Thriving Through the Holidays: Your Guide to a Healthy Christmas Celebration

Your guide to a healthy christmas

Thriving Through the Holidays: Your Guide to a Healthy Christmas Celebration

It’s nearly Christmas! Who is as excited as me? 😊 Poppy is 3 now, just at that lovely age where her imagination and sense of wonder about Christmas, Santa Claus, the reindeer and presents from the North Pole is both captivating and infectious. We can’t wait to see her on Christmas day to experience her anticipation of what might be inside her wrapped presents and her excitement at ripping open the paper. 

She absorbs the enthusiasm and excitement of the whole family as we are all huge lovers of all things Christmas, from films, music, baking, lights, opening advent calendars, buying presents (and wrapping them), visiting family, going out for festive meals and our annual Christmas Eve visit to see the magic of Stockeld Park to the actual day itself, starting with bucks fizz, a lovely breakfast, opening pressies and then to the preparation of Christmas dinner, desserts and chocolate with lots of fun, laughter, games and a family film thrown into the mix! Hannah is hosting Christmas dinner this year, so I am excited to enjoy this with her and all the family in her new House 😊

Anyway, enough about my Christmas lol, and onto how to enjoy Christmas without undoing all your good work throughout the year. Yes, you can do it all, you can have a lovely Christmas dinner, desserts, treats and chocolates and stay on track! Here are our tips for doing just that! 

How to enjoy Christmas, guilt free!

  1. Plan ahead. Make conscious choices to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Being in the right mindset puts you ahead of the game, before you even start.
  2. Set Realistic Goals. Set clearly defined, achievable health and fitness goals for the festive holidays. Don’t be vague about your goals. This could be moving each day, doing 10-30 minutes of exercise most days, including a serving of vegetables at every meal or swapping desserts for healthier alternatives.  Whatever it is, make it realistic. Don’t set goals which are impossible to stick to – you want to have a healthy and enjoyable holiday! Remember the holidays are a time to relax, eat, drink and spend time with loved ones so accept that your routine will change for a few days.
  3. Plan your meals. This is all about balancing indulgent treats with nutritious options. Choose lots of lean proteins like turkey, chicken, fish or plant-based alternatives, and include lots of different colourful vegetables, whether as a side to a main meal, in a salad or in a soup. Don’t forget to plan the days around Christmas as well, making sure to include a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Plan portion sizes so that you’re not cooking too much or overeating. Our Christmas day usually consists of scrambled eggs with smoked salmon for breakfast, Christmas dinner – turkey, roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, vegetables, stuffing, Yorkshire puddings and gravy, then we have various snacks and treats throughout the day 😊 
  4. Stay hydrated. Don’t forget to drink enough water. I can’t stress how essential this is for digestion, metabolism and overall well-being. Aim for 2 to 3 litres a day. I keep jugs of water in the fridge with lemons and limes for when I fancy something a little different to plain water. I also drink sparkling water.
  5. Exercise! Try to maintain your regular workout routine as much as you can. If you can’t get to the gym, try to incorporate a home workout – try the following W Fitness workouts: October! Workout of the Month!, Why Consistency Is Important When It Comes To Exercising , 10 Minute Core Workout, 10 Minute Booty Workout, Want to Blast Those Bingo Wings?, 10 Minute Cardio Workout or get outside in the fresh air and walk, jog or simply run around with the kids. Exercise helps to boost your mood and energy levels as well as helping you to stay fit and healthy. I will be doing my usual 10–20-minute workout first thing in the morning throughout the holidays, although I might have Christmas day off lol! 
  6. Practice Mindful Eating. So, going back to the start of this blog where I said you could do it all! This is how! Be mindful of what you are eating, but don’t deprive yourself. You don’t need to cut out specific foods – Christmas is a time to relax, enjoy yourself and it revolves heavily around food. Always ask yourself if you are hungry, and if you are, then eat slowly, and savour and enjoy every mouthful, but stop before you feel full. If you are still hungry 20 minutes later, you can go back for more. If you are not hungry, then wait another half an hour to see if you are hungry then. Also, be mindful of portion sizes, as it’s so easy to overeat during the Christmas season with all the indulgent, calorie-rich foods around. You can eat the chocolate and the Christmas cake but only have 2 or 3 chocolates and a small slice of cake. Thinking about what you are eating and listening to your body means that you can enjoy a little of what you want, to fuel your soul, without overeating and having that ‘stuffed full’ feeling😊
  7. Choose healthy desserts. Make sure that you have some fruit, Greek yogurt, chopped vegetables and hummus in the fridge. Not only are these alternatives lower in sugar and calories, but they can also satisfy your sweet cravings as well as providing a reprieve from the heavy, sweet Christmas desserts.
  8. Limit alcohol. Alcohol plays a significant part in the holiday celebrations; however, they are high in calories and can lead to poor food choices – I’m sure we’ve all experienced the naughty nibbles when we have had a few drinks. Try to have a glass or two with dinner and then switch to sparkling water, soft drinks or even alcohol-free drinks. Not only will you save much needed calories, but you will wake up the next day feeling refreshed.
  9. Get enough sleep. Make sure that you are getting enough sleep. This is essential for your body’s recovery and overall health. Quality sleep boosts your immune system and helps you to make better food choices throughout the day. Try to get 7-8 hours a night. Wind down before bed and turn off any electrical equipment (tvs, phones etc) at least 30-60 minutes before bed. Make your bedroom a place that you want to sleep in, your own sleep sanctuary, and keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet. I find that reading for 20-30 minutes helps me to fall asleep straight away.
  10. Manage stress. Christmas can be a stressful time – making sure that everything is ready on time, presents bought and wrapped, food bought and prepared and the house clean, tidy and ready for guests. We have such high expectations of having the perfect Christmas. This year try to relax, it really doesn’t matter if everything isn’t perfect. Make sure that you enjoy Christmas! Try deep breathing exercises and meditation when it feels like things are getting on top of you. Get out of the house and go for a brisk walk (even if it’s just for 10 minutes) or have a relaxing bath to take some time just for you. Reducing stress is essential for both your mental and physical health.
  11. Keep active. Find things to do together as a family. Plan things like outdoor games, walks, workouts, cycling, swimming or crazy golf. Making physical activities part of your festive traditions helps to keep everyone active as well as encouraging bonding as a family. It’s still important to exercise even if the weather is not good enough to enjoy outdoor activities. Move to an indoor workout such as an online workout or dance class. Think of different exercises and write them on pieces of paper, then get the kids to select one and complete for 1 minute before selecting another.
  12. Practice self-care and compassion. Christmas is all about spending time with family and friends. If something doesn’t go quite to plan or you eat a little more than you wanted to, it doesn’t matter 😊 Don’t be too hard on yourself. One day of indulgence doesn’t ruin your progress – it’s all about healthy consistency! 
  13. Reflect. After Christmas, take some time to reflect on the holidays and what your achievements and challenges were. Acknowledge your successes and look at areas where you can improve. Use this reflection to continue your health and fitness journey into the New Year.
  14. Be flexible. Understand and accept that the holidays can be unpredictable. Be willing to adjust your goals if unexpected events come up. It’s fine to modify your goals as necessary. I went to Stockeld Park to pick pumpkins with Hannah and Poppy, and I had a hot chocolate with baileys and the trimmings that I hadn’t planned for! That’s all part of life but if you adjust what you eat and drink later and be consistent, you will still reach your goals.

By following these tips, you can enjoy a healthy and fit Christmas without compromising on the festive spirit. Balance, moderation and making conscious choices will keep you on track and nurture your well-being. Take this time to think about you and your health, after all, happiness and positive emotions have many physical, emotional and psychological benefits, so what better time to concentrate on you!

Stay committed, stay active and have the happiest and healthiest Christmas ever! 😊

Much Love,

Caroline & Hannah xx