Christmas is without a doubt my favourite time of year.  Even if you are a bit of Grinch, you will probably have your routine go a bit out of whack, food spectacular and then somehow end up at New Years day full of resolutions to ‘improve your health’, or freak out that you put on 5 kg in 2 weeks.

Is it possible to enjoy the festive season without obsessing about food, stay healthy but actually enjoy a bit chocolate? YES

Here are my 5 top tips for surviving the festive season without the New Years Day remorse


  1. Mindful Eating

The biggest problem during the holiday season generally isn’t the lack of exercise, but the crazy volumes of food that we inhale.  There is so much ‘mindless’ eating, just eating it because it is there, or to be polite (great Aunt Thelma made her special pudding) and we eat and eat and eat…. probably enjoy a few drinks too.


The good news is.  You can have Christmas Pudding, you can enjoy some wine, you can eat the ham… IF.. you feel like it?


So whenever you go to grab something to eat.  Just ask yourself ‘I can have it if I want it, BUT do I really feel like it?’  Maybe you do – GREAT! But maybe you are actually full, maybe you feel like something salty not sweet, maybe you are just thirsty.  Take this moment to really tune into your body.


Your body is talking to you all the time, so we do need to continue or start to listen to it through the Christmas Carols too.


  1. Recognise Mindless Eating

Have you ever caught yourself just chowing down on a bowl of chips just because they are there? This is mindless eating or even non-hungry eating.  We have all experienced this in some level, right!  So how do you best manage this?


  1. Move away from the food table or chip bowl. Take your conversation outside or to a different spot, so it’s not just sitting there right under your nose
  2. If you are going to eat, take the time to savor and enjoy it. Especially if it’s something you don’t have very often.
  3. Eat slowly. It actually takes your body around 20mins to recognize when it is full, so it is easy to over eat and have that bursting full tummy when we are eating a lot, really quickly.  If you are contemplating going back for seconds, just wait another 5 or 10min to see if you actually have room.


  1. Plan your training like an Athlete

Athletes cycle their training days and programs.  They have easy, moderate & hard training days across the week, but they also cycle their weeks for Easy, Moderate or Hard training.  If you know you are going to be away or your have visitors staying and you know that you wont be able to easily do all those regular fitness activities you enjoy, you simply make that week as your ‘Easy’ training week.  So in the weeks leading up to this, and you have the time, you can focus on ‘Hard’ or ‘Moderate’ training levels weeks.



‘Easy’ Weeks are the best time to focus on movement, which can normally be quite easy to do, especially when you are on holidays.  This can include walking more, catching the bus, hiring sports equipment, playing beach cricket, shopping till you drop etc.  You may not have a dedicate 30min training session, but the hours across the day of keeping your body mobile will add up.


  1. Start of new Tradition or Ritual

Create a new annual tradition that focuses on being active as a family.  This could be any day (pick a big one) like every Chrismtas Eve/Day/Boxing Day/New Years you do a particular bush walk, have a family touch tournament, build something together or swim at that special lake.  This could be a great way to kick start your bodies again and enjoy the endorphin burst together.


  1. Give the Gift of Movement

I remember one spectacular Christmas as a teenager, I brought my entire family water pistols for Christmas.  Big ones too!  We had the such a fun afternoon chasing each other, screaming and incidentally moving!  Ok, so we were in NZ and didn’t have any water restrictions, but what gifts could you give your family or friends that encourage everyone to move.  Something you could use on the day and hopefully beyond?  Im thinking balls, cricket sets, fitness watches, active wear, music (get dancing), pool noodles, bikes,
walking shoes… I would love to hear yours!!


Enjoy this holiday season & Have fun with your family


Philippa Bowman

Pre/Postnatal Fitness Expert & Founder of Nurtured Fitness