5 Ways to Beat Holiday Over-Indulgence
17 December 2015
Christmas is just around the corner, work is slowing down, and the festivities have begun. I absolutely love this time of year, and I am certain you do too. It’s wonderful to be able to breathe, take some time off, go travelling if you can, spend quality time with your loved ones, and ease off routine for a little while. Life can get crazy and it is so important for us to make the most of our time off, to relax, rejuvenate and renew. Holidays can be both therapeutic and revitalising, but they can also be counter-productive to our health if we take things too far. With the holidays come lots of food, alcohol and indulgence. There is absolutely nothing wrong with indulging a little here and there, or having a cocktail or a glass of wine – we are all human, and should never feel guilty for treating ourselves every now and then – but what we need to make sure of, is that we don’t take it too far.
Over indulging consistently can really set your health back in a big way. Anything in excess is never good for us. Binge eating during the holidays, over-eating, drinking too much alcohol and not getting enough sleep put your body under a lot of strain, and will leave you feeling drained, and depleted, which is definitely not the way you want to start the new year right?
So let’s try and find a comfortable balance…
Again, I am not saying be restrictive. By all means enjoy your food, have a few drinks, if you are travelling, savour the cuisines of the country or city you are visiting. What I am saying is be smart about it- don’t take it too far, by applying the tips below. I apply these principles to my own life, and they really work wonders in helping me to keep my health in check while enjoying myself over the holidays.
Don’t be shy to treat yourself:
Go ahead, Treat yourself. Enjoy whatever it is that you feel like – be it delicious food, some wine, or a massage. You deserve it – do it with pleasure, and don’t feel guilty afterwards. Just try to make sure to keep yourself in balance. Level out unhealthy days, with some good exercise and clean eating on other days, so that you are cleansing any toxins from your system. If you are prone to overdoing it with the food or alcohol, then find other ways to indulge – perhaps a massage, a spa day, a relaxing walk on the beach, reading your favourite book, or treating yourself to a little shopping spree.
Don’t Over-do It
There is a big difference between treating yourself and poisoning your system. It can be very easy to go overboard with excess food and drink, so when you are in the moment, try to remain aware of how much you are consuming. Enjoy small portions of your favourite indulgence, and sip slowly on your favourite alcoholic beverage. Don’t just wolf down food and drink - pace yourself and savour whatever it is that you are enjoying. Remind yourself that you can always have more later if you really feel like it.
Work on your Buffet Etiquette
Buffets can be quite dangerous when you arrive at one without a “plan” of sorts. When you approach the buffet, don’t just take a plate and start piling on the food. Rather browse slowly through all the food that is available so that you know what your options are. Once you know what is available, you can decide what it is that you really feel like most of all, and then stick to that. Now you can take a plate and begin dishing yourself whatever it is that you know you will enjoy most. Buffets can get very overwhelming, and often people dive in, and dish mountains of food, only to find that there were only one or two things that they really enjoyed. What a waste of calories right? Buffets trigger the greed in us, especially because we know we can eat as much as we want, so it becomes a quest to eat to the value that you paid for, and then some! This is both physically and mentally unhealthy for us, especially if we are exposed to daily buffets while on at a hotel or resort on holiday. Think of a buffet in the same way as any meal – you are hungry so you are going to eat and nourish your body with good food, until you feel satisfied. Key word here is satisfied – not over-full to the point that you can’t move! Don’t let greed and gluttony filter in – enjoy your food, eat slowly, and only choose the foods you know you will enjoy most! You don’t have to eat everything you see, so be selective.
By this time of year we feel tired, depleted and a little lazy too. There is nothing wrong with some good quality rest and relaxation, even a little break from intense exercise is absolutely fine – even recommended! But don’t stop exercising altogether. Try to enjoy some low impact exercise to ensure that you are still keeping your body fit and healthy. Exercise helps offset the harm over- indulgence can have on our bodies. It also helps with digestion, and keeps us feeling energised and alert – which is so important if we really want to make the most of our time off. A long walk along the streets of your home town, or holiday destination, a light jog on the beach if you are by the sea, or a light yoga session are all great for helping keep your body mobile and you energy levels stable. Exercise also helps us relax and destress, so if you are holding on to any tension or residual stress, then a good sweat session is the way to go. Spending some time in the sauna is also a great way to get your metabolism working and to detoxify your system.
Focus on healthy ways to relax
Channel your need to let loose into something healthy and positive for both your body and mind. Instead of diving face first into food or binge drinking, use your free time so start up a healthy activity – perhaps hiking or rock climbing. Try out that aerobics class you have always wanted to attend, or start a walking club with your friends. Use this time to explore new healthy recipes, get creative in the kitchen, visit new organic markets in your neighbourhood or go explore your city. Take up a new hobby – perhaps painting, pottery or photography. Make your holiday about enriching those parts of yourself that get neglected during the rest of the year. Spend some quality time with yourself – meditate, read – do those things you never have time for – get to know yourself again. I can guarantee you that approaching your time off in this way will help you feel refreshed, invigorated and ready to take on the New Year ahead with abundant zest.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy festive season!
Yours in Health Always,