Here’s a few quick tips from Build to Health for you during our festive feasting period between now and New Year’s! 

(…And of course, we can’t forget the leftovers into the first week of January ;) )

1. Let Go Of Food Rules / Restrictions / ‘Black And White’ Thinking

This perspective creates an external locus of control, whereby you are having to abide by things outside of your internal body signals and conscious decision-making, disconnecting you from learning and becoming ‘in-tune’ with your body… the most rewarding and essential piece of the puzzle for taking control of your health and nutrition.

These structures take up A LOT of mental energy (e.g. what, when, how, how much you can eat) … not fun, especially during a festive period. This can build up stress, anxiety, a poor relationship with food, and lead to – you may have guessed it – the ‘all or nothing’ mindset – … A.K.A. the “f*** it!” mentality… this is very real phenomenon! And not something you want to unleash over Christmas. Rigid rules and restrictions create the perfect trip wire for this to happen, so loosen the rope, and focus on mindfulness and enjoyment.


Sounds easy, but a lot of us find ourselves piling up the plates at Christmas and entering a speed-eating contest with ourselves! Sloooow down, stay conscious, stay present, savour each mouthful and share the experience with your loved ones.

ACTION TIP: Try placing your cutlery down after each mouthful, and only pick them back up to continue after you have slowly chewed and finished your previous mouthful. Make it a game for yourself at your next meal… and let’s see how challenging you find this at first!



This tip requires a bit of self-awareness. There are certain foods that trigger us, it could be the mince pies, the Terry's chocolate orange, or the infamous Christmas cake – we are all unique and triggered differently. 

A food is typically a ‘trigger’ for you, if your anticipated satisfaction for eating the food is greater than the actual satisfaction you receive from eating it… which then leads to seconds, thirds, fourths… in a never-ending quest to hit that anticipated satisfaction.

ACTION TIP: If you know Grandma’s Victoria sponge cake is your holy grail – it rarely comes to show itself but when it does, you’re there to partake in its departure. Be aware beforehand if this is a trigger for you, that it might not reach your anticipated satisfaction. Portion your slice, take small mouthfuls, and eat it slowly… whilst enjoying the company of your loved ones. Eating the food slower will increase your satisfaction and enjoyment of the food, but remember with ‘trigger foods’ you may be left craving more, and that’s fine, just stay present, own your decisions, and know that no amount of the food will hit the anticipated satisfaction you’re looking for.

P.S Certain people can also trigger us – just being aware of this can change your actions. You may find that when you push yourself beyond ‘stuffed’ it’s with the same people in each scenario. If this is the case for you, pause, gain a little self-awareness, and check in with your hunger levels beforehand.



No need to exercise if it’s the last thing you want to do on the day –it’s all about doing what you enjoy. If you enjoy your exercise, then awesome! Go ahead and get your workout in. 

Maybe suggest a Christmas walk with the family and friends?! Or get creative and come up with ONE active event for everyone to join in with, make it fun and who knows… if it goes down a treat you might find others wanting to do it again! 

And in true Christmas spirit, help out a bit more around the house, serving the meals, doing the dishes, sorting out the fire place…etc. Little movements like these add up greatly throughout the day and not only are you making someone else’s life easier (which makes you feel awesome), but you’re putting to work some of that bountiful festive food energy!

ACTION TIP: Commit to ONE active event, and try being a Santa’s helper for the day :)


It’s the festive period, and festive food tastes great, especially when made and shared with family and friends… so eat slowly, stay checked in, and enjoy!

With the right approach, you can enjoy your food, make memorable experiences with family, and be healthy and fit. :


It’s OK to savour the bread and butter pudding, chocolate cheesecake or the evening homemade cookies. Be conscious of your trigger foods, eat slowly, stay present, and loosen the rope on your ‘rules’. 

Be a Santa’s helper around the house, and find ONE thing you could do together as a fun activity – even just getting outside for a walk and some fresh air.

Understand this is a short period of enjoyment and creating memories with loved ones, and not the quintessential moment that will impact your health once and for all. 


REMEMBER: Being and living a healthy lifestyle is a life-long project. Those that live it, stay relaxed and flexible, all wing for the occasional indulgence… so have that little ‘something’

Committed to building your health,




Hugo Mayhew