Keep'er Fit

Gary Wallace

Take a step back this Christmas

The build up to Christmas this year for me has been a little bit different. I’m writing this article all the way from Australia with a stop off in Vietnam before heading back home for Christmas.

Christmas is not as big out here and with so much variety of healthy cafés and restaurants I have been able to take a step back from all the festive goodies such as chocolates and sweets without even missing them.

Even the alcohol intake has been pretty low when I’ve met up with friends and family and i’m feeling so much better for it. It’s been more early mornings and active days than late nights and hungover mornings.

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I’m planning on carrying this on when I get home. You to can also look at ways of enjoying your Christmas without feeling regret for eating too much or feel like you’re drinking all the time just for the sake of it.

Here are a few tips to keep you and your body happy this Christmas.

Sleep
I know I go on about this all the time but for me it’s the start of the domino effect. If you are tired, you’ll make bad food choices, you’ll have less energy and feel a bit more down and lethargic than usual. If you are out late and up early in the morning then try and get a nap in during the day. Rather than falling asleep watching a movie, go back to your bed and make sure it’s as dark and as cool as you can make it and drift off for 20-90 minutes.

Try your best to keep your sleep pattern the same, so rather than watching your fifth movie of the day go to bed and if you really want to see it watch it in the morning.

Food
There is so much food around at Christmas and I love it but just be careful how much and when you are eating. When I eat big meals especially late in the evenings I tend to skip out on breakfast for the simple reason that my body doesn’t need the fuel. Just because it’s breakfast doesn’t mean you have to eat; only eat when you need to.

Still plan your meals for the day and don’t forget about adding your fruit and veg. A turkey salad with nice salad dressing can be a better choice rather than another turkey sandwich.
If you find that you have enough sweets and chocolate to feed a small army think about donating some to local charities or food banks. It may help brighten up someone’s Christmas while also helping your own waistline.

Alcohol
Christmas time is about meeting up with family and friends. If you drink, then you may have one or three with them. Still go and have your drinks but you don’t have to go all out every night. When I go out with friends now I never take a pint, I stick to bottles. Less volume of liquid and alcohol with each round of drink. It can be even better sometimes going out and not drinking or just calling round to a friend’s house rather than meeting them in the pub. Even if you want to get out of the house go for a coffee during the day and spend your nights in with family.

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Keep active
This year my son asked if he could do the Greencastle run on Boxing Day (proud father moment for me right there). All joking aside, the Greencastle run and other active events over the Christmas period are a great way to get up and move. Even when all your mates are home why not meet up for a walk, run or even a game of five-a-side.

Take time for you
The build-up and the Christmas period can be frantic and exhausting so make sure you take a little you time. This could be something as simple as going for a light walk on your own, heading into the town for a coffee or mediating for ten minutes. Don’t think you always have to meet someone or be somewhere.

If spending time with family and friends is something which helps you switch off, then spend quality time with them. Put the phone down, turn off the TV and sit around the table with some nice food or a board game and just relax. Everything you think needs done will just have to wait.

Merry Christmas and I hope that it is a healthy and relaxing time for you and your family.

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