So Christmas is approaching. The time of year where most of us start to indulge in rich food, lots of alcohol and party snacks. And it seems that the shops know just how to market all of their delicious looking produce too. Yesterday I even saw and advert that proudly proclaimed that all of their Christmas buffet snacks could be cooked at the same temperature at the same time, leaving you free to rush off elsewhere in the madness of entertaining. Is it just me or is all this extra food, extra temptation and extra indulgence just a little too much? Yes, it’s great to let loose and enjoy yourself, but when you’ve worked hard all year why would you then just throw the towel in for two weeks? And then what happens? Everyone joins the gym in the new year. This year I’m doing things a little differently. I’m going to enjoy my Christmas dinner, but I’m going to take it without the hangover and without the heartburn. Here are my top three tips for healthy eating at Christmas.
Once the Christmas food adverts start and the parties kick off, it’s tempting to say stuff it, and dig right in. But since I’ve been on the clean eating program with Live Young Bootcamp, I’ve learned how to really listen to my body. And my body doesn’t like it when I eat rubbish. I’m not saying that I won’t indulge in a few bits of things I like, and I won’t be the miserable one at all the family gatherings refusing a slice of Christmas cake. But what I will be doing is sticking to the 80/20 rule. And if I really can’t resist a slice of cake, the next thing I eat after that will be healthy.
Re-focusing means that I am back in control of what goes into my body, and after a stressful and very busy few weeks this is really needed! When you re-focus it can help to keep a record of what you eat, and perhaps even to take measurements at the start of each week so that you can chart your progress.
Make sure your ingredients are as clean as can be
There is nothing better than eating fresh, seasonal food. And often I find that if I eat plenty of the good stuff, the bad stuff doesn’t really appeal any more. I’ve learned that my body needs protein to keep it feeling full and that’s changed the way I snack completely. Now I reach for cold meats, boiled eggs and nuts when I feel hungry, and I don’t skip carbs either. When your energy levels are low, your body needs carbs to keep it going- but it’s important to choose the right carbs here too. Through careful monitoring and support, I now know which carbs suit my body and which are best left alone. And if I want to spend Christmas full on energy and feeling happy then I know to give certain foods a miss.
Eating clean doesn’t mean you need to go without though- I am testament to that! I eat more now than I ever used to and I am rarely hungry. And if you do a quick online search, you’ll find plenty of delicious recipes that won’t set you back this Christmas. I love the sound of this chocolate beetroot cake over on the Benenden site. You can also do a quick check to see what’s in season now, and make sure you fill your basket with the good stuff while you can!
Remember you’re not on a diet
Who wants to be on a diet? Especially at Christmas! And if you’re eating clean, the last thing you’re doing is dieting. In my time, I’ve tried them all and I have to say that each and every plan I’ve tried has not lasted. The reason they haven’t lasted is because they cannot. Depriving yourself of food, certain food groups, or food that actually tastes nice is absolute torture. And completely unnecessary. As this article points out, diets are never going to help you maintain weight loss.
Eating clean has been like a revelation to me. Listening to my body, caring about what goes into it and actually seeing the changes is more than enough to convince me that it’s the only way to maintain a healthy body size and be happy in my skin. I have a way to go, but that’s fine. I have a lot of life left to live.
So the re-focus has begun, and I am feeling great. Yes, I’ll have the odd treat this Christmas but you definitely won’t catch me joining a gym in guilt this new year. How about you?
this is a collaborative post.