(By Frida Harju, in-house nutritionist at Lifesum)
With all the indulgence that the holidays are bound to bring, it’s safe to say that any sort of diet will go straight out of the window! But there are ways that you can keep in shape and stay fit in the run up to the festivities, so that when it comes to it you can consume those extra calories guilt-free!
Cut back on sugar – In the run up to Christmas, things are sure to be hectic, and when we’re feeling tired or sluggish, we quite often reach for the sugar to give us a quick boost. But the truth is, sugar simply isn’t great for the body. Not only that, it is addictive and that quick pick-me-up will only leave you more exhausted in the long run. It can be difficult, but try to cut back on refined sugars and get a natural energy boost from things like bananas or protein-rich nuts.
Reduce your alcohol intake – During the holidays alcohol is everywhere, but be careful not to overindulge in the run up to the main event. Not only can alcohol leave your energy levels depleted, it is highly calorific. If socializing, swap high sugar drinks such as beer and cider for clear spirits such as gin and vodka and you will save a huge amount of calories.
Get a fitness buddy – It can be hard to stay motivated to keep fit during the holidays, but why not pair up with a friend to keep each other in check? Scheduling in exercise sessions with a friend will help you stick to them as you’re less likely to cancel. Also, exercising with a friend can be a fun, social activity.
Do your shopping on foot – Anyone who’s tackled the shops during the holidays will know that it’s not for the faint hearted! Many people opt to online shop to beat the queues and the crowds, but buying your gifts on foot can actually burn a substantial amount of calories. So get offline and do your shopping the old-fashioned way, your body will thank you!
Don’t skip meals – Particularly breakfast! It is always important to fuel up with something healthy at the beginning of the day. I usually have porridge, or low-fat natural yoghurt with some fruit. By not skipping any meals throughout the day, you give your body fuel, which will mean you aren’t tempted to overeat later.
Be mindful with eating – All the stress of prepping for Christmas can give way to stress eating. Make sure you keep hydrated, drink at least 8 glasses of water per day, as sometimes we can mistake hunger for thirst. Ensure to eat three proper meals a day, and snack on healthy fruits, and crudités with hummus, to keep cravings at bay.
Only have one serving – Even if the Christmas dinner with all of its great components is very tempting, try to only have one serving. If you make an agreement with yourself to do this, you can fill your plate with a small piece of everything and feel satisfied that you have had a great meal.