“I wish it could be Christmas Everyday…”
Really? Every day?
Imagine it… We’d all be enormous! Excessive food, too much to drink, not enough sleep… all a bit tough for people who are keen to keep performing well through December and into the new year.
Just stop for a moment and think… if everyone in the UK gains an average of just one pound over the next month, then our small island will have to handle over 4 million stones more weight in the early part of the New Year – surely we’ll sink!
Perhaps it’s not global warming that’s causing the floods?
Fear not though, I’ve got three helpful festive survival tips that will accentuate the positives and eliminate the negatives at this wonderful, but slightly challenging, time of year….
Tip One – Choose fun!
Relax, let your hair down and have fun (you’ve been told!!).
Elite performers find time for relaxation and for celebrating successes. Enjoyment is a part of any well-rounded health plan. If your efforts to be healthy are all painful, uninteresting and erode the joy in your life, then I don’t really see the point!
If it’s a choice between being either happy and unhealthy, or being unhappy and healthy, then please pick happiness – EVERY TIME – life’s too short to live healthy then die miserable! However, if feeling unhealthy also makes you unhappy, then surely that’s got to be an especially poor choice?!
We’d rather you were both happy AND healthy – that’s our goal… to help you feel great, have fun and be at your best!
What’s your choice for the next few weeks? Will you choose to be happy AND to be healthy?
Please make a choice – but bear in mind that if being unhealthy is going to make you unhappy, then start taking some steps now that will stop this from happening. What can you do to give yourself the best chance of being happy over the next few weeks? Where and how does being healthy fit into this?
Tip Two – Earn it!
What do I mean? Well, if you can do a couple of the things that feel righteous, virtuous and healthy, then you’ve perhaps earned the right to take the pressure off the healthy eating and exercise plan for a while. If nothing else, by balancing out a few of the less healthy behaviours with a couple of slightly more healthy things then you’ll slip back less than if everything starts to slide. You might not perform at your best over Christmas, but at least if you minimise the damage, you’ll be in a better place to start the New Year! Here’s a couple of practical ideas…
- Eat the tangerine from your Christmas stocking first rather than the chocolate! Surely you can manage that? Even if you don’t get a stocking… think about the principle!
- Super-size on the vegetables and/or salad at every meal. Yes, we really are giving you permission to eat more of some things!
- Remember, turkey sandwiches are actually quite good for you, especially on wholegrain bread, with salad and without the dressings!
- Take a post lunch walk every day – even if it’s to the pub and back!! Staying active, even just a little more active, will help you stave off the worst consequences of the seasonal excess (it also keeps your conscience and driving licence clean!). This will also get you out in the small amount of daylight we see at this time of year and will help to lift your mood.
- Go nuts! Nuts are packed full with good nutrition. They’re a good source of protein, fibre, monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium, copper, and antioxidants. And they help reduce the risks of heart disease and diabetes and some studies have shown that they can help control weight. Population studies have also shown that eating about one ounce of nuts every day reduces the risk of heart disease in the long run by 30% (Harvard School of Public Health, 2003).
- Remember, slim-line mixers and diet soft drinks are calorie free! Choose them over the “full fat” options.
- Dance like you mean it! Put those dodgy Christmas records on, take advantage of your reduced inhibitions from one or two glasses of wine and hold your own “Strictly Come Dancing” Christmas competition! If dancing isn’t your bag, then running around playing with kids at Christmas is a fine substitute and terrific fun! So, don’t be scrooge-like, grumpy and lazy when things get lively, get up, join in and have a laugh.
- Speaking of which… It was reported at the European Congress on Obesity in 2005 that 10 to 15 minutes of laughter increases energy expenditure by 10 to 40 calories per day. So, laugh for an hour a day and it’s the equivalent of a one mile run!
Perhaps happy people are actually healthier people?
What things can you do to choose happiness AND health over the next few weeks?
Tip Three – Collect your thoughts!
Also, at this time of year it’s often possible to take a little time to relax and put your feet up, to take stock of your current situation and consider your future.
Think forward 12 months from now. Imagine yourself being both healthy and happy.
- How would you like to be feeling?
- How would you like to look?
- How would you like to be performing at work?
Think about it. Imagine that everything over the next 12 months goes well for you… what will a happy, healthy and peak performing you look like, feel like and be doing? We know that top performers in the world of business give time and attention to getting a clear vision of how they want to be performing – and that includes their physical performance – on a constant basis.