There is always pressure at this time of the year to socialise, eat, drink and be merry. Everyone has social engagements, shopping days and eating on the run, so it can be difficult to manage your diet and prioritise yourself. The days are darker and shorter and for a lot of people, me included, the mood is lower, energy levels are reduced and its harder to eat healthily and the urge to ‘treat’ yourself and eat badly is much higher.

About to tuck in to a healthy meal
About to tuck in to a healthy meal

Here are 8 tips to help you get through the Festive season without ending up gaining a dress size and - more importantly - feeling awful, dreading January and setting unattainable goals such as: “I am going to go the gym every day, give up all carbohydrates and lose 12lbs in four weeks.” (I am a big believer in January being a month of doing positive things instead of depriving yourself, but that’s for another day.) 

1. Put Some Calories In The Bank: Pick five or six events where you want to eat and drink guilt-free but try to keep to a healthy eating plan for the rest of the time. In the days leading up to an event, eat a little more selectively so you have a “bank” of calories you can use when you go out.

2. Stock up on the truly good stuff:  Make sure your fridge is stocked and full of healthy ingredients. That way you can avoid the urge to order in and will be able to quickly prepare something healthy. It’s a good idea to have a few healthy home-cooked meals in the freezer.

3. Drink, drink, drink! : No, not what you’re hoping for… Drink 2 to 3 litres of water per day. Also, drinking lots of fresh ginger tea can really help to stop you feeling bloated and aid with your digestion. (see a quick and easy recipe below)

4. Step by step, that’s the way: Stick to a good exercise regime even if it means you just walk a little faster and a little more by getting off a few stops earlier to keep your activity levels up. Remember… ’every little helps’.

5. Just Say No: Say no if you feel you’ve had enough and are being put under pressure to either eat or drink more than you want. We all suffer a bit from peer pressure. Family and friends want to be sociable but avoiding that extra glass of wine or mince pie can make a difference to how you feel.

6. Pick your favourites: Avoid the endless, virtually automated chomping on the chocolates that seem to be everywhere around this season. If you want a few chocolates pick out two you like, enjoy them and then stop.


7. Focus on the joy of good food: Try to remember how lovely it feels to be really hungry for a meal and use that to help you resist eating mindlessly – focusing on the pleasure of a good meal will ensure that youreally enjoy your food.

santa suffering from a hangover
Plan for the ‘morning after'

8. Plan for a happy ‘morning after’: Plan for a few events at which you want to drink alcohol, and stick to those. Then you can enjoy them and not end up feeling over-tired or excessively hungover the next day..

Let’s face it, its amazing to enjoy good food with good people,, and eating together is certainly something we should celebrate. But,  take responsibility for yourself and realise that if you celebrate (read ‘eat and drink’) non-stop till January 1st it may take you three months or more to fix the fallout!

Recipe for Fresh Ginger Tea

Buy a big bulb of fresh ginger. Break off a chunk. Peel and chop then put into a pot of cold water. Boil and simmer for ten minutes and drink. If you make it very strong you can half fill a mug and top up with boiling water. You can make a large amount and store for a few days. Ginger tea is great for aiding digestion and easing bloating. Add a little honey or a squeeze of lemon for variation.

More information visit or follow Dan on Instagram @dd_health_fitness