about presents you still have to buy, or finding that perfect party dress can cause havoc on sleep patterns.  Try and> develop a good bedtime routine to follow over the festive period and> this will help to signal to your brain that it is time to relax and> shut down.  For more information check out my post “Could lack of sleep be ruining your weight loss”.

3. Try and> keep Active – It is usual during this time of year for any normal routines to go out of the window.  Gyms close and> travelling to see friends and> family takes over, but I can’t express how important it is to keep moving and> stay active.   Try and> keep up with your normal exercise routine as much as possible in the run up to Christmas but when you find you can’t make it to the gym or don’t feel like a full workout just do something. Squeeze in a HIIT workout, or a quick all over body workout.   The internet has some fab videos for quick at home workouts you can fit into your busy schedule. If all else fails, wrap up warm, grab some family or friends and> head out into the countryside for some fresh air and> a walk.  If you don’t have a regular exercise schedule try and> find time to add in some small workouts where you can!

4.  Informed Indulgence – So it is Christmas and> at this time of year there are some fabulous foods around, and> whilst we all want to enjoy some of them do we really need to indulge in them all!  The average brit consumes around 7000 calories on Christmas Day alone, and> I for one imagine a lot of this to be mindless eating – don’t fall into this trap! Think about what might be your favourite Christmas treats and> indulgence in those, forgo the ones you may just eat for the sake of it and> really enjoy the ones you love.

5.  Careful Drinking- I am not encouraging drinking alcohol but do appreciate that it is a massive part of Christmas and> a lot of celebrations.  I am also not going to lie and> say that I don’t drink, I do, and> sometimes too much, but there are ways you can limit the damage. Choosing the right drinks can make a massive difference to how we feel the next day and> the impact on our diet. One of the best drinks you can go for is Vodka, lime (fresh) and> soda – it is clean and> hydrating and> I find quite easy to drink.  You need to avoid lime cordial as this contains a large amount of sugar.  Next up Red Wine, now I am not a red wine drinker but as drinks go this can be a good choice, low in sugar and> as we know it does contain a small amount of antioxidants, so may be an added bonus.  If neither of these are your choice of tipple, go for white wine or champagne – not quite as good as the other two but not the worst you can go for. Plus Sparkling wine is great for the party season! Try and> avoid cocktails, as they can be a potent mix and> tend to contain large amounts of sugar, and> avoid using fizzy drinks and> tonic water as a mixer due to the sugar contents, this includes the slimline or diet versions!

Also on this topic try and> look after your liver as much as you can, try drinking warm water and> lemon each day to help clear out the toxins you are putting in (see back to my When Life gives you lemons post and> look out for an update coming soon!).

So there you go, 5 simple tips to ensure you enjoy the festive season but not the hangover. One more thing I want to add is to Be Realistic.  Christmas is a time to enjoy ourselves, be with friends and> family and> over indulge a little – don’t feel guilty for this, savour it!