Worked hard to improve your health this year? Don’t let it be ‘undone’ this Christmas season…

Christmas is approaching and so are the many social functions, parties and ‘gatherings’ that we enjoy after a year of toil. While it is great to unwind and enjoy this time of the year, start thinking about how you want to feel in 2013 now and make some wise choices now to ensure that your health remains a priority.

A good place to start may be reviewing what you have managed to achieve this year in relation to your health. Maybe you have managed to exercise consistently for the first time or have even increased the number of exercise sessions that you have completed each week for the year. Why not aim to keep this momentum going in between festivities?

Invariably you will have some time away from work or your regular routine during December/January. Think about some alternative exercise options available to you to ensure you still maintain your weekly exercise quota.

Dedicate some of your holiday time to planning for your health in the new year – what changes can you make to your routine, support structures or other areas of your life to improve your exercise outcomes? Remember the abundance of evidence to support regular exercise and make it a priority for long term benefits.

Then comes those office drinks functions. You will read the idealistic suggestions of packing your own healthy snack but hungry or not, stand up for yourself and be picky – you are better than the refried meatballs and cold spring rolls! Just because they come around on a plate with a gorgeous waitress it is ok to say ‘no thanks’! Reserve appetite for dinner at home once the function has finished. If you are eating out for dinner, keep it simple and  use normal portions.

Go easy on alcohol – set yourself a drinks budget and halve it. Leave no room for cheap champagne and save yourself some damage. In all seriousness, excess alcohol has a number of negatives health consequences and sets up bad habits. Keep filling up with water and save your drinks for just some occasions.

And finally be an ambassador for health this season – lead by example and help others to make healthy choices. Consider giving gifts for products and services that will improve the health of others rather than just more alcohol or high calorie gift hampers that they don’t need (the author is biased and derives financial benefit from selling health services!).

-Kristin Lewis


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