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A healthy hedonist's guide to the holiday season

· Health and fitness

I’m very much of the opinion that even though we can’t do everything, we can definitely try (and have a lot of fun in the process). Depriving our souls of what they crave this time of year will only lead to them lashing out at us in the form of unhappiness and who wants that?

My top tips for tackling the winter months without feeling completely disappointed and having to start from square one again when it’s all over aren’t your usual. Just to warn you, it’s hard work. But it’s totally worth it...

  • Accept the fact that you’re going to be doing less exercise.

This is a mental one. Instead of going from however many sessions you normally do every week all the way down to zero, go for n-1, or 2 (where n is your normal number of sessions). If you’re anything like me, your mentality for most things is very much “all or nothing”, but this isn’t wise now. Accept that some damage will be made, but be in control of it. If you want to be having fun you are going to sacrifice some of your hard work, but its losing control that will make it far more difficult to bounce back later.

  • Choose your battles

Nights out and events are so frequent, we must choose our battles wisely. That doesn’t mean saying no to any of them, it means flexing that restraint muscle every now and then and stopping after the first or second G&T. Pick one or two events per week that you’re going to let loose at, and remember those when you say no to another drink on the other nights.

  • The best hangover cure: a spin class.

Don’t believe me? TRY IT. It’s the only class that works, anything else requires far too much mental and physical effort. Hear me out, all you have to do is sit on a bike and pedal. Even if your resistance isn’t as high as it should be or you’re not quite going as fast as the instructor is telling you to, you’re still doing something. You can lose yourself in the music, you don’t have to think about anything and you’re spending 45 minutes in the dark sweating out the night before. You’re welcome.

  • Don’t do it alone

Find a friend or colleague who has a similar goal and set yourself this challenge with them. Report back to one another every now and then, drag them to the occasional class with you, say no to the occasional drink on the same nights. It’s far easier to stay on track when you have someone else that’s counting on you to do it too.

  • Cheat on the office cakes and chocolates

I think this is the hardest one, what on earth do we do about the fact that there is cake and chocolate everywhere we look at work, every single day?! We cheat on it, that’s what we do. Bring grapes to work, or carrot sticks with hummus, or dates or berries... Bring some snacks with you that you can look forward to eating and use that as a shield against the junk that 9 times out of 10 we don’t even really want- it’s just there. Sure, when someone brings in your FAVE chocolate chip

cookies, have one! But don’t get drawn in my the pretty average cake that your colleague made just because it’s there.

Remember, this time of year is supposed to be fun! If we can indulge but stay in control, we are golden. The key is to be mindful of what we’re eating and drinking, how much we’re sleeping and whether or not we’re still doing a small amount of exercise. It’s very easy to just switch off and have a massive 6 week party, but we’ve all done that and we all know that coming out of it isn’t much fun at all.

Have fun but stay strong, you’re definitely not fighting alone. Tara x

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