How To Enjoy a Big Family Feast Without Compromising Your Healthy Lifestyle

The festive season can represent a big risk for anyone trying to lose or maintain their weight. How many times have you heard someone say: “I’ll wait until January to start a diet” or “I wanted to start eating healthy but I know I’ll eat a lot at Christmas so I’ll start afterwards”. If you wait for big festive events to be behind you before you start living healthier, then you might never start at all. I’m a strong believer you don’t need to wait for the new year to make good resolutions in life, the sooner the better. And if you’re already on the path to become a better version of yourself, you can still enjoy the festivities without letting them ruin your efforts.

When you think about it, why would people consciously overeat to celebrate? Surely you shouldn’t have to compromise your health to celebrate anything. I know temptation is everywhere and sometimes difficult to avoid, especially if there is a buffet in front of you (out of sight, out of mind) but you ARE strong enough to indulge yourself without feeling like a beached whale afterwards. The keyword is moderation. But I know it’s not enough to say that, so below are 4 important points that hopefully will help you keep in mind that the Christmas period doesn’t have to compromise your healthy plans.

Underestimate your food portions

I know you’re really looking forward to these Christmas delicacies, just try to put on your plate smaller portions than you would usually! When we’re hungry, we tend to overestimate the quantity of food we need and then we’re left with no choice but to keep eating after we’re already full. Putting less on your plate would allow you to ask yourself if you want more or not. And don’t worry, there will be enough food for you to come back to – actually, chances are there will be way too much food so don’t be greedy. Now, this advice sounds obvious but you’d be surprised how many of us don’t listen: if you’re not hungry, do not eat. For the Christmas edition, I would go further: if there is anything you don’t like, don’t eat it! Yes, Brussels sprouts are part of the traditional British dinner but if you don’t like them, save space to enjoy other foods you really like. If you’re planning to have dessert, you don’t want to be already full by then. And when you eat, do it mindfully, take the time to really appreciate it. It’s not a quantity game and binge eating will not do you any good (even on healthy food).

Drink a lot… of water

Festivities almost always include alcohol, but drinking doesn’t make you feel fuller… Unless it’s water. If all you drink is sugary and/or alcohol, not only are you going to go way above your calorie budget but you’re going to feel dehydrated (and then drink more alcohol, you know how this works). And when you’ve had too much alcohol, you’ll make poorer choices between your food options. Try to limit your consumption of alcohol and increase your water intake. If you’re struggling with the idea, remember that water cleanses your body and is a natural hunger suppressant. It’s the number 1 thing your body needs to function properly (after the air you’re breathing obviously). Still not convinced? Take a look at how many calories each alcoholic drink contains on average. It quickly adds up.

Allow your body to digest

By that, I don’t necessarily mean vegetating in front of TV (let’s be honest, we’ve all seen Christmas movies several times, they’re not as good). Think of your body like a machine that needs to process everything you give it. If you keep feeding it when it’s already full, it won’t have time to process what it already has. Why not go for a walk to help burn some calories? It doesn’t have to be a long walk, even 30 minutes in the neighbourhood would be beneficial. If you’re bored, don’t think of food as the solution to keep yourself busy, offer to play a game that will keep everyone entertained. Remember to stop eating at least 2 hours before bedtime to allow enough time for digestion. You could also prepare to fast the next day to clean up your body, or practise intermittent fasting, although this is not an ideal solution for everyone.

Learn how to say ‘no’

You will 100% be offered extra food or another glass of alcohol when you’re already full. Don’t be polite and accept because you can’t say no. Prioritise your body, not the host (I know it sounds selfish but no one else but you is responsible for your own health). People tend to insist when they’re feeling very festive but they won’t remember the next day you said no. There is nothing more unpleasant than forcing yourself, so just be honest (don’t forget to smile while doing it) and it will be all good! If there is too much food (there will be), offer to take some leftovers with you to enjoy the next day as an alternative.

Finally, I think it’s important to remind you this: don’t forget to enjoy yourself in the process. Doing things in moderation shouldn’t be boring or prevent you from having fun! Remember why you’re doing this and all the benefits in the long term! Happy body, healthy mind, healthy soul, everything goes together. And if you know this time you ate more than you should have, it’s all fine, you’ll lose it naturally over time if you stick to your healthy lifestyle. Christmas is only 2 weeks away now… Do you feel you have enough mental tools to overcome the family feast this year?

Big Girl x

Christmas Tips to Have a Festive Season That Won’t Cost the Earth (literally)

It’s that period of the year when most of us consume more than usual. Maybe we could expect this Christmas to be even more shameless than usual because of what we’ve all been through with the pandemic. It’s not yet behind us but we all deserve to indulge ourselves at the end of the year, right? It feels like a legitimate reward for surviving 2020 so far. It would be great to do this without harming the planet too much though, especially if it doesn’t represent too much of a hassle. After all, Christmas is about sharing and we all have to share the same planet (at least until they find another planet we can move into… but I wouldn’t count on it too much personally).

Transport

In the UK, people are allowed to mix with 2 other households during 5 days (23rd-27th December). Chances are many will travel long distances to meet with their family and friends. Taking the plane is one of the largest carbon impacts an individual can have, so if possible it’s always better to avoid it. Sharing a car would lower the carbon footprint for each passenger and create less traffic on the roads. And if you can’t meet with everyone at the same time because of COVID restrictions this year, there is also the possibility to video chat!

Christmas food

I know it’s hard and not in line with Christmas indulgence habits, but try and estimate food portions more appropriately. Don’t over cater if there is a good chance it’s going to end up in the bin. I know it’s tradition but do you really need all these Brussel sprouts on the table (who really likes them anyway…)? Don’t forget that beef and cheese have a very high carbon footprint, so if you can think of a better alternative, go for it instead. Make sure you use leftovers after Christmas, share them around if there’s too much to eat (hence why it’s a good idea to prepare the right amount of food beforehand).

Electricity

Cooking that big turkey requires the oven switched on for hours… Which is an excellent opportunity to turn the heating off as the oven will warm up the home nicely. No one wants to wear their festive Christmas jumpers if it’s too warm inside anyway! Choose LED lights for your illuminations as they can be used for years to come.

Christmas gifts

When it comes to giving, you want to do things right. Below are a few ideas on how to make someone happy, buy smart and preserve the planet at the same time:

  • If you’re clueless what to buy, it’s a good idea to ask what they need
  • Don’t buy anything that is unnecessary or will not be used
  • Opt for gifts that are made locally and close to home
  • Think of activities or experiences like a nature day out, a cooking class, etc
  • If you’re looking for electrical equipment (such as TV, fridge, etc), pick the most energy efficient
  • Do your shopping online, it will save you a trip and reduce your emissions from travel
  • Use recyclable wrapping paper, or make your own with old newspapers, magazines, etc
This year I’m using naturally degradable craft paper to wrap my presents, before putting them under the tree (I have my little elf to help me out, as you can see).

Of course you might receive gifts that are really not good for the planet because they’re full of plastic or contain harmful ingredients, especially products for the bathroom. You can’t educate everyone on the matter and it might ruin Christmas spirit to tell them off for that mistake. Just be thankful it comes from good intentions and if you’re not happy with it, why not give them away to charity? You could also re-gift them to someone who would enjoy it more than you (no one will know unless you tell).

Christmas tree

Finally, there is also the debate: real vs fake Christmas tree. Opinions differ but no matter what you go for, there are many ways to make it more sustainable. Basically, a real tree is better for the planet but you’ll have to recycle it properly. A fake tree is also an acceptable option, as long as you’re planning to make it last at least 10 years (so pick a good quality one!).

What action(s) are you taking this year to be more environmentally friendly?

Big Girl x