Eat, drink and be merry!

by | Dec 23, 2016

There is lots of advice kicking around on how to take things easy over the festive season. Articles in magazines, online, on the radio/TV… suggestions of how to prepare Christmas food in line with a particularly healthy diet – no honey smothered on your ‘pigs in blankets’ or heaven forbid, avoid the roast tatties?! I say a great big bah humbug to all of this! I say eat, drink and be very merry!

Part of the reason we have such an issue with the ‘yo yo’ diet scenario is because people punish themselves by launching into faddy diets where certain foods are denied or arguably worse, calories are severely restricted. It’s never sustainable and it’s also a downright misery. Sitting next to somebody who is refusing the tastiest parts of a beautifully prepared Christmas dinner because they are “watching their waistline” is akin to dining next to the Grinch! Awful! It doesn’t encourage good cheer and it makes the rest of the diners feel guilty for popping an extra bit of stuffing onto their plates. Unless people have specific dietary requirements for health reasons, this family occasion is the time we should loosen our belts and just enjoy! Pull the crackers, don the party hats and sip on the bubbly whilst sampling whatever tasty delights come our way.

The same applies to exercise. I can guarantee that a whole raft of people will leap into action in January, jump right onto a Spin bike (only to collapse in a pool of sweat), decide this is the year they tackle a full marathon when in fact the last time they ran a mile was 1989, or book into a crazy regime of classes/gym sessions only to slide out again tail between their legs, mid-February. I’ve seen it happen repeatedly, it’s an annual phenomenon. It’s a shame. The intentions are entirely honourable but if the actions are too extreme, it’s often not workable.

I’m 47yrs old. I’ve seen many videos recently of people in their 80s and 90s enjoying amazing exercise – twice my age!! I work with one incredible class of women aged 65 – 80 who make steady progress with strength, fitness and balance. It’s inspirational. However, it’s not extreme. It’s a steady and manageable path to being able to maintain a healthy body and mind. It shouldn’t hurt too much, it shouldn’t be a dreaded chore, it needn’t involve us missing out on the fun times or denying ourselves things we enjoy. Life is to be lived and lived well.

So, the advice from your slightly unconventional PT at this time of year is to live it up! Take a few days just to love the company you find yourselves in. If you feel like a stuffed pumpkin, take a walk before you return to the cheese board. If the mood takes you, it is a lovely time to think about how you might tackle the year ahead with regard to your health, but that should not involve a sense of fear or dread. Everything is possible by taking small steps and if it is to be long term, trust me, small steps will lead you on a more sustainable and definitely a more enjoyable path.

All the very best to you for a wonderful festive season – now go on… eat, drink and be merry!