Coming back to work after maternity leave meant I had 12 months up my sleeve of poor sleep and irregular exercise. Starting at Endeavour College as Brisbane’s new Wellnation Clinics Manager gave me the encouragement I needed to get my health back on track.
Within my first week I booked into Wellnation Clinics for nutritional medicine and homeopathy consultations. With their guidance, I’ve been working over the last four months to get my health on track with great progress. I am nearly at my ideal weight, my energy is firing and I am exercising regularly for the first time in two years. Then an email arrived that could undo all my hard work.
I received my first invitation to a Christmas function - the first of many as the festive season gets into full swing. When I opened the sugar-laced party invite I inwardly groaned. How am I going to avoid the temptation of fruit mince pies and rum balls? How will I avoid resembling jolly Mrs Claus by the time January rolls around?
I decided if there was anyone to ask for help it was the team in my clinic. So I asked the naturopathy student practitioners for their advice on how to enjoy the silly season without the ‘Remorseful January’ syndrome. Here are their pointers.
7 top tips to enjoy the silly season
1. Maintain a healthy morning routine
Most celebrations are held in the afternoons and evenings so make your mornings the time to take care of your body and balance out the festive food. Have a protein rich breakfast and with moderate fats and avoid refined carbohydrates and sugars. Think scrambled eggs and a green smoothie.
2. Include exercise in your social activities
Organise to walk or catch public transport to an event, take a dip at the pool party or gift a family member with a cricket set to enjoy a game on Christmas day. There are so many ways to make this holiday period fun and active for the family.
3. Choose an alcoholic drink that can be mixed with soda or mineral water.
This cuts back on the sugar load from mixers such as soft drinks. If you prefer to drink wine, choose red over white. White wine is full of sugar whereas red wine gives you a great antioxidant hit (when consumed in moderation). Have a two to three drink ratio – for every two alcoholic drinks have at least one glass of H2O. This gives your liver a little rest while ensuring your body has the water it needs to flush the alcohol from your system.
4. Get some digestive support!
So many of the foods we consume over our festive season are rich so give your gut a hand with a daily dose of probiotics or consider a tea such as Green Tea or Dandelion Root Tea. Both are great for aiding and stimulating your digestion and assisting the liver metabolise more effectively. A nice twist on this is to try an iced tea with either green or hibiscus tea. You can make up a batch and keep it in the fridge for a refreshing drink on the warmer days.
5. Eat lots of green salads with meals, particularly those including fatty meats.
Your body will love the fibre in the greens which aid digestion and this will help it get the micronutrients it needs to survive the box of chocolates your Kris Kringle gave you for Christmas.
6. Win the mind game.
The next few weeks are to be enjoyed! Don’t beat yourself up about letting go and savouring some delicious food. The key is to allow yourself to indulge and not let it get out of hand. As one student put it ‘If I go out for a night of celebration with friends, the next day I sometimes use it as excuse to eat poorly for breakfast. Then because I had a unhealthy breakfast I will tell myself its ok to continue eating poorly because I am having an ‘unhealthy day’. The key is to avoid this thinking. Have an indulgent meal then commit to the rest of the day being more healthy.
7. Get inspired with your cooking.
Who says you can’t eat nutritious meals AND enjoy delicious, indulgent flavours? Nowadays the internet is awash with ideas and recipes for new takes on traditional treats. If you want ideas for cooking nutritious festive food check out our Endeavour bookstore. I really enjoy Sarah Wilson’s ‘I Quit Sugar’ recipes. This way you really can have your chocolate rum balls guilt free!
If January does come round and you are feeling like you might have enjoyed yourself too much, make an appointment to see one of our students who can help your body recover from the silly season and give your energy levels a zap.
About Kate Johnstone
Kate Johnstone is the Wellnation Clinic Manager for the Brisbane campus. She has a background in business and project management. Kate is a qualified political scientist, doula and mother of one. She drinks copious cups of tea and likes to dunk her biscuits.
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