The festive season is upon us! This means diet debauchery, abandoned fitness regimes and six-hour TV marathons. But we are here to tell you, it doesn’t have to be this way. With a little forward planning and a smidgeon of self-discipline, it is perfectly possible to enjoy the festive season and Stay Fit, not Fat This Christmas.
You don’t have to pile on the pounds at Christmas. Use the break in routine to get off the sofa and get active. In this article we look at why and how to stay healthy during the festive season.
One of the biggest barrier for people when it comes to exercise, is lack of time. A break from the usual work/life routine can provide the ideal opportunity to begin or maintain physical activity.
Staying active over Christmas not only reduces your chances of gaining weight, it also helps energise you, reduce stress and helps your overall well-being.
Try getting up a little earlier than normal and get your workout done before other commitments gets in the way. This will kickstart your metabolism throughout the day.
Recent research from Australia found that 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training burned more calories than 40 minutes at a steady state.
We would never suggest to forgo all treats and extras during the festive seasons. By all means indulge, but you can limit the damage by selecting your foods more carefully.
Try choosing healthier nibbles such as, pretzels, roasted chestnuts, unsalted nuts, dried fruits or dark cocoa chocolate instead of the usual crisps and sweets.
Start every day with a healthy breakfast. During Christmas, people often tend to skip out on a morning meal. This makes it more likely to overindulge later on. Make a bowl of Christmas porridge with a sprinkle of cinnamon and festive fruits such as cranberries and dates.
Its healthy, energising and will set you up for the day. Additionally, you’ll keep that Christmas spirit going!
Don’t feel obliged to eat more than you normally would, just because it’s Christmas. Turning down seconds doesn’t mean you didn’t enjoy your meal – it’s just that you have had enough.
Similarly, there is nothing wrong with turning down that extra glass of wine. When the whole season is an excuse for celebration, the alcohol units can really mount up. Mulled wine on Christmas Eve, buck’s fizz with breakfast, wine with dinner, Baileys, brandy … Try to keep tabs on how much you are drinking, and intersperse alcoholic drinks with soft ones and plenty of water.
With alcoholic beverages flowing every day, from early morning to late night its easy to forget the importance of hydration.
Make a conscious effort to drink 6-8 glasses of water every day. Start the day with a herbal tea of diluted juice. Even mild dehydration can lead to headache and reduced energy levels.
Furthermore, your brain can sometimes confuse thirst with hunger. A large glass of water before a meal (and especially before considering seconds), can help lessen the amount of food you consume.
Avoid “All or Nothing Mindset”
The holidays are hectic, but do your best to avoid the ‘all or nothing’ mentality when it comes to healthful eating and physical activity. In reality, there is more than just one way to live healthfully and be active.
During the holidays, get a bit creative with exercise and opt for fun ways that make physical activity an affair with friends or family.
From exploring new group fitness classes to building physical activity into holiday traditions. Take a walk around the neighborhood before opening Christmas presents. If you’re in an area with snow, go skiing or sled riding. Think outside the box when it comes to ways to have quality time with family and friends while also prioritizing your health.
The same principle applies when going to the gym. If you can only fit in 30 minutes instead of the usual hour, make the most of it.
It’s always better to do something, than doing nothing!
The Whole Year Matters
Overall, if you’re simply not prepared to raise your glass to a healthier festive season and intend to enjoy every over-indulgent, slothful moment, take comfort from research from the University of Oklahoma, which found that the average festive weight gain was little over 1lb (surveys show that most of us feel that we gain a lot more than that).
Bear in mind that it’s not the amount you exercise and eat between Christmas and New Year that is the problem – it’s what you do between New Year and Christmas that makes the real difference.