Christmas is the time of year that we all look forward to with somewhat mixed feelings: it’s basically a brilliant and apparently legitimate excuse to indulge, or – if we’re being frank – overindulge. And overindulge we do! With such hectic lives we all deserve time off for good behaviour, right? Except it inevitably leads to us feeling sluggish and uncomfortable, and quite probably gaining a few unwanted pounds too. So can we beat the Christmas bloat, without sacrificing our favourite yuletide treats? With a little mindfulness and a few tweaks, it can be done.
I’ve teamed up with BioCare to bring you some top tips to help you enjoy your Christmas, minus the guilt of gluttony!
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Why Do We Do It To Ourselves?!
The biggest problem is that the festivities are being stretched out every year, the season creeping into November – and even October. Instead of eating badly for just a day or two, we’re normalising unwise choices for weeks on end, and the reality is that vey few of us have the kind of iron will required to resist the decadent offerings.
Consider this: the average person will consume nearly 6000 calories on December 25th. That’s nearly three times the calories recommended for women. Eek!
The specific cause of the discomfort is increased pressure in the abdomen, causing excess gas and heartburn. In order to adequately digest our food, we rely on a healthy balance of stomach acid and enzymes which break down the components of our food, allowing them to pass through our stomach to be expelled. When we overindulge in the luxury food items we associate with Christmas, we’re really ramping up the work for our stomachs and putting huge expectations on them that they’re not really designed to cope with. Gluten, dairy, trans fats, and sugar are all culprits – and, of course, precisely the ingredients that make up the bulk of those indulgent festive treats.
How to Beat the Christmas Bloat – and Still Enjoy the Treats On Offer!
Clearly when we take leave of the office and our senses when we wrap up at work and head home for the holidays. Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way. BioCare Clinical Nutritionist Beth Morris has this recommendation for beating the Christmas bloat:
“I’d also suggest taking a supplement to take the load of your digestive system and increase your digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes help us break down sugars, carbohydrates, proteins and fats in foods. Look for a supplement that contains a broad spectrum of these enzymes to aid digestion and relieve symptoms such as acid reflux and bloating. BioCare’s Polyzyme Forte® (Enzyme Complex) is a staple for me this time of year.”
Here are some more top tips for staying comfortable over Christmas and heading into 2019 with the healthiest start:
Try not to go too crazy – exercise a little self-restraint and stick to healthy food for the majority of meals. Fill up on quality veg, proteins and healthy fats, and then you won’t feel so sinful – or regretful! – if you treat yourself at one meal.
2. Have a Healthy Attitude Generally
If you stick to a healthy diet throughout the rest of the year, then overindulging for a week is a lot more acceptable.
The best way to help your gut break down your food is to take some exercise. You may feel sluggish and lethargic after eating to excess, but taking a brisk walk will really improve your rate of digestion and blow away the cobwebs.
4. Practise Mindfulness
Relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation can help beat stress and promote better sleep. Improved wellbeing is essential for your overall health.
5. Consider Taking a Probiotic
Taking a good quality probiotic supplement, such as BioCare’s Everyday BioAcidophilus may help regulate digestion and support good gut bacteria.
6. Return to Healthier Habits
Once the festive period has passed, it’s critical to get back to your old routine to avoid finding yourself in an unhealthy rut. A break from being strict with your diet is fine occasionally and may even spur you on during your stricter phases, but it’s really important that those periods of being more lax don’t creep into being the norm!
7. Enjoy It!
Finally, if you’re going to do it – and let’s face it, we all are – then enjoy every moment! There’s absolutely no point in spoiling yourself if you’re plagued with guilt. So take a responsible approach and be mindful – appreciate every tasty morsel, knowing that in few days time you’ll be returning to your sensible lifestyle. Until next year!
This is a commissioned post.