Festive survival guide

date 22/12/2018

In the run up to the festive period it can be easy to feel a rise in stress levels, over indulge in treat foods we wouldn’t normally reach for and gain a wee bit more weight than we’d like. Read my practical steps below in the festive survival guide on how to offset these seasonal shifts and enjoy the festive period so that when January swings around you hit the ground running, ready for a new year.

  1. Stay hydrated – aim for at least 2 litres of water each day. Water helps to flush out the cells keeping toxins moving through the digestive system easier. Herbal teas can also be helpful as they contribute towards your fluid intake. Teas like peppermint, fennel and camomile are all great at this time of year to help achieve the rest and digest state required for optimal wellness.
     
  2. Go for a walk or do some squats after eating a big meal- The larger muscles of the human body such as the glutes and thighs have the ability to store excess glucose in the form of glycogen. This process can help to normalise blood sugar levels after a big meal.
     
  3. Keep to the same sleep cycle – I know, I know you’re on holiday and want to stay up late and sleep in longer but I know this from personal experience that if I don’t get at least 7.5 hours of sleep I will eat carb laden foods the next day. The reason being is sleep is one of the vital components to keeping blood sugar levels under control. Let your blood sugar levels go wild and you will need to eat more carbs to keep going which leads to weight gain and shuts down the body’s ability to burn fat.
     
  4. Make your own treats – If you like to bake or have little ones (or bigger ones) that need entertained over the holiday period then try making your own festive treats. That way you can control the ingredients and most importantly control the amount of sugar in the recipe. Why not try my Gingerbread cookie recipe
     
  5. Avoid eat carbs on their own – Eating a carbohydrate of any form on its own will quickly spike your blood sugar levels, shut down your body’s fat burning ability and then lead to weight gain as the excess glucose is dumped as fat around your middle. To temper down the release of glucose eat a form of fat with the carbohydrate. This doesn’t mean you can have copious amounts of cheese on toast but it does mean a snack could be something like..
  • Chopped carrots and humus
  • Oat cakes and small amount of cheese
  • Good quality dark chocolate with handful of nuts
  • Roasted veggies cooked in olive oil or coconut oil
  1. Try not to skip breakfast – Skipping breaky is a sure-fire way of starting out your day with out of control blood sugar levels. By mid-morning you will be very hungry and will more likely reach for less nutritious foods or processed carbs like cakes, biscuits and sweets. Instead you could have something like porridge with nuts and seeds, chopped fruit and a nut butter. Aim to have protein with your breakfast and you’re onto a winner until lunchtime.
     
  2. Time restricted eating - according to Professor Satchin Panda an expert in the field of circadian rhythm, the benefits of time restricted eating are far reaching in terms of achieving optimal wellness. Listen to him talk to Dr Chatterjee on this recent podcast It’s a simple technique that is relatively easy for most of us to implement into our life.
     
  3. Don’t eat before bed – inline with the time restricted eating approach it’s good practice to try to have your last meal early in the evening, if possible. Obviously, we lead busy lives and having your evening meal at 5 or 6pm isn’t always feasible. If you do need to eat later in the evening have something that won’t impact your blood sugar levels too drastically like a light snack of soup, roasted veggies or chopped veggies and hummus. Protein has little impact on blood sugar levels and fat has zero impact therefore, if you can combine a source of protein and fat then you won’t be searching for sugary snacks half an hour later because your blood sugar levels have plummeted.
     
  4. Apple cider vinegar– a simple drink to have before you eat a heavy meal is a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar dissolved in some warm water. You will want the Apple Cider Vinegar that comes with the “mother” like Braggs for example. This helps to get your digestion working and produces the acid vital for breaking down food. Sufferers of indigestion or acid reflux can get improvements with this simple addition to their routine.
     
  5. Alcohol – this one won’t go down well with most folk but here goes! Alcohol is essentially empty calories. It has zero health benefits and adds nothing to the human body but rather depletes it of vital nutrients. There is however, research to show that small amounts of red wine may be protective. If you enjoy a wee tipple, can you swap to something that has less impact on your blood sugar levels like; vodka, soda and lime or gin and tonic? Swapping out fizzy mixers for soda water or tonic water is great way to mitigate the potential impact of a blood sugar crash the next day.

Lastly, enjoy your food! Allow yourself to have a blow out then use the tips above to reset your body back to normality.

Why not treat yourself to the gift of living well and come along to one of my workshops in January to find out how to give up sugar and lose weight quickly, perfect timing for helping to achieve any new year’s resolutions. Find out more here

 

 

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