Lisa Dunbar is a health and nutrition coach from Blackrock
If you usually spend Christmas in a post-turkey haze staring at the bottom of an empty Roses tin, whilst promising yourself you'll get fit in the new year, we'd like to take this chance to remind you to stop, breathe and relax for a bit. We want to help you enjoy your Christmas in a more mindful way.
The Dundalk Democrat spoke with nutrition and health coach Lisa Dunbar, from Blackrock to get some tips on how to break the vicious cycle of overindulgence, guilt and January blues that we Irish subject ourselves to every Christmas.
Tip #1: Change your mindset about January
My first tip is to change the way you think about January. That cycle of binging, before getting healthy – Christmas exemplifies that phenomenon by 100. It makes us overindulge thinking that we'll be going on a health kick in January, so we think we might as well eat everything in the house now. So we should all calm down a bit about January and that will help to curb our need to overindulge.
Tip #2: Be mindful and stay connected to your body
Christmas comes just once every year, so let's enjoy it! Food is caught up in our traditions here in Ireland. Eating is a social experience. It's the time of year where there are a lot of temptations foodwise, so I think people should just accept that you might take part in all that and not feel guilty about it. I would suggest eating and drinking more mindfully. As our lives have become more fast-paced we're so used to eating mindlessly, we don't actually pay attention to what's going into our bodies. I really think Christmas should be enjoyed. Eat what you need to eat and pay attention. Your body tells you when it's full – just listen to your body. Everything in moderation as they say.
Tip #3: Hydration
Dehydration is usually seen as such an extreme word. But in fact, 3 out of 4 people are dehydrated on a daily basis. Drinking water is a habit and as we all know, we lose all of our normal routines at Christmas. And alcohol is incredibly dehydrating.Drinking water is the most underrated thing you can do for your health. Even herbal teas work. A glass of warm water is a great way to wake your body up after overindulging the night before. I'd also say, match every alcoholic drink you have with a glass of water.
Tip #4: Nourish your body: Eat the rainbow
Every time you eat, you have an opportunity to nourish your body for the day – take that opportunity. Start off with a good breakfast. Make it your one good nourishing meal – even though it's tempting to have a selection box! With your Christmas dinner, I'd advise getting the good food in when possible. I always say 'eat the rainbow'. Make sure half of your Christmas dinner plate is packed with vegetables.
Tip #5: Get outside
In non-food-related advice, I would say get outside. Although it's tempting to hibernate for a week, it's better to get some fresh air and exercise. Your body will appreciate fresh air. It's a chance to wake your body up and work up your appetite for the next meal! Even people who love Christmas, by the 28th they can't get back to work and back into their routine. I really think people are getting more aware of looking after their bodies at Christmas. These tips will help you to enjoy your Christmas, and be less stressed about January more, without putting a dampener on things.
Check in on www.lisadunbarhealth.com/ over Christmas and in the New Year.
“During the first week of January, I'll be posting some tips on health and wellbeing. We're so used to going from one extreme to another – let's just calm down and not get caught up in the hype surrounding getting fit for January," said Lisa Dunbar.