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Temptation lurks around every corner the moment December hits. The radio becomes full of Slade one hit wonders, Shakin’ Stevens is regaling you about how the snow is falling all around him, and John Lennon is telling you optimistically that war is over once again. Mince pies are springing up in every eatery, the smell of mulled wine is making you salivate, and you can almost see the pounds add to your waistline by just thinking about festive food.
Christmas is traditionally a time of excess, overeating, drinking and being merry. However, this year, you don’t want this attitude to blemish the fantastic efforts you have put into maintaining your health. You may have shifted your love handles, utilised your gym membership more and become generally more active. You don’t want to muffin top to reemerge. Take a look at these three simple ways to stay healthy this Christmas.
Eat Better over Christmas
Ok, so the chances are that you will have a mince pie or two, you might partake in a sherry, and you will enjoy your festive feast. However, one day out of a whole month is no bad thing. During the festive season you should be treating yourself, but not for the entire month of December. Take Christmas Day and Boxing Day and enjoy your gastronomic fayre without fear of putting on weight or guilt. All other days you should be sticking to your current way of eating, which is working wonders for your figure and your health.
If you are a sucker for sweet treats, consider making your own healthier versions. Search online, and there are plenty of recipes for low GI Christmas gingerbread, vegan cheesecake or alcohol free festive cocktails. There’s nothing worse than getting to 1st January and realising that you have put on weight and your previous year of hard work has gone to waste.
Vices over Christmas
If you are a bit of a drinker or you have been known to smoke socially, now is the time to nip it in the bud. Alternatives to smoking are explored here, and instead of gulping down the prosecco, you could partake in a mocktail or two. The spiced apple drinks complete with star anise, five spice, ginger, and cinnamon are healthy and full of antioxidants.
If you do enjoy a tipple or two, ration your drinking so that you don’t fall into a binge drinking pattern. Opt for a Bucks Fizz with fresh orange juice rather than champagne and don’t drink quickly. Savour every sip and make your Bailey’s last. If you enter into the festive season with the mindset of only allowing Christmas Day and Boxing Day to eat, drink and be merry, the chances are that you won’t do any lasting damage to your healthy lifestyle.
Get Physical this Christmas
Rather than heading to the pub on Christmas Eve, why not venture outside for a walk. The cool, crisp winter air can be rejuvenating and set you up nicely for the festivities of the following day. If you have a gym membership, continue using it. While you won’t be hot footing it to a spin class on Christmas Day, you can still head for a run on the treadmill, a Zumba class or a spot of Boxercise in December. Christmas is only a couple of days so don’t be seduced by the excesses tempting you for the whole month. There’s even Parkrun being hosted on Christmas Day in some locations!
Go for a bike ride, walk down to your local park and continue jogging. If you are finding your motivation waning a little, rope in a pal to help boost your morale. Discuss your Christmas plans while you challenge one another to a gentle jog around the park. Complete a 30-day abs blast together and work on your plank times. A little gentle competition never hurt anyone and can do wonders to relocate your exercise mojo.
As a treat to yourself this Christmas, you might even want to take up a new sport or activity. If you’ve ever fancied trying a martial art, giving boxing a go or heading to the local five a side football pitch to join the ladies team, there’s never been a better time to take the plunge. This is one of the best ways to mitigate your festive food intake this Christmas.
If you love nothing more than revelling in the joys of Christmas, you must take extra care not to undo all of the hard work that you have put into maintaining your health. Follow this guide, and you can ensure that you stay healthy this winter holiday.