Food and festivities go hand in hand – have too much in your hands however, and you may end up feeling less than jolly.
Christmas is the time for a little end of year indulgence, and we’d be lying if we said we were sticklers for avoiding pavlovas, potatoes and puddings. After all – ‘tis the season to be eating.
However, by keeping a few tips in mind, we can avoid overindulging and dealing with the repercussions of a month-long binge in the spirit of Christmas.
Weigh up your options
Fruit, seafood and crisp salads – an Australian summer brings with it a tonne of fresh produce, making it an easy and healthy option to put on the table. When you’re faced with the delicious assortment of freshly baked goods and homemade sweets, always balance out your naughty with some nice. Decide on what you definitely MUST have and what you can pass on.
Treats, not blowouts
Unless you’re bulking, try not to eat two huge meals per day – it’ll only leave you feeling stuffed and lethargic. If you have two events to attend on the same day, make one of them a light meal – don’t feel pressured to pile up your plate in the name of being social.
Drinks and canapés – aka, the backbone of every good Christmas party – can often lead to consuming more calories than you think you’re going to. Before a night of celebrations, ensure you have a pre-party snack like banana and yoghurt, toast and nut butter or a mug of homemade vegetable soup.
Then of course come the in-between treats – the little bowls full of chocolates, lollies and salty snacks that seem to permeate throughout every room in the house can feel impossible to walk past without grabbing a handful. Keep your hands to yourself, or if you can’t resist, try to keep track of what and how much you’ve eaten in between meals.
Limit the booze
From champagne breakfasts through to cocktail parties that stretch into the late evening, alcohol and Christmas are notorious for leading you towards the table full of party pies and fried foods.
Limit the booze to help stay on track. Dilute wine and spirits with mineral water and ice, opt for light beer, and try to balance out a drink with a glass or two of water in between.
Get up and active
Your increase in Christmas treats requires an outlet. If you can, keep your gym visits regular, go for walks in between meals and get active with the family with outdoor cricket, swimming and bike riding.
Make it an activity, not a chore
Christmas is often the time for group gatherings and family vacations. Since it’s also the time of long summer days, and time spent outdoors, make exercise an activity to be enjoyed by the whole family. Swimming, hiking and biking aren’t limited to age – make it enjoyable and spend some quality time with your nearest and dearest while getting your heart pumping.
As well as assisting in your Christmas party overindulgences, drinking a lot of water throughout the day will help to satiate your appetite, as well as assisting in steadying your levels of energy and focus. Keep a water bottle with you if you’re travelling around, and be sure to consume water in between drinks.
Stick to a strength training routine
After a few days of less-than-clean eating, you may be tempted to jump on the treadmill and work up a sweat with an overload of cardio, however it’s important to keep your strength training on track. Strength training can burn just as many calories as cardio, and with all the extra gains you’ve consumed, you may even gain some extra muscle (much better than gaining holiday fat).
This blog originally appeared on the website of our partner, the Australian Institute of Personal Trainers (AIPT). You can view it here.