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December is the month where we’re more likely to overindulge, the temptation just seems to be everywhere.  The food is one of the highlights (it’s one of my favourite things about Christmas) of the festive season and it’s definitely there to be enjoyed.  With all the get-togethers, family meals, charity events and work parties this isn’t really the time of year when we hold back.  Let’s be honest, we’re not all going to be sipping green juices over the holidays, where’s the fun in that when there are mince pies and stollen to be had.

Sometimes the very thought of all the excessiveness can make you feel anxious and you end up subscribing yourself to a January detox before the festive season has even begun. That’s complete B*S!   Yes, there are lots of high-calorie food around, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to turn morbidly obese for letting that slice of marzipan topped Christmas cake pass your lips.  If you think that you can’t treat yourself over Christmas because you’re worried about not fitting into your jeans come the new year, I’m here to tell you to go check yourself. 

Restriction is never the answer, in fact, that’s possibly one the most unhealthy things that you can do.  I’m not going to let my food be the boss of me and obsess over the amount of saturated fat or calories I’m consuming. I’ve been there and got the t-shirt, I was unhappy and miserable back then and never want to be in a place where I over analyse my food.   Fear free eating and having a sense of freedom around food is a healthier mindset and I would rather enjoy the festive season without any food anxiety, knowing that I’m nourishing my body with whatever it is that I choose to eat. 

If you’re going to be giving yourself the permission to indulge in more treats at Christmas (which, in all honesty, I know most of us will be) I’m sharing my top tips on how to find a healthy balance during the holidays.  You don’t need to restrict what you eat, mince pies and ice cream can still be on the menu. Let’s face it, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without them!  It’s all about making simple changes to help you strike that happy balance that allows you to give your body the best nourishment but also allowing yourself to indulge too. 

Relax and enjoy yourself

First and foremost, relax and enjoy yourself…it’s Christmas after all!  If the year has been super busy, totally crap and unkind or the best year of your life, however, it turned out you deserve this.  Enjoy spending time with your friends and family and totally immerse yourself in all things Christmas and remember to have fun.

Supercharge your meals

Supercharging your meals is another great way to make sure you achieve that balance.  Not just at Christmas, I try to pack as much nutrition as I can into my meals.  So this might me sprinkling seeds over my porridge, adding turmeric to my hot chocolate or extra vegetables to my ragu to make them more nutritionally dense. There are so many opportunities to make your meals more nourishing, which means that you’re already giving your body some healthy goodness whether you want to indulge or not.  

Forget about that the guilt trip

I don’t believe in depriving your body what it craves.  If it’s a salad or a mince-pie then just go with it! I’m a firm believer in a healthy balance and I hope that comes across on the blog.  Don’t feel guilty about indulging in heavier foods over the festive period or in fact any time of the year, they’re there to be enjoyed just like healthier foods too.

Start your day with a healthy breakfast

By kick-starting your day with a nourishing breakfast like scrambled eggs with avocado, yogurt and berries or a smoothie you have already given your body a nutritional boost early on.  If you start your day on a high of nutrients you’ve given your body the best start and if you supercharge your meals too, then you’re definitely on the road to finding that balance for when you want to indulge. 

Shift your boundaries a little

For the majority of the year, I follow the 80/20 rule, where I eat well for 80% of the time and for the other 20% I give myself the permission to indulge.  When it comes to holidays and the festive season I move my boundaries to something like 70/30 (or 60/40, depending on how I’m feeling), so add in that flexibility to my routine that lets me indulge more.  I don’t know about you, but I love Christmas food and although I still want to be healthy I’m not going to deprive myself anything just because it’s higher in calories.  Setting these mental boundaries really help remove any food guilt and gives room for treats and healthier foods too. 

Remember to stay hydrated

It’s the festive season, so let’s be honest, the alcohol will be out in full force for many of us.  However, it’s also important to drink lots of water too.  Water keeps you hydrated as well as alert and is great for your skin. Sometimes hunger pangs are mistaken for thirst, so it’s worth drinking a glass of water first if you have recently eaten just to be sure.

Buy the best treats you can afford

If you’re going to indulge, you might as well do a good job of it.  There’s no point in consuming all those extra calories for the sake of it by mindlessly eating things that you don’t enjoy.  Invest your calories in the best treats that your budget allows, leaving you feeling satisfied and your soul nourished.    

How do you stay happy and healthy at Christmas time?

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