Christmas is upon us again, and this is the time of year when most people pile on the pounds. Office parties and family get-togethers are often high calorie, high fat, high sugar, high alcohol affairs. As a personal trainer in London, my clients often ask how they can stay healthy over Christmas but still have a good time. Here are some tips:
Alternate you alcoholic drink with non-alcoholic, such as water. And try to have an alcohol-free day on at least one day of the Christmas holidays, to give your liver a chance to recover.
It’s fun to indulge a bit at Christmas, but if you stick to small portions of treats like puddings, mince pies & brandy butter, you’ll avoid binging. If you’re at a party or at the dinner table, ask for small portions and eat slowly. Put your knife and fork down after each mouthful. Chat more and eat less. A great way to limit over-eating at a dinner party is to say “that was delicious, I’m full!” before you’re offered second helpings.
Before you go out to a party or dinner, have a small healthy snack, such as low fat natural yoghurt with chopped fruit, or a couple of poached eggs on a slice of wholemeal toast. Then you’re less likely to over-indulge when you go out.
Start thinking of your new years resolutions over Christmas, so you’re already focusing on your fitness goals. This will make you less inclined to over-indulge.
Regular sleep patterns
If you go to bed really late and get up really late over the holidays, this messes up your sleep patterns and leaves you sluggish and irritable. Try to stick close to your regular sleeping hours.
Ration the TV
Most people spend most of Christmas slumped in front of the TV, watching re-runs of Dad’s Army, The Two Ronnies, and Bond films. Christmas TV can be fun, but too much of it can drive you round the bend, wreck your energy levels, make you snack on rubbish, and ruin your posture. Get out more – visit some National Trust properties, go for long walks.
Stock up on healthy snacks
Instead of crisps, buy almonds and raisins. Instead of fatty puddings and mountains of cheese, make your own avocado dips, and eat them with sticks of raw celery and carrots. Home-made soups are great winter fillers, such as brown lentil soup, butternut squash soup, and mixed vegetable soup.
Dominic Londesborough is a personal trainer in London.