What with all that figgy pudding and those over generous gift givers, there’s barely any chance that you’re going to lose any weight over the Christmas holidays so best advice is don’t even bother trying.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that you have to completely give in to all manner of foodie temptations but if you follow a few tried and tested guidelines you’ll be able to have fun whilst still managing to maintain a healthy balance.
Below is a splattering of advice from one who knows and if you’re in training for a marathon or just trying to keep check on your weight over the winter then read on and have a happy Christmas.
A hearty breakfast
A light breakfast maybe considered to be good practice for Christmas day to make space for all that dinner and if you can manage to have poached or boiled eggs, fruit juice, porridge or even muesli then you’ll be at least giving yourself a fighting chance and keeping those hunger pangs at bay until lunchtime. The hungrier we are the more tempting it is to snack and the key to a healthy Xmas is definitely to avoid those tree chocs and bowls of crisps whenever possible.
If you really can’t withstand those oh-so-tempting bowls of food that have been strategically placed around the house by well-meaning relatives then why not counteract by adding some snacks of your own. Carrot, cucumber and celery sticks are great to munch on and the more fruit you’re able to consume as opposed to chocolates and sweets then all the better. Snacking isn’t ideal but if you have to then make sure you choose the healthy option and avoid cheese, mayo and fat-filled dips.
Keep the heating low
It’s very easy to sit back and get all cosy when it’s cold outside and from woolly Christmas knitwear to turning the heating up to 11, slobbing about and becoming lethargic is pretty much the norm at this time of year. Best advice is to open a window or better yet, turn that heating off because the warmer you become the less your body will need to work to keep away the cold. Add a few layers or keep moving and before you know it you’ll be saving on energy bills and burning body fat at the same time.
If grandma won’t let you turn the heating down for fear of hypothermia then the next best thing is simply to get outside and let your body get to work on heating you up from the inside. Keep your head and feet covered to avoid losing heat but a walk around the block, a kick about with the kids or volunteering to go to the shops for supplies are all great excuses to get out and about and keep you healthy and active in the process.
Keep active indoors
Of course, you don’t have to be outside to be active and any one who’s experienced a Christmas with kids will certainly understand that there’s never a moment to sit down and ‘chill out’. Parlour games such as charades and pin the tail on the donkey are both great fun and require a certain amount of energy to play and if you’ve got kids around then simply watch what they do and join in the fun and games. Keeping active is the key to staying healthy over a hectic time of year and if you can act as silly as a three year old then you’ll be fending off the fat in no time at all.
Stay out of the kitchen
Those tantalising smells and Christmas songs emanating from the kitchen are often too much to withstand and the adage: ‘the closer you are to the kitchen the less chance of going hungry’ is certainly true over Xmas. Keep out at all costs and if you have to cook then do your best to have some healthy snacks on the go to help you avoid peeling off that crispy skin or tucking into a cheeky mince pie and brandy butter.
Have an aim in mind
At the end of the day, it’s down to you to be strong and introduce a modicum of will-power to help you beat the temptations of Christmas. Having something to keep fit and healthy for, such as: a marathon, beach holiday or adventure holiday with Trek America, will no doubt give you the strength to withstand the offer of more food from generous in-laws and if you can stick to a healthy plan this winter then you’ll be raring to go in the New Year – good luck!
Chris is in training for the Brighton marathon and eyeing Christmas with a modicum of fear and trepidation.