The period between Christmas and New Year’s Day is ladened with opportunities to eat, drink, relax and be merry with loved ones. However, even though you’re enjoying yourself, it doesn’t mean you have to leave it until January first (or February!) to address your health goals. Here are a few simple tips to realistically get back on track after even the silliest of seasons.
Reduce the “I’m on holidays” mentality
During the holidays, it’s inevitable for you to treat yourself to more indulgences. You’re on holidays after all, and you deserve to relax after another long year. Yet this can often lead to overindulging, guilt and then thinking, ‘Oh well. I’ve stuffed it now. I may as well go to town!’ This mentality can make it much harder to feel motivated to get back on track. You can easily feel as if you’ve fallen off the wagon or that you’ve gone backwards.
Treating yourself with festive foods over the holiday season is not necessarily problematic for your health. It’s not what you do on occasion that determines your health and wellbeing, i It’s what you do on a consistent basis that matters.
Give yourself permission to enjoy your favourite Christmas and summer foods, but remember that you don’t have to look at it as all-or-nothing.
Have a reset button
Create your own reset button by making a grocery plan for after the festivities. Rather than leaving the planning while your brain has switched off, a little bit of time planning snacks and meals can help to maintain some feeling of structure and direction, even when you’re relaxing. You could even go one better and organise a grocery order for the end of the holidays, so there is one less thing you have to do.
Try planning what your non-negotiable treats are, and work in your other healthy go-to options around this. This will ensure you’re providing your body with some physical nourishment, as well as some enjoyment for your wellbeing (or as we also like to call it, nourishment for the soul).
Emphasise colourful foods
Focusing on eating colourful, fibre-filled, fresh foods over this period is a great way to maintain digestive health and get back on track after Christmas. These foods also support gut health and this can allow you to feel a lot better come the end of the festive season.
Summer also provides us with delicious seasonal produce including stoned fruits, grapes, tomatoes, avocado, capsicum, and zucchini to name a few. Aim to stock up on vegetables at main meals by including ½ plate of vegetables, and incorporate fruits into breakfast and snacks when possible.
Move your body
Staying active over the holiday season is one way to avoid the inevitable exercise dread and muscle soreness when your life gets back to regular programming. If you really think about it, most activities over this period such as eating, drinking and opening presents involve a lot of sitting down and relaxing. Understandably, the gym is the last place most people want to be on holidays.
However, taking advantage of the warmer weather outdoors or even incidental exercise can be that simple approach you need to incorporate more movement into your day. That may mean taking a morning walk before it gets too hot, swimming in the pool or at the beach, backyard cricket with the kids or even shoving your way through clothing sale racks on Boxing Day. All of our daily activity adds up, and you can take solace in closing off your Apple Watch activity rings.
Get your ZZZ’s
While not directly related to nutrition, getting a restful night’s sleep can set you up for long term health success. For some, the holidays mean committing to more social activities and celebratory nights out, which results in less sleep and often poor sleep quality.
For other sleep enthusiasts, this time may involve much more rest, recharging and longer sleep-ins. Neither are ideal as sleep deprivation can impact immunity, gut health and mood, while excessive sleep can lead to feelings of lethargy and impact the motivation to eat well and exercise. Try to retain some kind of sleep routine and ensure you’re getting just the right amount of sleep for you to feel your best.
This time of year has been deemed “silly season” for a reason as it’s common to celebrate with flutes of bubbles or pints of beer in hand. An increase in alcohol consumption in the hot weather can easily contribute to dehydration, lethargy and low motivation to focus on our other healthy habits
Hydration also becomes important in aiding digestion when you’re eating foods that your body isn’t used to, flushing out excess sodium from salty foods, replacing sweat losses and avoiding nasty hangovers.
Generally aiming for at least 8 glasses of water each day (roughly 2L) will help to keep you hydrated and energised. Try to combine this habit with a habit you already do over the holidays. This may be every time you go to the toilet to urinate, replenish your bladder by having a glass of water or, every time you reach for a snack or have a meal, drink a glass of water.
If you’re looking for more help in getting back on track after the Christmas and New Year period, the team of Accredited Practising Dietitians at The Healthy Eating Clinic can help. Give our lovely customer service team a call on 02 6174 4663 to find out how.
At The Healthy Eating Clinic, we want to equip you with habit-based nutrition advice so that you can eat well for the rest of your life! Make an appointment today