Challenges at Christmas

Everyone has a challenge at Christmas, it could be preparing a huge family Christmas meal, finding the time to buy all the gifts, or even finding the money to buy the gifts. The challenge of keeping weight down and feeling healthy after the Christmas festivities have ended is a fact most people start to consider in January. Why not consider it before and take evasive action?

For business owners it may be an extremely busy time of year, and that, in itself, is a challenge. Alternatively it may be a very quiet time of year and cash flow is a huge challenge. There may be memories and sadness which can be difficult to manage throughout a season where joy and happiness is expected of everyone.

Every one of those challenges, and more I haven’t mentioned, cause stress and have an effect on the body. With that in mind it seems that we should be looking after our physical and mental well being in the approach to Christmas. So here is a guide to follow and give you (Christmas) food for thought.


There is no doubt that eating throughout Christmas is one of the main preoccupations of the season. Overeating is a way that is totally alien to your normal lifestyle (I hope). Put yourself in your stomach, in a short space of time (two days) you are expected to consume and process rich, alien food and still function normally. Follow these tips, stick them to the fridge door; don’t just read them today and forget them.

· Don’t be talked into eating food you normally don’t eat just because it is Christmas, use your willpower, especially if you know these types of food will cause bad reactions.

· Remember your capacity for eating and don’t over eat. Recognise the difference between hunger and what is eating for the sake of it.

· If some of your Christmas gifts are chocolate or rich food, put them away, even better give them to a charity or under-privileged children. If you don’t want people to give you chocolates, or this type of food at Christmas, don’t give the same gifts to others, and inform your family and friends that you would rather not receive these types of food in advance.

· Think about the social events you may be attending. If there is a possibility of finger food, which is usually fried or snack type junk food, then eat before you go so you will not be filling up on all the foods available. When there look for sushi and fish or vegetable based finger foods. If it is a “sit down” meal, be choosy about what you eat, miss out on the heavy food. If you are faced with a seven course meal only eat the courses that are light and digestible, miss out on the others, especially if the meal is a late night one. If the event is a buffet, choose the healthy food options such as light meats, fish, salads, vegetables, fruit, dips such as guacamole, hummus, and bigilla. You will feel lighter and less lethargic afterwards, especially if you avoid heavy desserts and go for fruit salads. Always ask which foods are being supplied before you attend an event.

· Drink plenty of water, at least two litres, or more if you are eating food that your body is not used to. Make sure you don’t get constipated over this season, as the build up of toxins will certainly cause lethargy, and a bloated feeling.

· Chew your food, and eat slowly. This should be the norm by now, but sometimes you forget! If the digestive juices don’t tell the brain you have eaten enough, there will be no safety mechanism in place to stop the inflow of food. Savour every mouthful, enjoy it and stop when your body tells you to.

· Always have breakfast; your metabolism will slow down if you only eat in the evening. It is a myth that the less you eat the more weight you will lose, or the less weight you will put on. You need to eat little and often.

· Keep a food and drink diary over the seasonal period. This may sound tedious, but there is nothing more shocking than reading it back at the end of the week, to reveal what has gone into your body. It will also help you identify any symptoms which have occurred during the season in relation to eating the wrong food.

· Before Christmas go out and stock up on herbal teas such as fennel and peppermint ( or “Aloe Blossom Herbal Tea” ), a good quality Aloe Vera drink ( such as Forever Living Products “Aloe Gel” or any other flavour of their juices), to heal and settle the gut, plenty of vitamin C ( “Forever Absorbent -C”)to support the immune system and ginger capsules (”Forever Active HA”) which will help digestion and serious reflux from over eating.


· Before Christmas plan your exercise regime. It may not be as regular as pre-season; however, you cannot get through the festive season without it. Remember eating produces fuel in the body, if you don’t use the fuel it will turn to fat.

· Use your food and drink diary to include the exercise plan and include a session of exercise at least three times a week. If you have taken leave from work, there is no reason why you shouldn’t plan a period of exercise for every day you are off work. Think how fit and active you will feel at the end of the holidays!

· If exercise is not normally in your routine, then work to the capabilities of your body. Plan a route for fast walking, gradually increase the pace each day. Use any equipment you have at home, that has been lying around since you bought it – unused! Make sure you have a good, new pair of training shoes – if you don’t ask for them as a gift.

· Buy gym memberships for Christmas presents, if you can’t afford an annual membership, buy a three monthly, or even a day, membership. Ask for the same type of gift for yourself.

· Don’t under-estimate the importance of exercise over Christmas. It is vital to get you through this season of over-indulgence and an important part of having a healthy Christmas.

· Talk to anyone who exercises regularly, they will tell you that they can get away with eating the occasional unhealthy food and not feel the effects. Planning your exercise routine now is the best investment you can make for the forthcoming challenges of Christmas.


· Consumption of alcohol can increase weight, dehydrate and even plant the seeds for alcohol-related dementia in old age. Consider all these facts before setting out on a binging session this Christmas.

· The obvious guidelines are don’t over indulge. Take control of your own drinks, don’t allow people to insist that you drink alcohol if you don’t want to. If you overdo it, make sure you spend the following day drinking more than the usual 2 litres of water to help the system flush out the toxins.

· Before Christmas go out and stock up on a really good brand of herbal wine. It comes in red, white, rose and sometimes sparkling. Offer it around when you have visitors and take it with you when you are invited out. Everyone will love it. Ask for it for it as a gift and buy it for others.

· Try drinking sparkling water with lemon, pure fruit juice, soda or mineral water as a change instead of alcohol. Avoid the processed, sweetened juices which contain E numbers and aspartame.

There are ways of eating, drinking and enjoying Christmas without ruining your diet or your fun. However, it does require planning in advance. Hopefully these few guidelines will give you food for thought and encourage you to plan in advance to ensure you arrive in January 2009 ready to face all the challenges the new year will bring.

Have a very happy and healthy Christmas.


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