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How to stay Healthy and Sane over Christmas

Christmas brings with it a lot of socialising and parties that are nearly always centered around food. Whether its work end-of-year parties, get together with friends or the family Christmas lunch, these events usually consist of lots of food and typically foods that are higher in calories, fat and refined sugars. This can cause some discomfort for people who, in their eyes, have been trying to be 'good'. Here is some advice to help you relax and enjoy your Christmas.

1. Don't go to the event hungry

Before you leave home to go to that party have a healthy snack. When you're hungry, you're more likely to make poor food choices and you're more likely to over eat. Remember your hunger scale. If you were to rate your hunger from 1 to 10 you should always be in the middle. Eating to the point of satisfaction (not fullness!), and not going beyond those initial signs of hunger (so not starving!)

2. Don't eat for the sake of eating

When it comes to all of these delicious foods in front of you, choose the ones that you love. There's no point in eating high calorie, high fat foods if you don't care for them. Try to sit away from the food as it can be very tempting to just keep grazing on what's right in front of you. Keep in tune to your hunger signals. When you're keeping your mind and body connected you make better and more mindful choices.

3. Be wise with alcohol

Alcohol and Christmas just seem to go together in Australian culture. This can be a problem. Hospitals see a spike of alcohol related injuries over the Christmas to New Year period. Current guidelines are no more than 4 standard drinks a day for both men and women – but with no more than 10 standard drinks per week. Let's be wise when it comes to alcohol. Know your limit and have a safe and happy Christmas.

4. Stay active

Staying active can look different to each individual. For some people it can be keeping up with their usual exercise routine, while for others it can be playing more backyard cricket with the family. You may also enjoy this time of year to do some extra hiking, bushwalk or swimming. Whatever it is for you, keeping active during this time can help keeping your mind clear and keep

some normality to your routine.

5. Accept that indulgence is OK

Being healthy and eating healthy doesn't mean you need to deprive yourself of the foods you love. A healthy diet has room for that delicious treat! If you do find that you over-indulge, accept it and move on without judgement. The worst thing you can do is restrict yourself the following days as that can lead to a cycle of over-eating followed by restriction, which can play havoc on your metabolism and long-term health goals.

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