Without doubt the Christmas period can be a tricky time of year where temptations are rife and sometimes hard to resist. There is an abundance of parties to attend, decadent presents given and usually alcohol to consume. With all of this going on exercise is usually pushed aside and we spend more time sitting, sleeping, chatting and generally being sedentary. The average Australian gains 0.8-1.5kg over Christmas and scarily this is rarely lost. Weight gain usually occurs around the waist. Weight gain around this area is associated with chronic disease development such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Luckily there are plenty of easy ways to maintain the hard work you have achieved throughout the year and to not sabotage your current healthy, active routine.
Below are our top 5 tips to help you through the Christmas period and into a prosperous new year.
Tip 1 – Be mindful of overeating
Limit those overindulgent days throughout the silly season. Make a deal with yourself and stick to it! Choose Christmas day and New Year’s Eve for example as the days that you will treat yourself. One or two days of greedy eating won’t be too damaging, whereas using the entire month of December as a festive feeding frenzy will do major damage to your waist line. On this note, be mindful at buffet style Christmas events. Don’t use this style of event to overeat. Choose the foods you really want and enjoy them. Don’t worry about the rest.
Tip 2 – Avoid excessive alcohol intake
It’s common knowledge that alcohol is packed with unwelcomed calories. For example, one glass of white wine contains approximately 120 calories, while one can of beer can contain up to 150 calories. Once you have a few glasses of either it is easy to see how the calories add up! As well as adding to your daily calorie intake, alcohol also loosens your inhibitions therefore making you more likely to reach for the unhealthy food options such as chips and sweets. To combat the alcohol woes, you can dilute you wine or spirits with ice and mineral water or opt for a light beer over a full strength. Let’s not forget about the non-alcoholic options that keep you in the festive spirit such as sparkling water, lime and soda and tea drinks. Additionally, be a nice host and provide these options for your guests.
Tip 3 – Ask Santa for a gym membership
A gym membership could be the best present you have ever received. It allows you access to equipment, classes, pools, exercise physiologists and personal trainers, space and much more every day of the year (some even 24 hours a day). The average health club membership costs between $15-20 per week, which is between $780-1040 per year total. This is a relatively small investment in your health over a whole year considering the average Australian spends $80 per month on fast food, which is $4160 per year on unhealthy, damaging foods. So, go ahead, ask the big guy for a gym membership (or part of a membership) and be healthy all year round.
Tip 4 – Games, games, games
Who doesn’t like playing frisbee, Bocce, Molkky (Finnish skittle game), or backyard cricket in the summer time? These are all inexpensive family friendly games that are enjoyable and get everyone up and moving. A set of Bocce balls will set you back less than $25, while a frisbee can be picked up for just $5. Playing these games in the afternoon sun (with a hat) will give you your daily dose of vitamin D and physical activity. On average, whilst playing recreational frisbee a 60kg person can burn 100 calories in 30 minutes and an 80kg person can burn 130 calories in 30 minutes.
Tip 5 – Any movement is better than nothing
No matter how busy you are, there is always a spare 15-30 minutes in each day to do something constructive for your health and fitness. It can be as a simple as a power walk, HIIT training at home, or swimming. These extra minutes of exercise each day will boost your metabolism and assist to burn off some of those Christmas calories. If you run out of ideas or lack equipment at home there are plenty of free apps to download with easy at home workouts. Rather than creating an excuse not to exercise each day, use this time to workout, and you’ll without doubt feel great for doing it.
We hope these 5 tips will be useful for you over the Christmas season. Give them a go and hit the ground running in 2018.
Merry Christmas and a happy new year!