Surviving the festive season
By Personal Trainer, Megan Hinchley from ThrivePT
We have officially hit the festive season! For many, the Christmas period is a time filled with parties and other social gatherings, which often involve lots of food and alcohol, including Christmas Day itself! It’s not surprising then, that research shows that weight gain over the festive season is a major contributor to excess yearly weight gain, especially for people who are already carrying more weight than they would like.
Quite a few years ago, I put together seven tips on Keeping Healthy at Christmas. These tips are useful for all festive season events, but I thought I would put together even more tips to help you out!
Eat before heading out
With plenty of catch-ups, parties and family get togethers, this time of year can be filled with too much food. A good strategy is to eat something (healthy) before you head out. This will help you not to over indulge. Also, don’t skip meals during the day because you know you are going out later, this too will lead to over eating when you go out.
Avoid drinking your calories, but if you do, choose tall, skinny glasses
Summer is a great time to enjoy a wide variety of seasonal fruit, but don’t juice them. For most people it is way too easy to consume excess calories by drinking fruit and vegetable juices. The same goes for cocktails, beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages. If you are going to have a drink, use a tall skinny glass. Behavioural studies show that people will pour more alcohol in to short wide glasses than tall slender glasses holding the same volume. So using a tall, skinny glass can reduce the amount you drink without even feeling like you are!
To stay active over the Christmas period give active gifts to your children/family members and use them to get everyone moving. If someone has been given water pistols, wii fitness games, cricket kit etc, you can get the whole family involved in some active fun.
Hard and fast workouts
The festive season can be hectic, with less time on your hands to keep up your exercise. Less time does not mean you should put your exercise on hold though. Being active should be seen as a way of life, so instead of your usual sessions, swap longer workouts for short and sharp high intensity ones. I’ve posted quite a few workouts on my blog over the years, many of which would fit right in to this category, like this 10 Minute Workout For The Time Poor.
Christmas Day can mean that snacks and treats are available all day long, I know it does in my family! When food is easy to reach we’re prone to graze mindlessly. A chip here, a lolly there, they all add up. My own rule is that I don’t eat standing up. If you promise yourself you will only eat when sitting at a table you will save yourself from eating excess calories, calories you really didn’t feel like anyway.
Don’t let one bad meal ruin your day
If you do over indulge, don’t let it derail your health for the rest of the day (or week, or year!). The key to maintaining good health is getting back on track from the very next meal. One meal isn’t going to make your pants too tight, but if you keep up bad eating for a whole week, it can really have an impact.
I hope these extra tips help you stay active and healthy over the festive season!