Tony Ferguson
Health Matters

Healthy lifestyle

Year-end Healthy Living Hurdles


As year-end approaches, there are two hurdles that have the potential to halt your Healthy Living Goals. Here’s how to jump them. 

Hurdle 1: The Year-end Rush

The daily tempo seems to ramp up into a frenzy towards year-end. Many companies are in the process of wrapping up important projects and planning for the year ahead; kids are writing exams; the university year draws to an end; festive shopping begins and holiday plans start to play a role in everyday conversation.

This year-end chaos can often lead to high levels of stress and leave us looking for quick and easy fast-food solutions to the “what’s for dinner” question. Not only do these foods throw our health goals off track but research shows that the hormone associated with stress, cortisol, may play a role in weight gain around the tummy area.

Jump it with Preparation – the key to avoiding takeaway temptations.
Find some recipes for easy-to-make meals that you can whip up quickly on a week night or make in bulk on the weekend and freeze in portion packs. Make sure you have healthy snack alternatives on hand at all times and keep healthy versions of sweets, like sugar-free jelly, made up in the fridge for your sweet tooth cravings.

Jump it with Relaxation – find ways to de-stress.
Talk a short walk in the evening to debrief after a long day, sign up for an art class, or take 15 minutes to meditate before bed. If none of these sound good to you, there are thousands of tips online for how to deal with stress, take some time to find a solution that works for you and plan to incorporate it into your routine.

Hurdle 2: The Year-end Function

A year-end function is a great time to get together with friends or colleagues and wind down after a busy year. Use these tips to help you avoid the classic traps and help you stick to your healthy living goals.

Jump it by hoping for the best, but planning for the worst.
It often happens that leading up to a party we feel motivated and think we’ll manage to stay strong in our goals but, once we arrive, and are surrounded by tasty treats our resolve goes out the window. Take a precautionary measure by having a small handful of nuts or another healthy snack option before you arrive. If you are not hungry, you are less likely to be tempted by unhealthy foods.

Jump it by choosing your alcoholic beverages wisely.
If you are planning to have an alcoholic beverage then avoid coolers and cocktails which contain a huge amount of sugar. Rather opt for a glass of wine, a glass of champagne ,or spirits either neat, on the rocks or with sugar-free mixers.

Jump it by fighting the feeding frenzy.
You might not have control over what’s on the menu but the great thing is that you do have control over your reaction to it. Make healthy food choices where you can. If you do have a “cheat” food, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’ve already ruined your eating plan and so you may as well continue to have unhealthy foods. There is a difference in the effects of eating one unhealthy food and eating five …

Lastly, don’t spend so much time worrying about your healthy living goals that you forget to enjoy yourself. Remember a healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body.