Keeping on track over Christmas

It’s been a busy 2015. We’ve covered a large range of men’s health topics over the year, via our website, this blog, our social media feeds on Twitter and Facebook as well as in the world outside. We’ve just had our third and final article in our series ‘What’s Wrong with Your Body’ published by AskMen.com; lots of food for thought there for men’s who are motivated to improve their health in their 20s, 30s and 40s. And we’ll look for even more opportunities to get our messages to men in the New Year.

As we’re closing in on Christmas, our thoughts have turned to how to keep healthy habits up over the break. Often, both men and women worry that they’ll break their good habits of healthy living during seasonal excess. If you and your family don’t celebrate Christmas for religious, cultural or other reasons, this may not apply…and in that case keep on eating right/hitting the gym/not smoking/generally being a healthy person (insert as appropriate!). But for guys who are concerned about the impact of 4,000 calories of Christmas dinner on their eating and exercise goals, we’ve got two pearls of wisdom for you.

First, don’t worry. Whether it’s Christmas, Eid al-Fitr, a Friday (or Monday, Thursday, or any other day), important occasions often present themselves as opportunities to eat more than we need to. Of course it’s fine to treat yourself on occasion and still keep broadly to your eating and/or exercise plan. In fact, without setting up rewards for yourself, you’re more likely to become demotivated in the long-term. That’s regardless of whether those rewards are culinary or otherwise.

Second, don’t stop. No, put down the third helping of turkey. We mean don’t stop working towards your health goals. If you have an exercise regime you want to maintain, then keep it up.  You may need to change the routine if you are away from home, but you’ll find it much easier in the New Year if you’ve kept up (even a lower level of) physical activity. That activity could be anything from walks with the family (aids digestion), to using a local leisure centre (it’ll probably be quieter between Christmas and New year anyway), or going for a brisk jog in the crisp December air.

It’s the same with goals like drinking less or eating better; there is no need to call a halt to your healthy striving. Sure, it’s fine to take a break and have a treat. But unless you’ve managed to grab the world’s biggest turkey, most of the leftovers will be gone by Boxing Day. You’ll feel mentally satisfied that you’re on track with your eating goals. Better yet, you’ll be able to quickly shut down any annoying conversations about New Year’s resolutions…because you’re already doing great.

Have a good holiday, and we’ll see you in 2016!