The goose is getting fat, you’ll drink mulled wine and eat too much and wear a paper hat!
Gaining weight over Christmas is easily done and that’s why January is the busiest time of year for Personal Trainers! However at the risk of talking us out of business, I wanted to pass on some tips to make sure you are not too regret-filled come January 1.
The biggest mistake people make is to say ‘it’s only once a year’. If it was only one day a year then little damage would be done. However Christmas starts with a succession of parties in early to mid-December and carries right on to the drinking festival of New Year’s Eve. In that time the ‘it’s only once a year’ line will be rolled out multiple times.
As the festive season approaches, plan for which parties and celebrations you will really ‘let your hair down’ and which ones you will be more self-controlled. You might volunteer to be designated driver for some so that you don’t drink. Make sure you choose healthier snacks and meals at the sensible events and your calorie intake will probably be no different to any other day of the year, therefore no damage done.
Remember for every large glass of wine or pint you drink you need to run a mile or spend twenty minutes in the gym to burn off the calories. However it’s not only alcohol that piles on the pounds. Party food is nearly always high in fat, sugar or both. We also tend to eat until we need a forklift truck to carry us home rather than eating until pleasantly full like we normally would. If you eat whatever foods you want on ‘let your hair down’ days, but only eat until pleasantly full, you won’t do too much calorie damage.
During the rest of the year you probably schedule exercise into your routine. Why should this stop at Christmas? I tend to find Christmas cheer extends almost everywhere (apart from shopping in town!) so going to the gym or out for a run is more fun as people are friendlier and gyms are often quieter. Plan to get a bit of exercise in and you can party away guilt free.
I’m definitely no Scrooge and I will eat, drink and be merrier than usual in December. However with a little planning and some regular exercise, January will not be filled with dread and every glass of mulled wine tastes a little sweeter!
Jamie Johnston is an At Home Fitness Personal Trainer in Birmingham
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