Christmas comes but once a year, but when Santa Claus jingles his way into town he brings with him a sleighful of naughty treats and tantalising tipples.
For anyone on a health and fitness regime, it presents a significant challenge. How to maintain all that hard work without locking yourself away in a cupboard under the stairs?
Fortunately, it is possible to survive the party season without piling on the pounds. After all, you’ve worked so hard in the gym all year – now it’s time to show off the results!
But we wouldn’t send you out into the wilds of Christmas debauchery without a little help. Read on for our top tips to navigating the party month of December with your health and fitness (almost) intact…
Up the exercise
With Christmas parties cluttering up your calendar, it may seem impossible to fit in any extra gym sessions. But, there’s always time. Get up half an hour earlier to get yourself into the gym or run outside. If that fails, then squeeze in a session during your lunchbreak.
And don’t forget all that incidental exercise that can help keep you on the straight and narrow. Take the stairs when you can, get off the bus a stop early and walk – just a few minutes here and there can make all the difference.
Pick your poison
While all alcohol comes with a price, on the carbohydrates front, some are worse than others. Beer will blow your macronutrients off the charts, but wine isn’t quite as bad – particularly sparkling.
Some spirits such as vodka can help you keep those calories down too, but it depends what you mix them with – switch the soft drinks for soda water.
But remember, it’s not just about the calories. It’s the other negative effects of booze that can really cause problems. We’re talking dehydration, junk food cravings, poor quality sleep and its impact on your body’s ability to synthesise protein among others.
Ration those treats
Of course, there are going to be a few treats involved over the festive season, but try and limit them.
Keep the kitchen pantry stocked with plenty of healthy goodies that you can turn to when temptation strikes – nuts, fruit, healthy dips and crudités are all great options.
At parties, swerve the greasy pastries being passed round on trays and instead seize upon the chargrilled prawns and vegetable skewers.
You don’t have to accept every invitation that comes your way. Being a social butterfly can really be quite exhausting. If you’re keen to survive the season without a meltdown, then cherrypick your parties.
Do this and you’ll find you enjoy the parties that you do attend all the more. You’ll also save money on all those party clothes and, importantly, the opportunities for overindulgence will be significantly decreased.