Have A Healthy Christmas (Without Harsh Food Rules!)
Nobody wants to get out of shape at Christmas, but we don’t like the idea of silly rules and restrictions either. Here’s a great way to stay in touch with your fitness goals, without going Grinch on the festive season!
Let’s be honest, the phrase “healthy eating” doesn’t exactly go hand-in-hand with Christmas. But that’s no reason to throw away all of your goals. It is possible to find a happy middle ground – one where you honour your healthy goals and look after your body, whilst also enjoying time with family and friends.
1 Stay hydrated. Drink a glass of water in the morning before you eat or drink anything else. And have some water before meals. It’s amazing how this one tip will help you manage a runaway appetite. Plus, water helps your digestive system function smoothly regardless of what you throw at it!
2 Focus on lean protein and veggies. The Christmas meal is just a fancy roast – and that meat and the vegetables are nutritious foods. It’s everything else that can be a problem. Aim for the lean protein and vegetables first, then a little of whatever else you fancy.
3 Do you really want or need it? There’s no point setting yourself tight rules around food at Christmas. It rarely works, and it’s pretty miserable. But if you simply promise to pause and think about it before you eat, you’ll minimise mindless eating. Do you actually like dry roasted peanuts? Do you really want a chocolate coin? Is eating 2 mince pies any better than eating the first one?
Being more active during the day is actually more important than doing official “workouts”. A rest day from running but a busy day on your feet burns more calories than a 30-minute run followed by a day of sitting around.
1 Walk more. Go on a walk with the family, take a walk by yourself, or do local chores on foot.
2 Volunteer for Christmas chores. There’s plenty to do and it all burns calories – getting the decorations out of the attic, picking up the tree, rearranging the living room furniture to accommodate guests.
3 Get down with the kids. Children are always on the go, so get involved with your own kids or visiting children. Play outside with them, go for a walk with them – use their energy to encourage you to stay active.
Christmas and New Year are one time of year when everyone seems to drink – even if they aren’t bothered about alcohol for the rest of the year. There’s nothing wrong with a glass or two. But remember that being tipsy might make you less likely to run (or even be active at all) the next day. And alcohol can often make it harder to turn down high-calorie foods especially in the evening.
1 Set a limit. There’s nothing wrong with having a limit and sticking to it.
2 Make good choices. If you really love eggnog or Bailey’s then go for it, but just be aware that sugary, creamy drinks have lots more calories than wine or clear spirits with low-cal mixer.
3 Be mindful about snacking. Drinking often leads to snacking, cravings, or an entire extra meal at 11pm. Just keep an eye on that.
It might be more difficult to keep up your normal running routine, so do what you can and ramp up the intensity to make the most of the time available.
1 Do something every day – even if it’s just a fast walk. Something is far better than nothing.
2 When you do run, run a bit harder. Make the most of your running sessions: throw in some sprints, do hill reps, or run the final half mile at a faster pace.
3 Run early. You can probably get a 30-minute run in before most people even notice you are gone. Early morning running has a lot of rewards – a pretty sunrise, a great sense of achievement, an all-day energy boost.