Do health specialists practice what they preach over the Christmas holiday? BMI Consultants share their best advice on how to keep your diet, exercise, mind and skin in check over the festive period.
Stick to a healthy diet
Mr Jonathan Ross, Consultant ophthalmic surgeon, BMI Kings Park Hospital, Stirling
“Christmas is undoubtedly a time for spoiling yourself, but to avoid the need for crash diets in January, I follow a simple rule.
"I never deny myself anything but before I eat anything unhealthy, I always eat a piece of fruit first. 50 per cent of the time that’s enough to stave off the craving for Christmas pudding."
Have a tech break
“My second piece of advice is about technology. I’m sure my family isn’t alone in its passion for technology. It’s difficult to get the kids away from the smartphones, and my wife and I are equally as reliant.
"I think it’s important for our mental health to ensure we switch off from the outside world and technology every now and then, and Christmas is the perfect opportunity.
"My family has a four day rule where there is no technology from Christmas Eve until 28th December. We play board games, do jigsaws and talk to each other. It’s amazing what a difference it makes.”
Mr John Malik, Consultant podiatric surgeon, BMI The Edgbaston Hospital, Birmingham
“I live on the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire and as a podiatric surgeon specialising in feet, I love to join people in a Boxing Day walk on the hills. It’s a great way to burn off a few calories after Christmas and get some fresh air.
"I always make sure I have the right footwear if I’m walking in the countryside. Walking boots are a better choice than shoes or wellies.
"If you’re less steady on your feet or it’s slippery underfoot, a walking stick or walking poles can help prevent a tumble. Enjoy your Boxing Day walk!”
Set realistic goals
Mr Richard Sinnerton, Consultant shoulder surgeon, BMI The Princess Margaret Hospital, Windsor
“You may have asked Santa for a new sports kit to inspire you to get rid of your dad-bod, or for something that will improve your golf handicap or tennis serve. My advice is to avoid trying them out over the Christmas period.
"Trying out your new swing-aid or serve with your new racquet in the living room will only bring the Christmas tree crashing down and get you tangled in the tinsel. It’s not a good idea to use those weights when you’re full of Christmas pudding.
"The best thing to do is treat yourself to an early Christmas present, start those activities now and then sit back and enjoy your well-earned break.”
Take care of your skin
Dr Anton Alexandroff, Consultant dermatologist, BMI The Manor Hospital, Bedford
“Moisturising soap substitutes are my friend in winter. The weather at this time of year is notoriously bad for causing dry skin, so ditch any soaps, shower gels and bubble baths as they can exacerbate skin cracking, and say hello to grease and moisturisers.
"Choose as greasy a moisturiser as you feel comfortable with – they range from light lotions to heavy-duty ammunition.
"I also try to avoid the extremes of cold, wind and heat that cause those red and flushed faces.”
If one of your New Year's resolutions is to adopt a healthier lifestyle, keep following our Health Matters section for more insights about how our Consultants stay healthy. You can also get a head-start with one of our Health Assessments.
To find out more call us on 0808 101 0337
or make an online enquiry.