Tis the season to be jolly…and very, very tempted!

At this time of year, it’s really easy to take a backward step with our health goals with too many temptations on offer. In fact, a study of adults over a two-week Christmas period found they gained an average of 2.2 lbs (1 kg).1

So why is it so hard to resist the temptation of chocolates, multiple helpings of Christmas dinner, puddings galore and of course the extra alcohol at all those parties? Ultimately, we have limited willpower, and Christmas can put even the strongest of willpowers to the test!

So what can we do to prepare for the festive period to stay healthy and keep our goals on track? 

Stay hydrated

A simple habit of drinking water before each meal helps us feel fuller, so we naturally eat less.2 It will also aid faster recover from all that extra alcohol you’re likely to be drinking; even moderate levels of alcohol cause dehydration, so ensure you drink plenty of water to combat this.

Find a Christmas Elf to keep you on track

If you buddy up with someone, you might find it easier to stay on track. Research has shown that when embarking on a fitness or healthy eating regimen, participants were more successful at reaching their goal.3 In order for this to be more successful, you’ll need to find someone who has similar goals, obstacles and the willingness to commit. 

Use smaller plates

A great little tip to trick your brain into eating smaller portions is by using smaller plates. An experiment conducted at Cornell University found that opting for a 10 inch plate instead of 12 inch resulted in a 22% decrease in consumption of calories.4 That means you could save around 468 calories on Christmas dinner alone, as it’s estimated that we consume 2,128 calories just on our Christmas roast, never mind all the smoked salmon starters, Christmas pudding, mince pies and alcohol!5  

Stay active

Why not make the most of all that free time and plan in festive walks with family and friends. Walking will not only help you with burning off some extra calories, but getting out in the great outdoors has been found to help our mental health.6 If the weather is against you, fear not – there are plenty of exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home!

As an added bonus, some scientists think that being active can help your wellbeing, and it can bring on a sense of greater self-control7 – this could come in handy to stop yourself reaching for that second mince pie… 

Sleep well

It’s very easy to get into the habits of late nights; back-to-back Christmas movies, lots of partying… and don’t forget that drinking alcohol impacts the quality of our sleep.

We need plenty of good quality sleep to ensure our leptin levels are restored. Leptin is a hormone that’s involved in the regulation of appetite, metabolism and calorie burning.8 If we’re sleep deprived, leptin levels are low which makes our brain think there’s not enough energy for the day ahead. This can lead to eating unnecessary calories, as we tend to over compensate due to our brains telling us to eat lots and quickly so we have enough energy next time it’s needed.

If you follow these simple steps, you’ll be better able to keep your fitness goals on track and you’ll be raring to go for the New Year! Plus, these tips aren’t limited to Christmas time – you can lead a healthier lifestyle all year by sticking to these handy tricks.

To find out more about how our Good All Round cash plan can help you to look after your health and wellbeing all year long, visit sovereignhealthcare.co.uk/good-all-round

1 The Telegraph, 2 Life Hack, 3 Web MD, 4 James Clear, 5 Business Insider, 6 Mind, 7 NHS, 8 How Stuff Works

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