How to stay healthy over Christmas

How to stay healthy over Christmas

There is a reason the Christmas holidays are called the silly season as we often tend to get a bit silly. With Christmas parties, presents, holidays, hot weather – this can be the most challenging time of the year to stay healthy.

But fear not, here are my top 5 personal and professional tips to help you survive Christmas and start the New Year healthy and happy.

1. Pick your parties

This is the time of year to party – with work Christmas functions plus the big New Year Eve celebrations. This often means eating too much, drinking too much and not getting enough sleep.

So why not be a bit exclusive when it comes to what parties you attend. Pick and choose the best ones – don’t spread yourself too thin. Every gym I teach at has their own party but in all honesty, I rarely go to any of them and would prefer to either stay at home or spend the time with family and friends. Plus there is nothing more painful than exercising when you are feeling a little delicate.

2. Eat before you go out

Before you go out for a lunch or dinner, have a small snack so you don’t act like a great white shark circling the buffet table or chasing after the canapé trays. Being slightly full before you eat means you will be more selective with your food choices and are more likely to choose less fatty options.

3. Have a glass of water with every alcoholic drink 

This is one I swear by – for every wine, beer, champagne or cocktail you have, match it with at least one glass of water. Sure you may have to make more trips to the bathroom but drinking water will keep you hydrated and minimise the chance of a hangover the next day. Plus a welcome side benefit is that you will feel fuller so you will find you won’t eat as much either.

4. Get a good nights sleep

This time of year is when we often burn the candles at both ends – we are out more and sleep less.

Statistics keep telling us that most Australians don’t get enough sleep – this often leads to getting sick more often, it makes it harder to stay focused, you are more irritable and it can even reduce your sex drive!

If this wasn’t bad enough, another side effect is that we often gain more weight – people don’t get enough sleep seem to have hormone imbalances that are tied to increased appetite, more cravings for high-calorie foods, a greater response to indulgent treats, and a dampened ability to control their impulses — scary stuff. It’s true that you burn more calories when awake, but not nearly enough to cancel out the many excess calories you consume when exhausted. So make sure you have a few early nights and try to get a good 7 to 8 hours of sleep.

5. New Year’s Day Celebrations

Look I don’t know about you but I find New Years Eve celebrations a bit of an anti-climax. Apart from the fireworks, there is nothing you couldn’t do any other night of the year. Everywhere is crowded, more expensive and getting around the city can be a nightmare.

So how about this, have an early night and start the new year with a bang! My partner and I often do a big walk (say the Spit to Manly), have a swim and enjoy the day (which is often a lot quieter with so many people in bed nursing a hangover). So why not start the New Year on the right foot and set the tone for the rest of the year.

And on a final note, have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.