Keeping fit and healthy over the festive season

Written by Mike Garside

I better start with an insincere apology to everyone I’m about to upset with the following nuggets of advice. I’m banking on the fact that I’m probably still just a tad faster than most of them, so here goes anyway..

“Life is like a box of chocolates. It doesn’t last long if you’re fat”*


Only the proper health professionals aren’t of course allowed to say that. They’re bogged down in the world of modern political correctness, endlessly pussy footing around the bleeding obvious, that being that most of the UK’s adult population are eating and drinking themselves to death, hunter-gathering a massive excess of calories every day a lot of them in the form of alcohol. Quietly pickling themselves. 

When does it all start to go wrong?

In most part the Christmas gluttony starts in earnest sometime around mid November and lasts past New Years. One big final push for the year. The collective excuse to throw caution to the wind and work your coronary arteries and liver enzymes towards the long vacation you’ve been promising yourself. Otherwise known in the trade as a premature death!

Well, that’s cheered you all up. He’s going to tell us the feast’s off now I can hear you all thinking. For most of us the religious engagement went on its long vacation years ago. So if the cheese festival’s cancelled, then you may be ready to holiday!

Well no. I’m not actually, because I’m not a ‘proper doctor’ anymore so I don’t have to, and telling you you’re eating too much, drinking too much and smoking (naughty) has been proven to be almost a complete waste of time.

And I’m no angel myself. Last year our Christmas celebrations started in our house early November with an over indulgence of cheese and mulled wine and resulted in a substantial weight gain by new year. The supermarkets encourage us to start the festive food treats earlier and earlier every year, so that they can make more money, by selling us the same item multiple times. But if we are eating and drinking it all the time, it is no longer a special treat but a habit, and a bad one at that. This year we will be saving the festive treats for the festive season and not buying them until at least mid December.

Are we bothered enough to change?

Actually, the only person who can make a blind bit of a difference to your medium and long term well-being is you! It all comes down to the very simple notion of you “being bothered”. Bothered to think you want to change, bothered to change your existing habits and bothered to maintain the changes. Bothered to find out what needs to change in your life instead of expecting a doctor to tell you is a good first step. Bothered to feel hungry during some part of the day, and bothered to ignore your mouth telling you it needs something tasty, when your stomachs still feeling bloated. Bothered to get out from in front of the TV and move more.

Bothered to be nice to yourself over Christmas, nice to your liver, lungs and guts by not over indulging to excess in volume or duration.

Where’s the secret fat burning tip, magic pill, gene therapy to shrink you, home liposuction kit? Sorry… run out of page. What a bother!

My Top Tip

Treat yourself to a book called ‘Shine Rediscovering your energy, happiness and purpose’ by Andy Cope and Gavin Oates and read Chapter 6 ‘Shining on the inside’. In fact read the whole book.

Ps: Oh and get yourself a dog or borrow one – they always want to go for a walk, and will get you outside whatever the weather 

*Quote from ‘Shine Rediscovering your energy, happiness and purpose’ by Andy Cope and Gavin Oates

Mike Garside was a full time practicing UK GP until he started his Medical Supply Company Valuemed 18 years ago. He now works full time in the company as Medical Director. He lives in Norfolk with his wife and four dogs.

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