Chrissy ON Dec 24, 2013 AT 1:02 pm

by Chrissy Iley

Karen Cummings-Palmer

I recently met with Karen Cummings-Palmer. She is a nutrition and wellness coach. She works with clients on what she calls ‘Age Management’.  She has am impressive celeb client list – including woman of the moment Nancy Dell Olio .You meet her and you really do feel she’s capable of anything, including turning time backwards and releasing those pounds that have never gone away.

Her approach is nurturing but firm. She works with you in a detailed way to find just what your weaknesses are. And instead of taking things away from you, she modifies, changes, does something with your headset so it doesn’t feel deprived.

These are all small things but incredibly impactful. For instance, she told me to have a large glass of water and a matcha  green tea before my first coffee of the morning because caffeine is so dehydrating and therefore ageing. I never thought I would be able to do it. My only modification was to make the macha tea stronger.

She also gave me a couple of recipes as an alternative to my lazy attitude to food. I am too tired to cook it when Marks & Spencer can do it for me. Her recipes are easy to follow and almost as convenient as putting something in the microwave.

Christmas parties are always a challenge for those who want to stay healthy, slim and nourished. Karen would never say don’t go to a party. Here are her tips on how to survive them with sound mind and body.

Do you always say yes to a party? It’s all about quality not quantity when it comes to Christmas parties I don’t feel obliged to go to everything but if it’s good for my spirit then my body will recover.

How do you survive a party? I always have a snack before I leave for a party, a potassium rich banana or a handful of protein packed raw nuts so that I don’t arrive on empty.  I try to stick to one or two drinks and make sure that I follow each with a tall glass of water.

What is the best drink to have and why? My drink of choice is a glass of red for it’s antioxidant, skin enhancing properties, but it only works in moderation – drink more than a glass and the toxic effects of alcohol will compromise any health benefits.

Why do some people prefer champagne? There is nothing like a glass of champagne – it’s the ultimate celebratory drink and it is certainly lower in calories (around 90 per glass) then most other drinks. Try to stick to Brut, which is drier and lower in sugar than others.

Are there any supplements that help? Alcohol is a diuretic and therefore depletes the body of vitamins and minerals, which you’ll want to replenish. My favourite hangover supplements are vitamin B 12, which is essential for brain function and energy production and immune boosting and skin enhancing Vitamin C. I take one of each before a big night out and the morning after.

What would be a healthy-ish cocktail you could serve/have a bartender make? There really is no such thing as a healthy cocktail but if you are going to indulge ask the barman to leave out the sugar syrup or sugar rim. If you are making up your own add freshly grated ginger and fresh lemon juice with a touch of agave syrup to a shot of vodka. For a long drink try vodka with pomegranate juice and fresh lime with Perrier water over ice.

My canapé hell… what are the ones to avoid? Remember that canapés are not dinner, if it is an early evening affair, treat them as an appetiser and eat something light when you get home. Otherwise have one or two and wait for the real food to arrive. As a general rule canapés on a spoon are healthier options – no pastry or wheat base required!  Oh and avoid the almost empty trays – they’ve been talked over, laughed over and coughed over by the entire room!

What are the better small eats options? Limit the amount of deep fried foods so often on offer at a party. Avoid the bread sticks – empty calories that don’t fill you or fuel you.  When it comes to pudding remember that over consumption of sugar is ageing. If you are craving something sweet choose a couple of chocolates on offer, savour them and save the mince pies until Christmas Day!

Sparkling or flat water? It’s all relative, sparkling water is a healthier option than sodas but sparkling water is both acidic and rich in sodium so whilst the occasional glass is fine – your 8 a day should be made up largely of flat water.

What extra quick exercise can be fitted in when the party schedule is so hectic there is no time for gym? If you can’t get to the gym during party season – don’t stress, 10 minutes in your bedroom every morning will you looking good in that little black dress! Try ’The standing diagonal crunch’. With feet hip width apart and you arms out to the side at shoulder height, bring your right shoulder down and your left knee up diagonally across your body so that they meet out the waist.  Do this 20 times breathing out on the crunch repeat on the other side.

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