Tips to stay healthy over December

The festive season can have a great impact on people's diet
The festive season can have a great impact on healthy eating

As the festive season approaches, you may be anxious about the unhealthy indulgences that typically come with the increased number of get-togethers with family and friends. However, by following a few simple steps, people can ensure that their holiday hangover does not last well into the New Year.

Chiropractor Dr Robert Delgado says during the holidays most individuals will find themselves out of their usual work routine and as a result they may stop exercising as regularly or find it difficult to follow a healthy diet.

“While the stress related to work reduces, which is positive, lifestyle choices often deteriorate during this time which can set people back on their health journey.”

During the festive season, people are more likely to end up drinking and eating more, says Delgado. “As a result, you have got to try think of healthy ways to counteract these actions, such as eating a salad, going for a brisk walk when you wake up or sitting for five minutes meditating.”

If you know you are going to eat a five course meal tonight, have a really healthy and light lunch, he says.

“Or if you are about to eat some takeaways, eat a little salad before that – by eating something fresh and healthy first you are less likely to eat more of the unhealthy foods as you fill up on nutritious food.”

He explains that bad habits cause the release of the stress hormone in the body and over a long period of time this can become quite damaging to the body.

“The challenge with the festive season is that people often get into habit of bad eating and lack of exercise and this continues even when they get back to work.”

He says if you come back to work and find you have totally come off track, don’t just try give up everything – it is difficult to go cold turkey.

“Rather start by adding some healthy food and increased activity to the body. The body will start getting used to the healthier choices and stop craving the bad stuff as much.”

Do not stress too much though, because the body has the amazing ability to restore and detoxify itself, he says.

“If it is Christmas eve and you are going to have a massive piece of cake, just enjoy it – it is a festive time and you are partaking in an activity with the people you love and it is not a common occurrence. Don’t beat yourself up, just ask yourself what you can do tomorrow to counter act this unhealthy choice.”

“Being healthy is a continuous journey of ups and downs, it is not a destination. You must chose to strive for health every day and do your best to balance out the bad with the good.”

Quick tips

Delgado offers these quick tips on how to find a healthy balance this festive season:

  • Wake up a bit earlier in the morning and go for a brisk walk
  • It’s not about being perfect and saying no, it is about trying to balance out bad choices with good choices
  • If you know you are going to be eating an unhealthily meal, make the meal before or that one really healthy
  • Eat something fresh and healthy (like a small salad) before you eat something bad
  • Try your best to limit your portion sizes
  • Always wait half an hour before having seconds
  • Judge food according to how you feel afterwards not during – if you are feeling sluggish after a meal you know it was not good for the body.

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