Christmas is notoriously a time to indulge, but be careful not to overdo it! You can still enjoy all the festivities and get through the Christmas Holidays without too much impact on your health and fitness.
Of course, the priority should be to enjoy the festive season.
It’s ok to cheat on Christmas day but be careful not to overindulge non-stop for a few weeks. For some people the holiday season that starts in early December and ends with the New Year celebrations. Excessive eating is claimed to be the main cause for the additional weight gain, but it is also due to lack of physical activity and exercise.
A lot of individuals out there tend to set aside their fitness routines during the holidays since they believe that they do not have enough time to perform their workouts. And because they feel guilty after the holiday season, most of the gyms and fitness centres are packed with fresh members. Always bear in mind that you can still enjoy the holidays and stay fit at the same time. If you want to stay fit and minimise any possible damage to your health during the holiday season, here are some useful tips that might help you:
Don’t sit down all day
We know every Christmas special under the sun will be showing on the TV, but you don’t need to plonk yourself on the sofa all day! Encourage the whole family to get out for a walk at some point – ideally, after dinner to aid digestion. The more activity, the better, so take along any new outdoor gifts, like bikes, scooters, footballs or Frisbees, or play old-fashioned games.
Make the holidays a family affair and plan outdoor activities where everyone is involved.
You should still perform your fitness routine whenever possible and if you can’t do that, simply walk more.
Don’t overdo it on the alcohol
If you are spending a lot of time at home, with family or friends, alcohol units can really add up. Try to keep tabs on how much you are drinking, and intersperse alcoholic drinks with water and soft drinks.
Even on Christmas day, maybe start drinking as late as possible rather than having your first drink at midday.
It is best to regulate your drinking since alcohol, soft drinks and juices will only add more calories to the ones you already eaten!
Don’t overeat at your Christmas Dinner
Recent research suggests that we consume around 3,000 calories in our Christmas Dinner– more than the entire recommended daily intake for a grown man! This huge feast not only contributes to weight gain but also to indigestion and heartburn – not to mention lethargy for the rest of the day, reducing the chances of you burning much of it off. Also, you may feel unwell and lethargic. Why spoil your whole day by stuffing yourself at one meal? Instead of gorging yourself on Christmas dinner, eat a normal-sized meal and then take a 20-minute break to see if you are still hungry (it takes this long for the brain to register that the stomach is full). The chances are, you’ll realise you’ve had enough. And whether it’s dinner or chocolate and sweets etc, consider how you’re going to feel afterwards, this may prevent you from overindulging.
Eat Before Heading Out
First, it is best that you eat something before heading out to visits, trips or family dinners. By doing so, you will no longer be tempted to eat a lot or overindulge yourself since you have already eaten. Skipping on meals is not a good idea either, because you will only be likely to eat more later.
Don’t Skip Your Strength Workouts
Always remember to perform your strength training in order to maintain that muscle mass you worked hard to get. And it is this muscle that will keep your metabolism high, helping you to burn off those extra calories. And remember turkey is an excellent source of lean, healthy protein, which is great for feeding those muscles.
Staying well hydrated can satiate your appetite as well as keep you hydrated at all times. And it will also help to prevent a possible hangover if you overdo it with alcohol.
Avoid getting colds and flus
If we eat and drink too much of the wrong things, our immune systems can weaken, leaving us open to all sorts of colds and infections. Minimise your risks by including some fruit and veg for anti-oxidants, getting enough sleep and taking a good multi-vitamin. This way you are more able to fight off any viruses.
Engage your brain
Instead of switching off in front of the TV, keep your mind active by playing games like Trivial Pursuit or Charades.
And most importantly, have fun, stay healthy and enjoy the festive season!