It’s the same story every year – the Christmas lights go up and our waistlines expand. With so many sweet treats in stores and festive parties galore, it’s hard not to give up on our healthy habits and embrace the eating and drinking side of Christmas. Come January, most of us are left feeling pretty sorry for ourselves as we vow to shed the pounds for the New Year. What if we could avoid beat the bulge this Christmas altogether? With these five easy tips, we might just be able to…
1. Don’t feel like you have to drink at every outing
Getting together for drinks with friends and family is a large part of the festive season, but drinking too much over Christmas can lead to weight gain, as well other ill health problems. Offer to drive every now and then or set yourself a night out budget so that you know that you won’t be drinking to excess, and try drinking light versions of drinks which are lower in calories and alcohol content.
2. Beware the buffet
A party buffet is always a tempting sight, and if you’re the type of person who returns for second and third helpings, you may want to prepare yourself beforehand. One thing you can do easily is to only allow yourself one plate, and to make sure that half of it is filled with salad or vegetables or healthier options. If you don’t trust yourself, eating a meal beforehand is another way to stop yourself reaching for the finger sandwiches.
3. Buy less food
There’s always a tendency to stock the cupboards, fridge and freezer to the brim at Christmas, meaning that there’s nothing left to do but eat it all. If you buy less, you’ll be tempted to eat less, particularly sweets and chocolate, and if you do find that you have run out or need more food, you can always go and buy more. Plan your meals out in advance rather than buying random food items – not only will you save money but you’ll save yourself from putting on the pounds too.
4. Don’t stop exercising
It can be all too tempting to give up exercise completely over the Christmas period, but why should you? By sticking to your regular fitness routine, you will not only help yourself to stay in shape over the Christmas period, but you won’t have to feel guilty about a treat every now and then. Exercise at home in the mornings or take advantage of the quieter-than-normal gym – you’ll be glad you did come the 1st of January.
5. Take up more home cooking
Christmas is a busy time, which is why many of us tend to stick to pre-packaged, processed foods to help us get through. Why not try some home cooking instead? By making your own party food and meals at home you will already be benefitting from healthier meals and can put your own spin on things to make them even healthier. Things like dips, pastries, chicken bites and other popular festive favourites are incredibly easy to make at home, and will taste much better than pre-made versions too.
Beating the bulge at Christmas sounds like an impossible task, but it can be done if you’re committed and can exercise a small bit of willpower. What you need to ask yourself is whether or not two weeks of overdoing it is really worth the months it will take you to shift it all again? For some great recipe ideas for a healthier, happier Christmas, you can find some great inspiration from Jamie Oliver and other top cooking websites, as well as plenty of tips and ideas for exercising and keeping fit over the holidays.