Get fit, not fat, this Christmas
The festive season is upon us, and that can only mean diet debauchery, abandoned fitness regimes and six-hour TV marathons. But it doesn't have to be this way. With a little forward planning and a smidgeon of self-discipline, it is perfectly possible to enjoy a happy Christmas and enter the New Year feeling fit, not fat.
Many people fall off the exercise bandwagon at Christmas, or rule out the idea of getting into shape during the festive period, assuming there is no point in starting until the New Year.
But given that one of the biggest barriers to exercise is lack of time, a break from the usual routine can provide the ideal opportunity to begin or maintain physical activity. Staying active over Christmas not only reduces your chances of gaining weight, it also helps energise you, reduces stress and gives you a break.
Exercising first thing may entail getting up a little earlier than normal, but it does ensure that you get your workout done before other commitments and crises get in the way - and it will kickstart your metabolism for the rest of the day.
Workouts don't need to be long to be beneficial. If you're prepared to work hard, you can fit a super workout into just a 30-minute window. It's a trade-off between duration and intensity.
If an influx of family and visitors make it difficult to do your usual workout, try to get everyone involved in something seasonal, like ice skating or a winter walk.
If you can't drag yourself - or anyone else - outdoors, look for indoor alternatives to slumping on the sofa. The ubiquitous Wii-Fit Plus or XBOX360 Kinect - maybe you´ll find one of these gifts underneath the Christmas tree - offers a realm of opportunities for hitting virtual tennis balls, punching invisible targets or having a dance battle without leaving the living room.
While it would be rather Scrooge-like to suggest that you forgot all treats and extras at Christmas, you can limit the damage by selecting your festive foods more carefully. Try choosing healthier nibbles like pretzels, roasted chestnuts, unsalted nuts, dried fruits or satsumas instead of crisps and chocolate. And think twice before you open your mouth. Do you really want it, or are you just eating it because it's there?
Don't feel obliged to eat more than you normally would, just because it's Christmas. Turning down seconds doesn't mean you didn't enjoy your meal - it's just that you have had enough.
Similarly, there is nothing wrong with politely putting your hand over your glass when it still has wine left in it, so that you can keep track of how much you've had. When the whole season is an excuse for celebration, those alcohol units can really mount up. Mulled wine on Christmas Eve, buck's fizz with breakfast, wine with dinner, Baileys, brandy … Keep tabs on how much you are drinking, and intersperse alcoholic drinks with soft ones and plenty of water.
It's worth bearing in mind that it's not the amount you exercise and eat between Christmas and New Year that is the problem - it's what you do between New Year and Christmas that makes the real difference!
I found in the internet this helpful pdf-file for Xmas & New Year ’s Calorie Countdown, which I want to share with you.
I´ll be off to St.Anton in Austria for a sporty Christmas Season from December 23 to December 25: Skiing, Winter walk, Swimming in the hotel pool and using the gym!