Beat The Bulge This Christmas

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There’s only one thing worse than receiving socks at Christmas, and that’s letting your year’s worth of hard work go to waste. All too often, our health and fitness goals fly out of the window as soon as the holiday season sets in, and staying in shape becomes harder than ever when Christmas parties and toffee nut lattes taint our healthy intentions. However, there are a few simple tips you can follow to beat the bulge and cope with the inevitable indulgences that come with the party season.

Season’s Eatings

While you may think that you can work off a day of treats, it doesn’t quite work like that! Instead, focus on maintaining a healthy diet and try to keep those wild, overindulgent days to a minimum. Start your day with a nutritious breakfast such as porridge with mixed nuts or poached eggs and avocado to set up your healthy mind set and stabilise your blood sugar levels throughout the morning.

If your holiday schedule’s packed with festive parties, make sure to have a pre-event snack to avoid the buffet binge and that third round of canapés. If you can’t resist the buffet zone, opt for protein-based foods such as salmon or chicken and move away from the table once your plate gets full. Make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day too – it’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger, which is a recipe for disaster especially when the chocolate box is left lying around.

Winter Workouts

When all we want to do is get merry and hide from the cold, working out is usually the last thing on our minds. Plus, as social events get thrown into the mix it becomes increasingly difficult to stick to a consistent workout schedule. But don’t quit just because it’s Christmas! Look to incorporate short but intensive workouts into your day to maintain your workout mojo and keep your fitness levels and healthy mentality on point.

If you know you’ve got a work or social outing in the evening, sneak a half hour gym session into your lunch break or even a 20-minute bodyweight workout at home first thing. Complete each high-intensity exercise for 1 minute with a 20-second rest in-between to blitz fat and boost your metabolism. Try to exercise early on too, so you can enjoy the rest of your day without your workout date hanging over your head. Alternatively, embrace the winter weather and get yourself outdoors for a Christmas walk or ice-skating in the open air. Not only will maintaining your fitness levels beat the holiday bulge, it’ll also help to fight Christmas-related stress and you’ll find it much easier to get back into your usual routine once the festive period is over.

Liquid Calories

Late nights and endless social events mean that alcohol units quickly rack up. While boozy indulgences are undeniably an enjoyable part of the season, those extra liquid calories can play havoc on your waistline. However, that doesn’t mean you need to go completely teetotal – rather be sensible with your alcoholic picks instead.

Stick to one type of drink if possible and sip on a sneaky glass of water in-between beverages to allow your liver to process the alcohol. Be mindful of what’s going into your drink too – a Margarita, for example, can pack a whopping 500 calories per glass, while a bottled light beer is only around 100.

To beat your Christmas hangover, opt for a hearty but nourishing meal that will stabilise your insulin levels and keep your cravings at bay. Eggs are a great choice in a morning to help support your liver, and bananas are a well-known hangover remedy as they help to restore your potassium levels along with the electrolytes lost from drinking. Remember to stay hydrated as well to help you to flush out the toxins from the night before.

Take care of your body over the Christmas season and remember to relax too! While there’s nothing wrong with a little indulgence, save your blowouts for special days and try to stick to the 80/20 principle so you can enjoy your festive feasts but still maintain your pre-holiday shape.

 Article originally printed in Issue 19 of Expatriates Magazine, Download the full issue here or collect a print copy here