5 tips to stay healthy this silly season
It’s almost Christmas and not too much longer until we welcome the New Year! It’s an exciting time of the year when we are busy partying but many of us end up putting on extra weight and having to work harder in the New Year to get rid of what we have gained…Yep, we all want to enjoy life, catching up with friends and getting together with families & relatives but there is a way to do this in a healthy way. I’m not going to mention super obvious things like watch your alcohol intake, don’t go overboard with cakes and sweets or eat more vegetables. Just wanted to share some wisdom from Ayurveda (the ancient healing system from India and sister science to yoga), mindfulness and my home country Japan where the average life expectancy is the longest in the world. Here are 5 simple tips for anyone wanting to have a healthier festive season this year.
1.Have a light diner
(And make your lunch main meal of the day)
Midday is when our digestive fire (known as Agni in Ayurveda) is the strongest so it’s considered the best time to have your main meal. This is a challenge for many (including myself) as diner is often the only time we can sit down together as a family. But do you remember a day when you had a big dinner (especially late dinner!) and not sleeping well that night (because your digestive system is working hard to break down the food) and waking up heavy the next day? Oh this is the worst feeling! I LOVE the feeling when I wake up light in the morning. If this is tricky to implement daily, you can start with weekends and holiday is definitely a good time to give this a go as you have your family members with you all day!
2. Don’t eat when you’re not hungry
This may sound obvious but how many of us end up snacking all day long? Or you may be eating your emotions, always turning to food when you are feeling emotional. Eating when not hungry overloads your digestive system and messes up your natural appetite.
3. Practice hara hachi bu
(Japanese word meaning eat to 80% full)
This is the saying any Japanese person is familiar with. Hara means stomach, hachi bu means 80% and it’s encouraging us not to overeat and always leave some room in our stomach. Okinawans (people who live in the southern state of Japan called Okinawa) have the world’s highest proportions of centenarians, and they seem to be good practitioners of this principle. Eating only until you are 80% full allows you to digest food efficiently and doesn’t put unnecessary strain on your digestive system.
4. Practice mindful eating
Take your mindfulness practice to the dining table! Use your senses when you eat. Take time to look at your plate and observe the colours and shapes of each ingredient. Take a moment to tune into the sense of smell and soak up the beautiful aroma of your meal. Chew your food well and enjoy the texture and different flavours. This has always helped me not to overeat.
5. Get moving
Right after meal isn’t the best time to practice yoga, but we don’t want to be hitting the couch especially right after dinner. How about going for a walk? Upright position aid digestion and it will help you lower the blood sugar level too. My favourite time to practice yoga by the way is before breakfast. Wake up light, stretch out a bit and meditate, what a great way to start a day! It may not be possible to do this everyday especially if you have a little one to care for but try and find the time that works for you (maybe your bub’s nap time) and do it often. Little bit of yoga is totally better than nothing!
Hope this will help you have a healthier Christmas & New Year. Thank you for your ongoing support this year and I wish you have a lovely Christmas and great start to the new year!
Chika is a yoga & mindfulness teacher and Ayurveda practitioner. She is an ocean lover and mum of a toddler. She loves plant-based cooking, travelling and learning about other cultures. She runs an online eco shop to promote sustainable living for the health of our beautiful planet. She wants to make the world a better place to live for our children and loves to inspire you to make healthier choices not only for us but also for Mother Earth. Her passion is to inspire mums to take control of their health by making self-care their priority. She is available for small group classes and private sessions on the Central Coast NSW.