How to feel your best this festive season

It’s that time of year when the mad panic to lose weight and get in shape (quickly) for summer sets in. But why do we continually put ourselves under pressure to suddenly look a certain way?

Of course, it’s important to feel our best but it’s also a time of year to simply enjoy the long summer days, the extra time with friends and whānau and to detach from any food guilt. December and the summer holiday should be all about connection, having a laugh, eating delicious food and getting into the Christmas spirit. Whether you’re following old traditions or creating new ones, many of these are centered around food.

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Sticking to routines

If you’ve been focused on your health and wellness this year, December can be a tough time of the year to stick to a consistent routine. And that’s ok!

Maintaining habits can be harder when there are extra social activities, less hours of sleep, more to get done and a sense of overwhelm. It can be helpful to think about how your routine may look different over December and the summer holidays.

What’s most important, is giving yourself permission to enjoy the extra socialising and keep up the consistency in your habits where you can. This could look like a lunchtime walk on the days you’re heading out for dinner and missing your usual gym class or a lighter breakfast on the days you’re heading out for lunch.

Surviving the silly season

Here are our top tips from Dietitian Lily ‘lentil’ to help you survive the lead up to Christmas and feel your absolute best:

1. Don’t underestimate the basics

Prioritise good quality sleep, dial up your movement, and try to avoid severely under-eating or skipping meals – this will only lead to increased eating further down the track.

2. Set the bar low

At this time of the year, try to focus on maintaining your habits where you can but be realistic and set the bar low. Anything you perform above and beyond is a bonus.

3. Take a break from social media

With all the pictures of everyone’s perfect Christmas and amazing holidays in your feed it can feel like your own is not enough. Do yourself a favour and take a break from social media for a day, week or month and get stuck into enjoying the moments without comparing yourself to others.

4. Make the most of the extra sunshine

Although the weather can be a little hit and miss in the lead up to Christmas, a little extra sunshine will do wonders for your mood. If you’re at work, take a cheeky walk around the block or have your lunch outside to catch some rays.

5. Crowd your plate

Instead of focusing on all the foods you can’t eat over Christmas, refocus that energy on crowding your plate with good stuff when it’s available. Enjoy all the special Christmas foods on offer and spend time facing inwards and listening to your body, picking up on your hunger and satiety cues, and trusting your body will get what it needs.

6. Plan a booze-free catch-up

Many of us drink a little more than usual over December, and to make it easier to stick to your routine and maintain your habits try planning a catchup around a coastal/bush walk, picnic or brunch instead of drinks.

7. Get your meals locked in

If you’re short on time, get your Fresh Start meals locked in so that you know you’ll have your meals for the week sorted. Choose our super quick 10 and 15 minute meals for the weeks when time is limited.

8. Rest, rest, rest

This is the one time of the year when our part of the world slows down! Don’t feel guilty for spending an afternoon in a hammock reading a good book or choosing a slow walk instead of an intense gym workout. Rest your mind and body so that you are ready to smash your goals in 2024.

I’ll start on Monday…

Lastly, let’s change our mind set and say goodbye to the words ‘I’ll start on Monday’ and instead focus on the small, sustainable habits that we can form and maintain even over the busy, stressful and social periods of our lives. This way we’re taking a long-term yet realistic approach to our lifestyle to ensure we’re the healthiest version of ourselves, all year round.