–Words by Rae Carpenter
Hold on a second? What? The festive “Holiday” AND “Healthy” in the same title?
Nah-you’re alright thanks, Rae! This is my time to indulge and eat and drink what I want, when I want. This is the time when I can have a large box of foil covered chocolates in a tin by the side of my sofa, and munch when I want! It’s the time when my cupboard is full of mince pies and stolen slices. Oh, and have you seen my wine rack? Salted Caramel cream liquor and some fine desserts wines have my name on them! I’ll think about being healthy after my New Year’s Eve celebrations!
I hear you! And I’ve been there…especially with the salted caramel cream liquor, ahem! But, did you know that in the 2 week run up to Christmas, and then over the festivities and into New Year, we consume nearly 15000 more calories than normal per person in the UK! And on Christmas Day alone, the average person will consume 6000 more calories!
It’s easy to say we’ll start thinking about out healthy early in January, but actually, we really can feed out mind, body and soul healthily by taking some really simple steps over the holidays that will make that January 2020 start even easier!
Yes, we want to watch Dick Van Dyke in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for the 24th time! Yes, we want to have a sofa day- but we really need to move our bodies when we’re putting more calories in to it. So, plan a walk with friends or family so you HAVE to turn up. Ideally you want to do this after the big dinners over the Christmas break, as it aids digestion. Moving your body during a vigorous walk will get you heart rate up, your lungs pumping and bring a rosy glow to your cheeks! And we live in such a lovely area, there are plenty of fantastic places to choose to get those feet moving.
It probably goes without saying that those alcohol units can really mount up at this time of year. Mulled wine, Bucks Fizz, wine, (have I mentioned the salted caramel liquor?!), brandies…the list goes on. Try and keep tabs on what you’re drinking, and make sure you’re hydrating with water regularly- this will help with those holiday hangovers too!
Eat the Rainbow!
By this, I don’t mean all the different colour foil covered choccies- I mean, fruits and vegetables. Keep your immune system in-tact and supported y getting natural vitamins and minerals into you over the holidays. Choose green leafy vegetables, onions, garlic, turmeric and ginger in your winter hearty meals and eat your way to good health! And yes- this means you need more than the satsuma in your Christmas stocking…and no, mulled wine doesn’t count as your one-a-day.
‘Tis the season to be jolly eh? With spending, cooking, cleaning, hosting, and everyday life bubbling away underneath it all, sometimes it can be hard to keep a sense of humour and to keep everything in persepective. Take a break. Focus. Christmas is just on day out of 365. Do you really care if the carrots are over cooked? At LiveFIT Wales, we stay open all over the Christmas period so that our members can rock up to a 30 or 60 minutes class, workout, destress, and head back to their Christmas HQ feeling clear-minded and focused again. See if your gym or local classes do the same and make a point of booking a class- giving you some YOU time isn’t selfish, it’s essential.
What’s in the bowl? Crisps? Nuts? Break sticks? I’m not saying don’t pick at anything over the holidays- I’m not a total Scrooge! But, I am asking you to spend a second thinking about whether or not you really want it, or if you’re just eating because it’s there. What about opting for olives marinated in good quality, infused olive oils instead? Or trying dry roasted chickpeas as a healthier alternative? Choose where your extra Christmas calories are coming from! Make them worth it! #saltedcaramelliquor
Christmas can be really lonely time for some people. We’re all so busy running around getting ourselves sorted, or panic last minute buying- we may not notice that someone else is struggling at this time of year. Smile. Wish people a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holidays, a Nadolig Llawen. Even the smallest, kind gestures can make someone else’s day.
Play with your kids, your grandkids, your nieces and nephews. They will remember that more than the gift card you gave them. Plus, by being active, you’ll burn a few of those Christmas calories! Talk to the sulky teenager. Listen. Try to limit screen time. Get some eye contact going with the other person in the actual room with you. Your loved ones will appreciate your presence more than your presents.
These are just a few steps we can each take to ensure that 2020 doesn’t start with us carrying 10 more pounds in weight due to major over indulging and sitting down for most of the festive break, and generally lessening the stresses that this time of year can bring.
See? You really can be happy AND healthy over the holidays!
-Words by Penarth-based personal fitness trainer, Rae Carpenter
As a Personal Fitness Trainer, with my company LiveFIT Wales Cymru, I work in the community, for the community, and with the community on their health and fitness. Life is short. Without moving our bodies and eating healthily, it’s shorter still. I’m also the health and fitness expert for S4C’s FFIT Cymru and QVC, the UK’s largest shopping and lifestyle network.