Festive Feasting: healthy eating in December

Since I wanted to focus a new series of posts about the festive season, what better way to kick it off with some healthy eating tips!

The festive period is always the worst time to be healthy. With an endless supply of treats, Christmas parties and indulgent dinners, weight gain is almost inevitable. Then January arrives with a renewed sense of motivation for getting fit, losing that extra 5 or 10lbs and adopting an all round healthier lifestyle. Gym memberships peak and new fad diets flourish… which ultimately fail. Did you know that 80% of New Years resolutions fail before Valentine’s day, a mere 6 weeks later? Sorry to be the barer of bad news but the statistics do not lie in this case.

My question is this: instead of letting yourself totally go in December why not attempt to have a healthier season? It doesn’t have to be about restricting fun but rather indulging in moderation.

I always advocate living a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable and actually enjoyable. It’s never about cutting back or deprivation but more about being aware of how food impacts on your body, health and wellbeing. Christmas is all fun and games until your jeans are too tight!

With that being said, I often get asked how to eat healthily during this season, so I wanted to share some simple tips:

 

Tip 1: Stay hydrated

People often forget to drink water during this time, instead opting for more indulgent or alcoholic beverages. However, dehydration causes lots of issues such as playing havoc on the digestive system, lethargy and drying out your skin. On the alcohol note, be aware of

  • For optimal digestion aim for 2 litres a day
  • Drink a glass first thing in the morning 
  • Have a glass before or with each meal 

Tip 2: Alcohol calories

They easily add up. Simple as. Cocktails, creamy mixers and adding booze to your hot chocolate are easy ways to consume a lot of calories.

  • Opt for lighter spirits such as gin and vodka
  • Tonic water and sodas are lower calorie mixers
  • Drink water in between drinks

 

Tip 3: Never go to a buffet hungry

You’ll end up overeating. Buffet food is rarely healthy because it’s cheap and full of salt and sugar, making those little nibbles far too addictive.

  • Have a small snack beforehand to avoid turning up ravenous
  • Don’t skip other meals or ‘save yourself’ throughout the day as it will lead to overindulgence
  • Always eat breakfast (full of protein, healthy fats and slow release carbohydrates) to balance blood sugar levels and preventing a sugar crash. It’ll set the tone for the rest of the day

Tip 4: If you don’t love it, forget about it

Just because you’re surrounded by a plethora of food it does not mean you have to eat everything. Try to only indulge on the foods that are worth it and you really love or want to try. Before filling your plate at a buffet, look at the entire spread to decide what few things you want to indulge on. Fill the rest with healthier options such as protein and vegetables. The fibre will prevent overeating. You don’t want to be in the situation where you have eaten three desserts before spotting your absolute favourite! If it’s a three course meal, try to choose two healthier or lighter options out of three, or better yet share!

  • If you like the decadent dessert option then go for a lighter starter & main (and vice versa) 
  • Share a starter or dessert
  • Ask a waiter to adapt the option to make it healthier (restaurants can be very amenable to intolerances)

Tip 5: Don’t forget to eat the rainbow

Fruit and veggies that is! A plate of vegetables isn’t the most attractive food option at this time of year, but aim to eat around 5 portions a day. Why? If not you’ll end up with sluggish digestion and stomach problems. The fibre will also fill you up, potentially stopping you from overeating and preventing a sugar crash.

  • Fill half your plate with vegetables
  • Opt for fruit based desserts
  • Seasonal fruit and vegetables are delicious!

Tip 6: Out of sight out of mind

Simple. If it’s not in eyesight wont be as tempted.

  • Eat from a plate to be aware and accountable for what you’re eating

Tip 7: Be mindful and guilt free

Be mindful over the choices you make and remember the bigger picture. One indulgent day is not going to make a lot of difference in the grand scheme of things, but several could lead to unwanted weight gain. It’s easily done. Eat only when you are hungry and not out of boredom. Eat in a way to fuel your body and your soul.

  • Are you hungry or bored?
  • It’s ok to say no!
  • Do you really need that second helping? The first and last bite are always the best so enjoy in moderation
  • Going out? choose healthy options for the rest of the day but don’t restrict (e.g. Fill up on lean protein and lots of veggies for lunch)

 

Most of all, relax and enjoy the season! Focus on the bigger picture: taking time out and spending it with loved ones 🙂

 

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September Summary

Well September has flown by and thought I would round-up the things I’ve been loving this month.

Designing clothes!

I’ve been getting creative designing clothes this month. I’m lucky that my mum is an insanely talented dress-maker (amongst other things) and has that amazing ability to take my drawings and make them into a clothing reality. I feel really proud wearing her work. She loves receiving compliments on clothing she’s created and loves the feeling of having something totally unique. Take her to a fabric store and she’s in heaven. I don’t consider myself to be creative at all, I want things that technically don’t work and don’t understand pattern making or the general idea construction of clothes, but I LOVE FASHION. I get a picture in my head of the type of clothing I like, go to a fabric store and go wild.

This month I’ve designed a few items. We visited a few fabric stores and got pretty creative this month. I am in love with my playsuit below – it has a lace trim around the sleeves, neckline and bottom of the shorts.

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I fell in love with this autumnal chiffon fabric 

TV shows and Podcasts

I typically do not watch much TV. I’m that annoying person that just cannot keep up to date with a series and I get put off starting a Netflix show when there are just too many seasons to catch up on. i.e. more than one. I think I’m on episode one of SO many shows – Narcos, Designated Survivor, American Gods, etc. But this month I have finally watched some TV! I caught up on Suits, which i’ve really loved. I need a Lewis in my life. I also finished Pretty Little Liars, which the latter seasons did not keep my interest and I felt that the ending was just too far-fetched. Still, I’d committed for 6 seasons so I was always going to finish it at some point! I’ve also been good at keeping up with new shows – Bake off, Cold Feet and Liar. AND I’m loving all three in equal measures.

 

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I’ve been getting back into podcasts recently. I’ve found myself on transport a lot and I’ve quite enjoyed listening to podcasts and reading my kindle. The three podcasts that spring to mind are: Trish Blackwell’s confidence podcast series ( a recent find!), Happier with Gretchen Ruebin and Motivate Yourself with Richard Nichols. Yep. There’s a self-development theme here! As far as books go, I’ve downloaded about 10 (!) and have just finished two: the latest Lindsay Kelk instalment in the I heart series; I heart forever, and Hot Mess by Lucy Vine. Definitely recommend for some easy-going, light-hearted LOLs.

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Cooking!

I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen and have enjoyed creating new recipes. I’m a terrible baker, but I LOVE cooking. Cooking with and for other people especially. I was in Spain and spent time with my mum cooking Spanish food. A bit different for me as I tend to gravitate towards more Asian food. The food was just so fresh and amazing! OH MY GOD padron peppers! There was just something really refreshing about taking spice out of the equation and making really fresh food with simple ingredients, like garlic, olive oil and oregano. I also learned how to cook a traditional paella. Not to brag but it was AMAZING.

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❤ 

What have you enjoyed this month?

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