It's Christmas and for many people it's justification to over-indulge and eat as much as they can because it only comes around once a year. Well did you know the average Brit consumes around 8000 calories on Christmas Day alone so you can imagine what the surplus calories would amount to over the whole of the festive period! As the saying goes, 'this month's choices create next month's body' so you want to be aware of how much damage you're doing because after all, prevention is better than cure! To have more control, download a free calorie-tracking mobile app such as My Fitness Pal and enter in everything you consume. You'll be surprised at how quickly the calories add up!
The more you move around the more calories you will burn. If you can squeeze in three workouts a week, that's great or try early morning Tabata for fast fat burning in as little as 4 minutes. Training with weights is optimal but remember, you don't need a gym to exercise, there are plenty of home based workouts available online for free, just get moving! Also, instead of playing drinking games, which will only add empty calories, why not get the whole family involved, including the kids and play games where the loser has to do a forfeit such as 10 burpees or a minute of press-ups? Or perhaps a stroll outside with some company after your Christmas meal is more appealing?
Get ready for the big feast by consuming lots of dark green leafy vegetables in the days leading up to Christmas and afterwards (obviously, besides sprouts, you won't want to be eating greens on Christmas Day)! Green vegetables in particular are highly alkaline and will offset the acidic conditions which eating a lot of meats can produce in the body. They are antioxidants which remove free radicals and other toxins from your body. Dark green leafy vegetables also contain high amounts of fibre, which is great for weight loss and can help control hunger. Examples of these superfoods are spinach and kale, which can be blended with a fruit such as blueberries to make an easy to drink smoothie.
Choose the right snacks
According to a study in the American Dietetic Association, women who ate mid-morning had a tendency to carry on picking at foods throughout the day. To avoid getting the munchies and grabbing those chocolates or mince pies, make sure you eat a good breakfast such as eggs or Greek yoghurt with blueberries and nuts as these will keep you fuller for longer and help you avoid the Christmas weight gain. When you feel the need to snack go for pretzels, raisins, dried fruit or unsalted nuts but even with these, don't go overboard. If you really do want chocolate, practise portion control; have a handful instead of the whole tin!
With lots of partying and high alcohol consumption, another thing people lose track of is how many units they are actually drinking and how it can damage their health. Be kind to your liver because keeping it in good condition over the Christmas period means it will be able to digest fat efficiently, enabling you to indulge a little, suggests nutritional expert Dr Simone Laubscher. To help keep it and your kidneys in good nick, squeeze half a lemon in warm water and drink it first thing in the morning. Also it's essential to stay hydrated and alcohol will inhibit this further. If you struggle to drink the recommended 2 litres of water a day, try green tea or other herbal teas to make up some of the requirement. When having alcohol, choose a gin and tonic or colourless spirit such as Bacardi or Vodka with a diet mixer as these have lower calories. Ditch the mulled wine and go for a dry red instead as it contains a lot less sugar. Also drink a glass of water in between your alcohol beverages to avoid dehydration and to help with hangovers.
And finally....Give away the leftovers!
As long as it's in the house, it's likely that you will eat it so send your guests home with leftover Christmas dinner and any other snacks to avoid turning an indulgence day into a week! Get back into your normal routine of things as quickly as possible and create a list of fitness goals to try and get healthier. Physically writing down your goals will make them more concrete, resulting in you actually making an attempt to try and achieve them.