2 Simple swaps to stay healthy in the run-up to Christmas (+ beyond!)

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With Stoptober in full swing, World Mental Health Day earlier this week and yesterday’s news that Nigella Lawson is cutting back on drinking to help with her anxiety, today’s post is a rather timely one. Today I’m chatting about alcohol and sugar why taking a break from them can help you this autumn…

Are you ready for Christmas? (Yes, I said it!) All the food, the indulgence and the mulled wine? I’m looking forward to it already, although the health-conscious me is already feeling a little wary. So I thought I’d share some ways that you can get ready for the festive season by cutting back now, to ensure a healthier, happier new year.


It’s Stoptober, and for many people that means giving up alcohol. I did dry January a couple of years ago and it made a huge difference to my life. To be honest, I’m not a teetotaller. Although if you ask my friends, they’d say I never drink. But that’s because we live a 30 minute drive away from our local pub, so I’m usually driving home! The truth is that I like wine (sauvignon blanc, if you’re offering!) and a hot cup of something mulled is hard to resist at Christmas. But the truth is that the sugar in alcohol is going to suppress your immune system, and with so many colds around at this time of year, I don’t like to risk it.

Nigella Lawson was in the news yesterday declaring that she is cutting down on alcohol because it exacerbates her anxiety. After World Mental Health Day, I’m acutely aware of just how many people suffer with anxiety, stress, depression and other conditions that are intensified by alcohol. Sure, it’s great while you’re drinking, but it can have a negative affect on your mental health for days afterwards. If you’re suffering with anxiety it’s immeasurably better to visit your doctor or get advice from an online, independent pharmacy than to grab a bottle of beer.

Oh and don’t forget how much money you’ll save if you’re not buying drinks for the next couple of months. There’s 10 weeks between now and Christmas so if you’d usually buy a bottle of wine per week, put that cash aside to buy your Christmas dinner! Depending on how much you’d usually spend on a bottle, you’re going to save a minimum of £50 up to £70, £90 even £120! I’m not saying don’t go out to the pub or don’t socialise with friends, you should definitely support your local pub – just offer to drive your pals home at the end of the evening and swap to alcohol-free wine, 0% beer and virgin cocktails!


Taking a break from all those sugary treats in the run up to Christmas is a good idea for two – or maybe three – reasons. Firstly, as I mentioned above, your immune system will be stronger. You’ll be better able to fight off colds and infections if your system isn’t suppressed by sugar. The effects of sugar on your immune system last for 2 hours so maybe only indulge when you’re safely tucked up at home.

Secondly, you’ll lose weight. I mean, without trying. You’ll naturally level out at whatever weight you’re supposed to be. Being lighter = being healthier and, seeing as the season of indulgence is coming, you’ll feel the benefit more at this time of year. Enjoy plenty of fruit instead of puddings in the run up to Christmas and your waistline will thank you for it! Losing weight is also an added benefit of giving up alcohol too, so it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll weigh less when you get to December and can enjoy snacks without the guilt of piling on the pounds.

Thirdly, if you cut out sugar now, your tastebuds will adjust. You’ll start to think that cornflakes without sugar are already sweet enough. Fruits that you once thought were too tart are now super-sweet. So when you get to Christmas, you won’t believe how sweet some of those treats are and will want to stick to the fruity desserts and dark chocolate rather than the candy canes. Which has the added benefit of maintaining your (lighter) weight, ensuring a healthier new year.

Let me know if you’re doing Stoptober in the comments below or if you’ve given up alcohol or sugar this year I’d love to hear how you got on. Will you be indulging at Christmas after a health run-up? And if you’re thinking about cutting back between now and December, go for it!




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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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