It's not just the punters who over indulge at Christmas – pub workers do too, so the Licensed Trade Charity (LTC) has put together some advice to help.
If it's been too many mince pies this December then you might be ready to shed some pounds this Jan. Here are a few very achievable goals you can make to cancel out the over-indulgence:
- Be active – burn off the extra calories you have taken on by gardening, dancing, or going for a walk. If you are popping to the local shop, think about walking there and back rather than automatically reaching for the car key.
- Track your exercise – free apps such as Runkeeper or MapMyRun can be used for walks, bike rides and more, and help you see how far you have gone and how fast – giving you a goal to beat for next time and added motivation.
- Serve your food in reverse. Most people start with the 'naughty' foods leaving little room for vegetables. But by dishing vegetables up first and ensuring they fill half of the plate, you can more easily control the amount of the less healthy items that accompany them.
- Count your chews! Chew every mouthful 20-30 times as this breaks the food down more allowing it to be more easily digested. It also slows you down so you realise you are full sooner, and not when it is all too late.
- Eat oily fish such as salmon and mackerel each week which can help prevent heart disease
But it isn't just overindulgence that has a negative effect on our wellbeing by the time January arrives. According to the Sleep Council, we lose over 30 hours of sleep over the festive period – that's the same as four nights of solid sleep – a considerable amount that can render you irritable and less effective at work. January is the perfect time to get back on an even keel by:
- Getting back into a regular routine before bed, and instead of 'cramming' sleep with one really early night, try to go to bed a little earlier each night to gradually restore your sleep reserves.
- Make your bedroom a technology-free zone. Don't watch tv in bed, or look at your phone or laptop – the brightly lit screens of phones and computers can decrease the amount of melatonin released at night to help you sleep.
- Aim to get seven to eight hours sleep every night
You might also be using this month to cut out, or at least down, on the booze - according to YouGov, nearly half of men and almost a third of women drink over the recommended daily allowance over Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, with an overall alcohol consumption increase of 41 per cent across December as a whole.
Here are some steps you can undertake to allow you to still enjoy your favourite tipple without giving it up completely. These include:
- Help your body clear out the alcohol by drinking plenty of water between alcoholic drinks, or alternate them with soft drinks. It is estimated that your body needs four-parts water to every one-part alcohol to remove it from your system.
- Drink slowly. This gives your body – and more importantly your liver – time to metabolise and flush the toxins from your body.
- Have at least two, and ideally more, alcohol-free days each week.
- Downsize your drinks - if you're a beer-drinker, make the units go further by drinking halves instead of pints. If you're a wine-drinker then opt for a smaller glass.
- Never drink on an empty stomach as this floods your body with alcohol and forces your liver to work too hard. Make sure that you eat carbohydrates and fats before drinking alcohol to line the stomach, prevent nausea, hangovers and to help avoid getting drunk. Food will also absorb some of the alcohol, thereby slowing its delivery into your blood stream.
The LTC can also help with more serious issues you might be dealing with this January and beyond, such as illness, coping with disability and substance dependency.
The charity has a free 24/7 helpline and website which advise on a variety of topics.