weight loss

2 minute read

5 steps to prep yourself for a healthy Christmas

By Nick Harland | Medically reviewed by Lauren Sien

Fail to prepare, prepare to…yep, you’ve heard that one before. But it doesn’t make it any less true. It’s even more important around the festive period, when good health can easily get pushed aside in favour of a good mince pie.

Here are our top five tips - rooted in behavioural psychology - to help you map out a mindful festive season.

1. Set clear goals

Christmas is all about finding a balance between enjoyment and overindulgence. Setting clear goals beforehand can help you find the right balance. And it’s important that those objectives are realistic.

Instead of aiming to lose weight over Christmas, you could focus on maintaining your current weight. Rather than trying to go for a run three times a week, you might simply try to stay active and keep moving. 

2. Plan your meals in advance

There are plenty of temptations around this time of year. That’s why it’s important to plan your festive meals in advance, factoring in any social events and special days where you’ll be eating out. 

You can do this every few days or be ultra-organised and write out a whole Christmas meal plan in one go. Try thinking about healthy alternatives to classic dishes and including healthy ingredients on your shopping list. 

3. Keep moving

Christmas is a great chance to unwind, but you’re not going to do it through food, family, and forgettable pressies alone.

Exercise is great for shedding some excess weight, but it’s also a way to destress at a hectic time of year. By staying active and squeezing plenty of exercise in alongside the festivities, you’ll find yourself with extra energy and less stress.

4. Mindful indulgence

When was the last time you stopped to really savour the taste of that morning cup of coffee or the first bite of that lovingly prepared evening meal? Life moves fast, and we’re always thinking about the next thing on our to-do list. Christmas is a great chance to slow things down and enjoy every moment - which includes all that food and drink on offer.

So serve yourself up a portion and enjoy every last bite (or gulp). You’ve earned it.

5. Stay hydrated

Knowing that you need to stay hydrated is one thing. Actually doing it is another thing entirely. But don’t feel bad about it - we’ve all neglected water one day and heard all about it from our body the next.

Drinking plenty of water helps your body in so many ways, but we’re most interested in the digestion and energy benefits it brings over Christmas. That’s extra important when we’re consuming more salt, sugar, and alcohol than normal. If you often forget to stay hydrated, try keeping a water bottle in your sight as a visual reminder to drink more. 

The numan take

You can still enjoy the festive period without throwing your health goals out of the window. As with anything in life, it’s all about finding the right balance. Make a plan in advance, stick to your healthy habits, and you’ll be able to enjoy Christmas without playing catch-up in January.