Christmas is the one time of year when perhaps we can all be forgiven for a bit of over-indulgence. However, come January you may not be thanking yourself for having given up on your diet and exercise regime. With so much temptation all around you, in the form of after-work party drinks and sugary snacks being offered throughout the day, you can begin to feel as though your will-power is really being tested! There is nothing wrong with treating yourself as you celebrate the festivities, but those extra calories and the stress of additional responsibilities can soon add up! 

If you want to stay healthy this Christmas, both mentally and physically, then there are several simple things you can do to ensure you stay on the right track. This will help you to avoid gaining those festive pounds and having to work extra hard to achieve your fitness goals in the New Year.

Get Creative in the Kitchen

Eating healthy is no reason to miss out on delicious seasonal treats and you can easily get to grips with some basic recipes to ensure you don’t miss out. You can also then take your creations to any Christmas parties that you are attending in order to spread your message of healthy eating!

A great way to make existing recipes healthier when it comes to baking is to swap out any refined sugar for natural alternatives, such as maple syrup or coconut palm sugar. You may have to adjust the amounts as some natural sweeteners can be much sweeter than their refined counterparts. However, doing a little bit of research, or trial and error, will make sure your baking turns out as you desire! Check out these great plant-based Christmas recipes that are healthy alternatives to traditional options.

As well as getting creative with your food choices, pay extra attention to the amount of alcohol units you are consuming as these can soon add up. Always try to not exceed the recommended amount and be sure to hydrate with water before, during and after drinking alcohol. 

Stick to your Exercise Schedule

The cold weather at this time of year can quickly become a serious deterrent for exercising, especially if you normally choose to exercise outside. It is important that you don’t take too much time off when it comes to keeping active as it can be hard to get back into the swing of things.

Reminding yourself why you began exercising in the first place can be a great motivator. Perhaps you have a goal weight that you are trying to reach. If so, evaluate how far you have come and how much further you have to go to reach your goal! Being aware of your success will encourage you to continue with your exercise regime.

The New Year is a great opportunity to inject fresh enthusiasm into your health and fitness goals. If you have an active and optimistic December then you are much more likely to approach the New Year with a positive outlook – making it easier to stick to your resolutions!

Plan Ahead

Christmas can be stressful, especially if you have a lot of commitments and responsibilities during this time of year. Leaving everything to the last minute is only going to exacerbate this stress and you should always aim to adequately plan ahead where possible. If you have lots of gifts to buy then this is particularly important as the financial and time restraints of trying to do it all at once can be quite overwhelming.

It also pays to adequately plan ahead when it comes to cooking your Christmas meal. Ensure you know exactly what is going to be on the menu and that you have purchased all of the necessary ingredients a few days before hand. This helps you to avoid any potential cooking chaos on the day, which is extra helpful if you have a lot of mouths to feed!

Make the Time to Self-Care

Stress can make even the happiest of us experience a low mood and this is not uncommon at this time of year. Making the time to care for yourself can help you to stay on top of your stress and avoid any potential knock-on effects to your mental and physical health. Chronic stress can actually cause contribute to several serious health issues, such as insomnia, high blood pressure, heart disease, skin problems, weight problems and depression. If you do not take the time to manage your stress and tackle it at the source, then you could be at an increased risk of developing one or more of these illnesses.

There are several simple but effective ways to combat stress, such as breathing techniques, meditation, talking therapy and relaxing activities, such as yoga and pilates. Removing yourself from stressful situations and finding resolutions to these situations is also essential for promoting calm and maintaining your happiness.