Are you looking forward to Christmas but dreading the weight-gain, bloating and sluggish-ness that often comes with it?  Don’t want to undo all the good work you’ve put in improving your health/waist line this year or simply want to go into the New Year glowing?

Here are some simple tips which won’t stop you having fun, but will help to keep you feeling and looking good and prevent unwanted weight gain.

Alcohol

  • Alcohol is full of empty calories which will go straight to your waist line. It also puts a big strain on your liver, pulling your overall health down, making you feel and look tired and will play havoc with your skin.
  • Drink a glass of still or sparkling water when you first arrive at any party or family event to ensure you are not thirsty. This will help you not to over eat as well as reducing your alcohol intake by slowing your drinking down.
  • Only drink alcohol if you really want to drink it. This sounds obvious but it is amazing what we do to make other people feel happy and comfortable.  If you don’t really fancy it, say no.
  • Don’t let anyone top up your glass unless it is empty so you can keep track of how many glasses you have had.
  • Offer to be the driver to ensure some alcohol free nights
  • Plan your festive drinking so that you get at least three completely alcohol free days each week.
  • Stop drinking an hour before you head home and finish the night with water or herbal tea to re-hydrate and start the detox process before bed. You will sleep better and wake up more refreshed.

Smart Eating

  • Fill your house with delicious healthy treats – put bowls of satsumas or nuts and a nutcracker out on the table.
  • Make sure you eat your five a day. Start the day by including some fruit with your breakfast.  Snack on fruit or nuts before looking around for sugary snacks.  Pile the vegetables up high on your plate and take either a couple of small roast potatoes or one Yorkshire puddings at each meal, not both.
  • Make it a rule that if you go back for second helpings you only allow yourself meat and vegetables – no extra potatoes or yorkies!
  • Eat slowly and give yourself time to recognise whether you are still hungry or not before taking more.
  • Don’t buy sweet treats to keep at home that you actually like. Pick ones you don’t like so you have something to offer guests, but won’t be tempted yourself.  Or go one step further and don’t buy any unhealthy snacks at all.  It is impossible to have strong will power all the time, but if you don’t buy snacks in the first place then they won’t be there to eat when your will power is waining!
  • Avoid snacking between meals if you can. Don’t say yes to mince pies or biscuits just because they are offered to you.  Politely decline and just have a hot drink instead.
  • Share deserts with someone if eating out and choose the lower calorie options whenever you can – or just finish your meal with a coffee or fresh mint tea!

Keep Moving! 

  • Regular exercise will keep your metabolic rate up so you keep burning calories. It will improve your digestion and make you less likely to over eat.  It will also make you feel more energised and lift your mood as well as help you to sleep better!
  • Make sure you fit in a brisk 30 minute walk every day of the festive season. First thing in the morning while everyone else is still waking up might be best time or take relatives out with you before or after lunch, or just find an excuse to leave the house and get out on your own.
  • If you can’t fit in a walk during the day, spend 30 minutes in the evening doing some exercise at home – use a YouTube video to inspire you, but don’t feel you have to follow it to the letter, just have it on to give you a pace but change any exercise you don’t like to one you prefer. It doesn’t really matter what you do, the point is to do something!
  • If you’ve had a long drive to reach relatives arrive twenty minutes early, park up and go for a brisk walk around the block to loosen up your body and get your heart rate up and circulation going before knocking at the door – it will give you a healthy glow and break up hours of sitting!
  • Organise to meet a friend for a walk or drop the kids off with relatives and ask to be excused for an hour so you can get some fresh air.
  • Get the children moving too: take them for a swim, ice skating, football in the park or a winter walk. Get wi fit or wi dance on in the house and get everybody moving together.
  • Get out in the garden raking up the leaves or just tidying up, it will lift your spirits.

Put these simple guidelines in place and together they can make a big difference to how you look and feel and will help you to have a happier Christmas than ever!