How to stay healthy in the run up to Christmas

I love Christmas – the build up over the month or 2 before, the cold frosty weather (not so much the rain), seeing the decorations up through the windows and…..the smell of mince pies wafting around! With so much food temptation, it’s frighteningly easy to go completely off the rails with the whole healthy eating plan and write off the whole month with the determination to start again in January. But let me reassure you – it doesn’t have to be this way!!! Yes you could indeed take that approach but when you’ve worked hard all the previous months to change your eating habits for the better, lose those extra few pounds or gain that little bit of extra muscle, why on earth would you want to lose it all? I think there is a common fear amongst people that by eating healthily they have to deny themselves of anything remotely tasty and are not allowed whatsoever to have any of their favourite treats. But again – it doesn’t have to be this way!

I can promise you now that the more balanced and better your diet is, the less you will crave the sugar and if you do fancy a chocolate or two, you are far more likely to be satisfied with just a couple rather than feeling the need to demolish the entire box.

A good tip which I recommend to all my clients is always start off with a healthy breakfast which includes a portion of fruit, to get the day started on the right foot. My second tip is try and do some sort of exercise as soon as you can in the day – the earlier the better. Whether that’s going to the gym, doing a 15 minute bodyweight session in the living room before work or even walking or cycling to work – if you can achieve some activity right at the beginning you are far less likely to want to undo the good you’ve already done by eating poorly later in the day, plus when time is tight, promising you’ll go to the gym after work doesn’t always go to plan!!

If mince pies are a weakness, why not have a go at making your own? There are loads of recipes online for ones which are a little healthier and lower in fat, and it’s a really fun way of getting into the christmas spirit of things. If you’re going to parties where there’s a buffet, try to limit the pastry snacks (think sausage rolls, mini quiche) to just a couple of items and fill the rest of the plates with less fattening food. When it comes to alcohol, again you really don’t need to deny yourself everything – just try not to go overboard. So try a white wine spritzer, or perhaps alternate every alcoholic drink with a non alcoholic beverage (beware of sugar laden squashes though). Cocktails can be a nutrition nightmare – a complete calorie overload – so opt for clear spirits such as vodka.

The key message here is really to keep your meals as balanced as possible and keep up activity as much as you can over Christmas – this really does make it an awful lot easier to keep the rest of it in check and means you can head into the New Year feeling more than a little smug that you haven’t undone all your hard work.

I’ll be posting up a couple of mini workout routines that you can do with no exercise equipment, in the comfort of your own home over the next few weeks which anyone can fit in, so there really are no excuses!!! Stay tuned for Festive Fitness workout 1 coming shortly…..