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Keeping Christmas in perspective

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About three weeks ago, a shop assistant in my local supermarket asked a customer near to me “So, are you all ready for Christmas then?”

My ears pricked up in shock. My instant reaction was “what?!” This was early November. It triggered a line of thought about how we treat the period surrounding Christmas. One can get drawn into buying too many presents, for too many people, even earlier in the year, start eating mince pies, marzipan treats and mulled wine weeks before Christmas. I don’t practise a religion, so I am not going to talk about how we should respect the true meaning of Christmas, but I think we could keep it in perspective, by remembering that it’s one day, around which most of us get to take time off work and spend it happily with family and friends.

We could all do with avoiding over indulgence on the food and drink front, especially when it seems to last for weeks. Sustained over eating and drinking could negate all the hard work one has done over previous months in controlling body weight. Lack of exercise over a number of weeks due to Christmas shopping, work socialising and nights out, will take its toll.

Attempt to stay mainly on track with usual healthy routines and plan ahead for occasions when over indulgence with rich foods and alcohol is likely. Compensate for these events with moderation or restriction earlier in the day or week. I find the best way to avoid being tempted, when food shopping, is the old trick of not going down the aisle that is filled with the stuff we should avoid: all that glittery, gold packaging. I’m not such a kill-joy as to advocate no Christmas treats, as I do love Christmas cake, pudding and mince pies as much as the next person, but I am saying, once again stealing Ali G’s line, ‘keep it real!’

Christmas holidays may not necessarily mean that exercise takes a back seat. Take advantage of any free time to walk more, even, or especially when your family and friends are visiting. If you have your children with you, aim to get outside with them for cycle riding, or park visits. The days off work during Christmas are an ideal time to increase the frequency of exercise bouts and can be a welcome breath of fresh air.

It is still November. Christmas is a whole month away. Rather than putting so much focus on a single day in the future, enjoy what life brings today.

P.S. Pass the brandy butter ! Lisa :)

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