Avoiding fat and maintaining fitness over the festive period

So December is here. I’ve already been to my first Christmas party where, I must confess, I slightly over-indulged. Even the most devoted fitness fanatic finds it a struggle to stay in shape during the festive season and, according to research, most of us put on at least 0.5 kilos due to over-indulging and a lack of exercise.

From the office party to the kids’ selection boxes, temptation seems to be lurking around every corner. In addition, the stress of the holiday period can drive even the most organised and seemingly calm people emotional eating.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying yourself every once in a while and Christmas without a few mince pies and an accompanying glass of mulled wine would be miserable indeed. But try not to use it as an excuse to over-indulge, especially when your exercise level is likely to decrease at the same time.

The temptation to give up on your diet and fitness regime and take a break until the New Year is strong, especially when your gym is closed or your regular exercise class is cancelled for the festive period but instead of giving up, why not try another activity? Even a walk will help to offset the Christmas calorie overload and here in Cornwall we’re lucky enough to have access to some of the best walks in the country.

The key is to keep your body moving at every opportunity; some exercise, no matter how little, is always better than nothing. Take the lift instead of the stairs or go for a walk at lunch time. Making sensible food choices will also help to maintain a trim waistline. Keep portion size under control and, when possible, choose the healthiest option on offer.

If you’re attending a party, for example, try high protein nibbles such as sushi instead of carb-laden or deep fried choices such as pies and samosas. Swap beer for wine and spirits and try drinking a glass of water between alcoholic drinks. That way you’ll feel fuller and reduce the risk of a hangover.

Try these tips to help keep your weight in check and maintain your fitness levels.

Everything in moderation

Follow the principles set out in Mireille Guiliano’s now famous book, French Women Don’t Get Fat. Eat high quality food but exercise portion control. Eat slowly and savour your food.

Create your own home workout

A few sessions of bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges, press ups and planks will keep you ticking over until you can get back into your usual routine.

Don’t be too hard on yourself

If you over-indulge try to forget about it and move on. Beating yourself up about it will only lead to feelings of guilt and a miserable Christmas.

Try a new activity

If you usually work out at the gym or attend an exercise class, the holidays provide the perfect opportunity to try something different. Go for a run or cycle ride. Why not borrow the kids’ new Wi-ii or ask for your own exercise equipment or DVD for Christmas? It’s a great way to stay in shape and will also help to get out of your exercise rut.

Eat Something before you go out

Hitting the buffet table while you’re hungry is a recipe for disaster, especially if you’re planning on having a few drinks.

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