In the Western world, Christmas time can become a little excessive. We buy too many presents, spend too much money, and yes, eat too much food.
This means that when the holidays end it’s not just your family budget that feels a little tight, your pants also appear to have shrunk in the wash. Or is that the holiday weight? Yes, it can be a hard thing to come to grips with, but a combination of lots of rich food, a few too many celebratory tipples, and a bit of a sedentary period of relaxation can leave you a bit rounder than you were before. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way this year.
In fact, we think we’re cracked the code for keeping both you, and your family, fit this Christmas!
1. Don’t Skip Meals
It can be tempting over Christmas, especially if you’re attending a number of parties, to skip meals early in the day in preparation for indulging later in the evening. However, this behaviour is actually more harmful than beneficial as it can leave you hungrier and more at risk of over eating. If you show up to a party hungry, not only are you likely to eat more, but you can make yourself feel sick by trying to satiate your hunger in as short a period as possible. Instead of doing this, eat balanced meals throughout the day, particularly a good nutritious breakfast and lunch that will keep your energy levels up.
2. Build In Activity
Australia is better off than many other Western countries in this regard, as our Christmas season happens during the height of summer. This means it should be relatively easy to add activity into your Christmas schedule. Start your morning early with a walk or a bike ride, and then your body will be kickstarted and ready to go for any Christmas party celebrations. If possible, also try to do some kind of exercise after dinner, particularly on Christmas Day. A little stroll with the family will put everyone in a better mood, and ward off the sleepiness of decadent Christmas food.
3. Miniature Indulgence
There’s nothing wrong with indulging over Christmas, but you need to manage indulgence with your intention to stay fit. So why not allow yourself to indulge, but only in tiny portions. Think about the kinds of foods that you never eat unless it’s Christmas time, like mince pies, and try to limit your indulgence to just those things. Along with that, take your time eating those little treats. Savour a mince pie by taking small bites and really enjoying the Christmas favours. By stopping to really enjoy it, and be mindful of what you’re eating, you’re unlikely to eat as many.
4. Change How You Think About Alcohol
Much of the calories that we consume over the holiday season are in the form of liquid calories, from alcohol and holiday beverages. This can be a hard thing to get around as much of our celebration is entered on alcohol, and at parties even if there isn’t a lot of food provided there will almost always be drinks. So, take a moment to reframe your thinking. You might have five or six drinks at a party, but they can contain a lot of sugar. Would you sit down and drink 6 cans of coke in an afternoon? Probably not, so why are you able to drink so much alcohol? Thinking about this every time you reach for a drink, as well as balancing your alcohol intake with water, is a great way to beat this.
5. Eat Less, More Often
The problem with Christmas is that you tend to be eating all of the time, snacking throughout the day. Now, we’ve already talked about not skipping meals, but there is another method that works for some over the Christmas season. Instead of focusing on three large meals a day, consider breaking your mealtimes into five or six smaller meals. Of course, you’ll need to watch your portion sizes, and make sure your meals balance nutrition with treats, but it can be a better way to stave off hunger and stop yourself from overindulging without limit.
6. Make Sport A Tradition
In Australia Christmas time used to be about getting out and enjoying the summer. But for some reason adults are becoming more and more sedentary. Look, we understand that you want to relax, but getting up and getting some exercise will do you more good than you might think. Change up how you celebrate Christmas this year by making sport a part of your traditional celebration. Break out the cricket bats and have a game, knock a few tennis balls around, play a game of footy, or even get a frisbee flying around. It’s not just a great way to bond and have a laugh, it’s a great way to stay fit and balance out those Christmas treats.