Christmas is often regarded as a time to eat, drink and be merry. But if you want to make it to January without feeling bloated, lethargic and overweight, there are six ways to enjoy the festive season without going overboard when temptation rears its ugly head.
- Don’t drink to get drunk
The worst thing you can do to your body is to drink to excess throughout the Christmas period. By all means, have a few sociable drinks with friends and family, but try to avoid making abject intoxication your primary objective. Think to yourself: “Do I really want to spend tomorrow in bed with a hangover?”
Binge drinking not only leads a range of health problems, it also has the potential to rob you of precious Christmas memories. As if that’s not enough reason to moderate your festive revelry, don’t forget that most alcoholic drinks are laden with calories that could can expand your waistline significantly by the time New Year arrives.
Focus on enjoying the taste, texture and smells of festive beverages; if you’re having a glass of mulled wine, take a minute to notice the spices that make it taste so good, rather than gulping it down. Pick drinks that will go with your festive food, and don’t drink on an empty stomach. If you want to fight the diuretic effects of alcohol (which could reduce the severity of any potential hangover the next day), alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks at Christmas parties.
- Get fit in advance
If you are fit, well rested and generally healthy, your body will be better equipped to deal with any incidental excesses and/or sleep deprivation that crop up during the festive period. Instead of waiting for the New Year, to start your health and fitness regime, start eating healthily and exercising a few weeks before the festivities really start. The Kiqplan weight loss programme, for instance, is a digital coaching app that provides users with a 12-week healthy diet and exercise regime. Having recipes, exercise videos and lifestyle advice available on your mobile phone or tablet will help you get your body ready for any celebratory excesses that ensue.
- Maintain your usual sleeping pattern
Being sleep-deprived can cause a range of very un-festive health issues, including a lack of energy, an inability to concentrate, mood swings and depression. As if that wasn’t enough motivation to retreat to the duvet fort, there’s is also a chance that a lack of sleep will increase your cortisol levels – which will not only make you stressed, but also increasing your susceptibility to hunger pangs and cravings. With cold nights drawing in, now is the best time to take advantage of the benefits of a cosy night in, such as being able to actually wake up in time for the few hours of precious daylight that will appear in the morning. Being well rested and ready for the day ahead might mean you have to leave the odd Christmas party a little early, but it will be worth it for the huge mood boost you’ll get from a good night’s sleep.
- Never skip meals
Got a big Christmas party/ buffet coming up? Thinking of starving yourself beforehand? Don’t. ‘Saving’ calories in advance of Christmas buffets and meals is not a thing. We all know that the hunger induced by skipping breakfast and lunch is no match for the temptations of a heaving buffet, and can only end in a mess of sticky fingers and bloating. Get a healthy breakfast and lunch, and enjoy your evening meal without having to deal with the trauma of consuming half the Christmas buffet table in one gulp.
- Don’t make food the centre of your Christmas universe
Now, we’re not about to say that delicious food doesn’t play a big part in the enjoyment of Christmas (what sacrilege that would be!) but there are other elements of the festive season that are just as fun. Party planning, decorating, spending time with family and friends are all part of the yuletide joy as well, and you can enjoy all of these elements without going too overboard on the cake and wine.
- Prepare yourself in advance for some festive weight gain
Even with the best willpower in the world, it might be a tad unrealistic to expect to emerge from the yuletide season completely unencumbered by any excess holiday weight gain. Forewarned is forearmed, so the saying goes, and there is no better way to combat the blues of January than with a post-Christmas contingency plan. This might mean joining a gym before the festive period, or it could entail researching healthy recipes in readiness for your post-Christmas health and fitness drive. Weight loss plans are usually more effective when they are carefully thought through and planned for, so it might be better to plan ahead rather than wait for January before you start planning lifestyle changes.
There is absolutely no need to miss out at Christmas, just because you want to stay fit and trim. Exercising, maintaining a well-balanced diet, getting enough sleep and enjoying festive indulgences in moderation should ensure that your Christmas is both merry and healthy.