With the countdown to Christmas officially on, thoughts quickly turn to that all-important dinner on December 25 with all the trimmings.
Think pigs in blankets, creamy mashed potatoes with moreish gravy, honey roasted parsnips… The list is as endless as it is mouthwatering, and we haven’t even mentioned the deserts yet!
Yes, the season to eat, drink and be merry is in full swing and there’s no denying that all we want for Christmas is food.
But even with tinsel covered temptation on every corner, it’s important to be mindful of your health and wellbeing – especially during the cold winter months.
According to the British Nutrition Foundation, research shows that the extra calories consumed across Christmas celebrations, people can gain an average of around 2lbs. Now that might not seem like a huge number, but you can avoid having even an extra few pounds to worry about come the new year just by making a few simple choices over festivities.
Here we shine a light on our top tips to make sure staying healthy over the festive period is anything but bah humbug.
Christmas is a season of indulgence but that doesn’t mean that it should be a season to overindulge. It might seem hard to believe but you can enjoy all the frivolity of the season without having too much of an impact on your health of your waistline.
Christmas is a time of plenty, but your diet doesn’t need to be Scrooge-like thanks to a little planning.
Starting your day with a healthy meal after a 12-hour fast is a positive way to encourage your digestive system to work at its best, and what better way than with a hearty breakfast. As always, it’s important to start the day with a hearty breakfast. A generous bowl of coconut milk and chia seeds sprinkled with berries or any other fruits of your choice will help control your appetite throughout the day and help stabilise your blood sugar.
Avoid mindlessly snacking on boxes of chocolates and if you are nibbling on something, always be sure to ask if you’re hungry or just eating because it’s there. Swap sweets for fruit or a small plain yoghurt with fruit topping for a healthy treat that still offers a sugar boost.
The Christmas period also offers the perfect opportunity to increase your protein intake. Not only is it a chance to enjoy the best traditional meals the season has to offer but tucking into protein heavy dishes is likely to keep you feeling fuller for longer – helping you stay away from the chocolate coins for longer.
The most obvious choice tends to be turkey, but if you’re searching for an alternative festive meat why not try gammon, roast beef or even goose.
Are you a vegan or vegetarian? Fill up on cosy nut roasts packed with protein and good fats.
Vegetables are also a key ingredient to the serving up a truly unforgettable, and incredibly healthy, Christmas dinner. When it comes to veg, cut back on the roast potatoes and opt for leafy green vegetables, carrots and roast parsnips – don’t forget the Brussels sprouts too![LW1] Hearty rooted local vegetables are perfect for your health.
Staying hydrated is also important. Christmas celebrations often come with a drink in hand, so it’s important not to skip meals and ensure you stay hydrated throughout the day to avoid any hangovers. Start your day with a large pint of water and make sure to drink a pint of water before each meal. Not only will this keep you hydrated, it will also fill your stomach a little before a big meal.
And, as always, drinking alcohol responsibly is also key – don’t over do it.
Keeping up with keeping fit
Let’s be honest, most people start the new year with promises of joining the gym or jumping on the bandwagon of the latest fitness fad.
Yes, the new year offers a fresh start and an opportunity to embrace a new outlook for the year ahead but setting a challenge to overhaul your fitness regime when the clock strikes midnight at new year also comes with real pressure.
That’s why it’s important to try and stay as fit as possible throughout the Christmas period – to make sure come the new year, you’re the same you.
Everyone has excuses in December.
“I’m too busy getting ready for Christmas to exercise?”
“I’ve got too many nights out and parties to even think about exercising.”
“I’ll get back to the gym in January…”
Committing to staying fit during the festive season doesn’t need to be difficult but it does require a little planning.
Remember, a little exercise is better than nothing so keeping workouts short and sweet is the ticket to success. Even just five minutes of daily movement can make a big difference.
Are you a keen runner? Shorten the distance and time you run. A fan of resistance training? Reduce your workout by a few sets.
Even something as simple as going for a walk during your lunch break can make a big difference to your fitness levels without interrupting your plans too much.
If you’re still worried about finding the time to sweat it out, why not try a workout at home?
The NHS provides advice about simple, time-effective, equipment-free routines that can easily fit into your daily schedule.
Routines include cardio, toning and abdominal toning exercises – with something to suit all fitness experience and levels.
New year resolutions
According to YouGov statistics, almost two-thirds of people (59%) who make a new year’s resolution say their goal is to exercise more.
However, despite the best of intentions at the start of the year it can often be easier said than done to keep the promises we make at the turn of the year.
Often made in haste amid the buzz of the festivities, it isn’t surprising studies show that up to 20% of resolutions are broken within the first week of January and 80% are broken before the end of the year.
That’s why it’s important that your exercise regime isn’t a resolution – it’s just part of your daily and weekly routine.
Rather than feeling like you’re starting afresh, January should simply feel like a continuation of your exercise routine and offer inspiration to try new things.
However, for those who find themselves avoiding the gym throughout the whole of December there are simple steps you can take to make getting back to the grind just that little easier.
Something as simple as putting on your workout clothes as soon as you get in from work can boost motivation to actually get up and get moving.
We advise people to move at low intensity – either walking or cycling – for 30 minutes each day, sprint once every 10 days and lift heavy weights once a week.
Goal setting is a huge part of keeping up with your personal goals.
At LPW we believe in training for a purpose so please do contact us for help in setting up your goals to last for the year. Our app and team will keep you accountable to your goals
Alternatively, if you’re looking for advice about the best workout plan to suit your lifestyle, our experienced personal trainers and fitness specialists are on hand to help.
To discover more about the services offered at Ludo’s Primal Wellness and how we can help you smash your fitness goals, speak to a member of the team today.
Call us on 0141 565 1331 or email email@example.com