Healthy Christmas A-Z Part 7

Almost there now so to speed up we’re going to get through the next letters much more quickly in this series of posts on how I’m going to cope with a healthy Christmas by using new tactics and tried and tested ones from years gone by.

O is for Oil

Remember this is about health and well being, this journey to a new healthy you is not just about losing weight. So why not ask Santa for some lovely oils…I have.

Body oils and massage oils to have a lovely pamper session at the hands of your loved one (you can return the favour). These will see you relaxing and taking time out of the chaos and panic and stress of the festive period. Mine isn’t that stressy or hectic to be honest but I’m not turning down a massage.

I love these burners from Scented Home. This one is available in a variety of wood finishes for just £12.95. They do have other types including ceramics starting at just a few pounds. Take a look at their website

Burning oils getting your home smelling beautiful can also be very therapeutic, remember that Aromatherapy trend that we had a few years back? Well it still stands, certain aromas have affects on our mood and behaviour so do some research find some that match the mood you want to create and let them work their magic on your phsycological state.

P is for Presents

Of course p is for presents, what else could it have been? I’ve mentioned this before but for anyone who hasn’t disclosed to the world that they are on a healthy eating plan (I know many reasons why keeping this under wraps is a good idea, especially in the early days) might need to fend off any gifted food items. As a teacher I get a lot of chocolates so I’ve been dropping them off at the women’s refuge shelter so they can be re-gifted to the ladies and kids there. I don’t feel bad about re-gifting gifts, I was grateful and I’m doubling the love by passing them to someone else who will be grateful. I can’t keep those things in my house, I just can’t.

If you are telling your family and friends about your efforts then do remind them not to tempt you, I have had family and friends in the past who thought it would be a nice treat to gift me a huge box of luxury chocs and who were upset when I was clearly not impressed – I did try to shield it but it’s not easy when you really want your efforts to be taken seriously.

Cute little natural food hamper
Cute little natural food hamper

I originally asked for no food gifts at all please but then had a change of heart and asked for a little hamper of healthy grazing foods to be put together which I believe my daughter has taken care of so I’m looking forward to see what is in that.  If you are going to food gift someone else who is on a healthy eating campaign you can do the same, put together a pretty hamper in a lovely basket with dried fruits (cranberries and apricots are like sweets for me and I munch on them if I get an attack of needing a sweet hit), nuts, yoghurt coated nuts and dried fruits (check this is zero fat yoghurt though), ryvita bites which are a substitute for crackers and crisps (chips), packets of seed mixes with dried fruit are also yummy and stick in a couple of granola bars and maybe some fresh fruit to finish it off. This can be a great gift for someone who can’t usually afford some of these little healthy food luxuries.

Another great gift, which I received for my birthday was a grow your own wheat grass kit (not very romantic) but what a fab gift it has been! It was wrapped and packaged beautifully too which helped.

For a friend of mine who is just embarking (about a month now) into a healthy lifestyle change I am putting together a box of lovely luxury fruit smoothies which are fat and additive free (natural sugars obviously) and cereal bars which I know are delicious and which are usually out of her budget at the moment as both her and her husband were made redundant recently. I hope they will help keep her feeling like she has had something delicious and which will keep her on the straight and narrow.

edible-gifts-flavored-salts-1212-xlnWhy not put together a gift of unusual spices or as in the picture here flavoured salts or even home made jams or a big jar of your home made granola? Food gifts can be healthy and can help you to share fab recipes with your friends who are trying healthy living out too.

Q is for Quinoa

I won’t go on about this too much as I have a great link for more information from The BBC‘s Good Food site. It is a grain but not a grain which is used as a substitute for wheat, cous cous and rice. The only problem I have with it, is that besides being very trendy at the moment and so I’m not sure it’s a fad, it has more than 4gms of fat per 100gms and I tend to ignore anything with a higher than 4gm per 100gms fat content other than when I’m having a treat or if it is part of my daily allowance of other foods stuffs (eg dairy). I try not to get too involved with carbs, they just don’t like me and make me bloat and make my weight loss ridiculously slow. I think I have a wheat allergy or even a carb allergy but quinoa doesn’t seem to affect me as proper grass grains do. So that is a plus.

If you are looking for something as a substitute for bread for instance to use as stuffing for your Christmas roasts you could use this as a substitute, it can also be used to form a bed for the post Christmas day turkey left over curry. It’s something I’m going to delve more into and try to use in different ways in the new year and so it deserved a place here… and it’s the only thing I could think of to use for Q.

R is for Running

I know a lot of obese people can not run, either it’s not good for their joints, it’s totally uncomfortable (I’ve been there) or it is just something they’ve never perfected as they’ve spent a life time of not really fancying running, things jiggling and flapping, fear of people laughing or whatever the reason. I’ve fallen into all of those categories myself BUT this time around I found that running kind of just happened. It was a natural progression from walking, walking fast, walking faster and I was away…

I started off running on a treadmill and then transferred that out into the fresh air with the odd little skip or burst while walking, I felt very self conscious at first and still do although it’s getting better and so I’d kind of encourage my son to make me chase him or to make it look like we were playing so that it didn’t look like fat bird running.

no-matter-how-slow-you-goI got some good support sports bras and also control pants and control leggings to run in and although I still don’t ‘go for a run’ I do include longer and longer spurts in my walks and if I find myself alone on the beach in the morning I will have a crafty jog and I also jog on my treadmill at home and now and then at the gym. Can I just say to any men reading that there doesn’t appear to be anything available in the way of support or control pants for you guys that can be comfy for doing sport in. If you have found something which helps minimise the wobble and flap (it’s not just aesthetics that are the problem with this it can cause chafing and be uncomfortable and off putting), then please share. Otherwise, I have a friend who I’ve met through my trainer who is a big guy who has this problem when running and I advised him to buy some women’s control leggings which he has done and wears under his sweats and now finds running much more comfortable. Another thing I guess you could do is wear a tight fitting base layer, they are usually very stretchy yet close fitting so might do a good job of keeping things in place. Maybe stick a set on the Christmas list if it’s not too late.

I’m making this Christmas the first time I go for a run, where I will get to my starting point walking and I will run to a designated end point, probably a portion of the beach, far away from the promenade so no one can see me. I’ve enlisted the kids and Nick to do it with me and we’ve agreed to do it about an hour after Christmas Day breakfast no matter what the weather.

I really want to push myself and do something I never thought I could do. I don’t want to become a runner, I worry about my knees too much, but I felt that if I did something like this at Christmas it will definitely give me a sense of achievement, it will really show me how far I have come in terms of developing my fitness and all of those feel good factors will really help me avoid the food temptations.

I’m quite good at avoiding temptation but Christmas just has so many ingrained food associated memories and triggers that I know it is difficult and I have to call on every big gun I can find to combat the urges that are a part of who I am now.

So why not set yourself a special challenge for Christmas to remind you of how far you’ve come, to get a starting point picture if you’re about to embark on a new healthy you in the near future, or to just help you through maybe this first Christmas as the new you.

Next Christmas I’m hoping to go for a run on the street in public and not give a damn what people think, that will be a real challenge and achievement but I’m using this Christmas as my starting point.

Next post will take us from S to V and then we’re in the home straight!