Hmmm Christmas and health, Christmas and health, Christmas and health … nope, I can’t link the two.
There’s something about being human that makes us want to let loose a couple of times a year and gorge on all the naughty things.
I’m one of the worst for turning into a choccie monster, so I couldn’t possibly advise against doing it yourself, but there are a few strategies I employ to make Christmas slightly healthier and not cause quite so much damage.
This is where you don’t eat for 16 hours or more, so essentially go from dinner to lunch with no food. The research is very clear on the benefits of this and it has completely dispelled the myth of “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. It turns out that phrase was created by a cereal company in the 70’s. Funny that.
By fasting for 16 hours a few times a week, you will be letting your gut recover from the onslaught of food coming its way. You are also likely to keep the calories down on those days which can help manage weight gain.
During your 16 hours, just drink plenty of water and black coffee or tea is allowed. If you feel “hangry”, don’t worry, it will pass. Hunger is a transient feeling which doesn’t mean you need to eat straight away. Observe the feeling and let it go. Nice and Zen.
Every year I treat injuries in the clinic around Christmas related to being more sedentary. Many people have time off work which often means extra time in bed in the morning, more time on the sofa to watch the Christmas films and more time around the dinner table.
The social side of Christmas is fantastic, but we must keep our body moving to help the joints and muscles stay loose.
It is only recently that the benefits of sleep have been pushed to the front of medicine. It has been quoted that sleep is the second most important factor in regard to weight loss. Diet is the most important, exercise is third! Who’d have thought?!
Trying our best to get quality sleep will help us cope with the stress and busyness that Christmas can sometimes bring.
Going to bed at the same time each day, avoiding screen time after 9pm, avoiding lots of alcohol and sugar and having a good morning and night routine are the things that will make the biggest impact to your sleep. Trying your best to do some of these things during the Christmas period will help.
Again, the research is becoming clearer on this, the quality of our relationships is the biggest factor in predicting our long-term health, our longevity and our happiness.
When you are with your friends and family over Christmas, be with them. Don’t be on your phone, don’t let your thoughts stray to work, just be in the room, with them.
Believe it or not, this is the most powerful thing you can do for your health.
So enjoy Christmas, savour all the naughty foods and drinks that we let in, but I hope I have shared some useful strategies to soften the effects of it all just a little.
Here at Forté Physical Health, our team of osteopaths, sports massage therapists and a nutritionist are on hand to help with all manner of ailments.
From all of us here at Forté, have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!