This is not so much about weight loss, more about reducing excessive overindulgent behaviour – from eating better, drinking less, moving more all the way to looking at gift giving. Essentially trimming the excess to expose a leaner and healthier way to get through this busy season.

For many of us the silly season starts early in December and doesn’t ease up until well after the New Year, making this time of the year quite taxing on our health, energy levels and bank balances. But without taking away all of the fun, here are some suggestions for finding a bit of balance this season.

1. Don’t forget your veges!

Just because it’s party time and there’s loads of delectable treats available doesn’t mean you need to fill up on them. Start off by filling at least half of your dinner plate with some form of vegetables – be they barbequed, fresh salads, raw crudités, roasted, lightly steamed or a mixture of all of the above. This is a ‘crowding out’ theory – more vege on your plate means less room for other foods – it also means that you will hopefully be less hungry come dessert time and maybe have a smaller serving – which is how treat food should be eaten. Extra tip – try not to smother those lovely greens in too much sauce, gravy or dressing.

2. Ease up on the booze.

Not only do we have stricter drink driving laws in New Zealand now, but of course too much alcohol is not good for our health, or occasionally, our social decorum. One tried and true method to reduce the speed at which we consume alcohol is to alternate every alcoholic beverage with a non-alcoholic one (water is my first recommendation). Other ideas include choosing low or even zero alcohol beer and wine; diluting your beverage with a bit of sparkling water or lemonade; making a kick-ass mocktail – my favourite is a virgin mojito – I make it low in sugar but with lots of muddled mint and fresh lime juice, yum! We really don’t recommend relying on red wine for your resveratrol intake – try our Res-V Ultimate instead, you’ll feel much better for it.

3. Keep moving.

If you’re lucky enough to be on a well-deserved holiday it doesn’t mean you have to stop absolutely everything. It might be nice to just rest for a few days, but this time of the year with the longer daylight hours and warmer weather is perfect for increasing your exercise, and there’s really no excuse not to keep moving, you have more time than usual for a meander down to the beach, maybe even a quick swim if the water’s warm enough. Make movement a natural part of your day, including a slow walk after Christmas lunch, your digestive system will thank you for it. There’s no excuse either if you’re still at work; pack a pair of comfy shoes and walk somewhere nice for lunch – or just take a 10 minute mini-break to get some fresh air, sunshine and movement – if management look at you sideways tell them you’re increasing your productivity (true story).

4. Be more mindful.

This is a big concept – one that we can apply when we’re navigating crazy traffic, possessed Christmas shoppers and even what we spend our money on for Christmas gifts. In our very commercially driven modern world it is easy to get caught up in buying excessive or expensive gifts, which in some ways is really lovely, but is that what this season is all about? There are many of us that really do not need much, so perhaps time is a better investment rather than gifts. Then there are people who have very little – could you perhaps extend some gifts or donate some time to those more in need, such as your local City Mission, Women’s Refuge, children’s hospital or any of a number of organisations here in New Zealand. Also, there is the opportunity to support local and small businesses by buying your gifts somewhere other than the big chain stores, we have some great products and services available if you take the time to look.

5. Keep calm.

This really can be a very stressful time of the year when for all accounts it should be about celebrating our achievements and spending time with the people we care about. Try not to get too caught up in the stress and struggle of it all – for more tips on this point you can read our article ‘Manage Stress and Sail Through the Silly Season Feeling Great’.

We are very lucky to have the Christmas and New Year period during summer here in New Zealand, making it much easier to choose healthier alternatives, to trim some of the fat so to speak – so make the most of your holidays and the warm weather by having a great time AND looking after yourself.

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