Have your (Christmas) cake and eat it too!


If you’ve made the switch to a healthier lifestyle, the festive season can be daunting. Not to worry. Happiness expert Claire Massingham and My health for life health coach Louise Cadden says with planning and the right mindset, you can have your (Christmas) cake and eat it too. This is what they suggest:

Be aware of what can trip you

Reflect on previous years and write down the things that derailed you, says Claire. Was it saying yes to every social engagement, or overdoing the Christmas treats? Maybe it was having an alcoholic drink every night for no other reason than it’s (almost) the festive season.

Plan ahead

Once you’re aware of the pitfalls, get planning. Prioritise your events and decide your approach to alcohol, sugary drinks and food?

Louise suggests eating a healthy meal during the day to avoid filling up on nibbles, chips and dip (which are often high in salt, fat and calories) because you’re hungry.

“Limit treat foods to one day a week and keep the fridge and pantry stocked with healthy food to maintain healthy eating habits,’’ Claire says. “Abstain or cut back on alcohol and fit in some extra walks.’’

Claire says a good strategy is to exercise first thing in the morning when you’re fresh, mentally alert and don’t have the day to talk yourself out of it.

Prioritise your health and wellbeing

Claire recommends maintaining a regular sleep routine to support physical and mental wellbeing.

“Our mental and emotional wellbeing is easily overlooked this time of year,’’ Claire warns. “Be kind to yourself and others, focus on the positives and remove yourself from situations that are stressful or make you anxious”.

“It’s worth remembering the festive season doesn’t mean you have to spend the next few months devoted to indulgent over-eating and drinking.”

Finally, remember your mindset is the glue that is going to hold this approach together. If you head into the festive season set on sticking to your goals, then according to Claire and Louise, you’ll be better off both mentally and physically, and still be able to have fun

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