It's okay to struggle with maintaining your healthy lifestyle at Christmas
(Picture: Deidre Spain)

I am trying to live my best, healthy life.

I’m doing a kind of body transformation which pairs a pretty intense workout regime with a healthy macro-lead meal plan.

It’s all very manageable and feel-good. In fact, I’m sleeping better than ever and I’m stronger than I’ve ever been.

There’s only one problem: I’m absolutely bricking it about festive socialising.

When you’re on a serious diet, socialising can be stressful – particularly if you have quite poor self-image to begin with.

You want to succeed, to change your body, to look and feel better. And you know what drinking is not going to help you achieve any of those goals.

But not participating in any unhealthy activities – especially around Christmas – can leave you feeling like a social leper.

I’m fine when I’m at an event dominated by my own pals. I’m literally the best at drunk dancing sober and freely chatting crap to strangers when I’ve got my friends around me.

But the next few weeks are littered with parties being thrown by people I barely know but whose parties I should really attend.

It's okay to struggle with maintaining your healthy lifestyle at Christmas

And I know they won’t be enjoyable because I’ll be worrying about those damned liquid calories.

Sounds mega lame and also like I’m an actual alcoholic.

I’m not. I barely drink at all and I know how to pace myself but when you’re already pretty anxious and you’re knees deep in the kind of self-absorption that comes with fitness, even having a couple of G&Ts can seem like a danger.

On the other hand, who wants to go to a party full of strangers completely sober? Not me.

I know what you’re thinking – DRUGS.

Drugs are low cal, it’s true. They’re also pretty prolific at house parties.

But you know, no amount of horse tranquillizer is going to help transform your body into some mad temple of strength. Fun at the time, awful the next day and pretty counterproductive (and, obviously, illegal).

Especially if you’ve been there, done that and left those gritty days behind, the thought of that whole scene coming back to haunt you in your cleaner days is one which can leave you tearing your hair out.

It's okay to struggle with maintaining your healthy lifestyle at Christmas

Even if you’re not indulging, you might go to bed after a tame evening out only to find your house full of wired blokes sitting up till 8am. That’s their prerogative – isn’t that what the festive season is all about? Playing with snow?

But when you’re trying to lead a very clean, health-conscious lifestyle, those potential incidents can leave you feeling vulnerable, out of control and actually pretty lonely.

Is it worth it?

Meh, probably. Health is something you can’t buy (unlike drugs and vodka which are expensive).

But you can try and give yourself a break which is hard.

After all, Christmas is Christmas – it only comes round once and it should be a time for being with friends and loved ones without having to feel socially awkward or anxious.

If you want to booze, do it.

I guess the best way to manage this sort of health anxiety is to pre-agree when and how you’re going to indulge in full on hedonism.

It's okay to struggle with maintaining your healthy lifestyle at Christmas
Oh that sweet, sweet gin (Picture: Charlotte Cockell)

If you write on your calendar that you’ll be going hard on a couple of select dates during the festive season, you feel a little better dealing with them. If you pre-choose your poison, you’ll be less tempted to deviate and start making even worse choices.

You know that you won’t be training the next day so you can rearrange your gym plans for the week ahead of time, and you’ll be able to prepare ready-to-eat, healthy foods to be within easy picking distance to minimise damage.

Acknowledging what’s going to go down is also a way of making sure that you won’t be tempted to drink or do whatever on any surrounding dates. It’s one thing getting plastered at your mate’s house party, your work Christmas party and Christmas Day, and it’s quite another to be sozzled or high every other day throughout December (which is incredibly easy to do).

Tell your mates what you’re doing so that they know you want to and will join in at certain points, but won’t expect you to be laggo all the time. I’ve also found that if you pre-prepare people for your one night of debauchery, they’re all for making it even more fun. It’s sort of a celebration itself.

Preparing for the occasions where you’ll be completely off the chain, and accept your weight or health won’t be too detrimentally affected by it.

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