It’s the most indulgent time of the year… the chocolates are open; the food is a-flowing and we’re all drinking beer…
Not quite the lyrics we’re used to but if bucks fizz is your true Christmas spirit then the thought that counts is not the sentiment behind the gifts but the whopping 7,000 calories the typical Brit totals through the numerous tipples, snacks and indulgences on the 25th.
But with a little forward planning and some seasonal self-control you can radically reduce your consumption at Christmas. Here’s how…
1. Start the Day with Activity
Take a leaf from the Serpentine swimmers and start the day with activity. Do your research and you may be lucky enough to have a fitness facility near you open on 25th December. There’s the outdoor pool in Hampton, indoor pools in Guildford and a gym in Great Yarmouth all open on the big day.
If you’re not near a fitness facility that is open buddy up with a friend and go for a bike ride or wrap up with the family for a festive walk. Aim to be out for at least an hour to burn off your breakfast and set your mood to motivated for the day ahead.
2. Compete in the Christmas Calorie Countdown
No one likes the dishes on Christmas so make a game of avoiding them by giving the job to whoever indulges the most before the Queen’s speech.
Create a chart and put it somewhere everyone can see. Decide how many points you’ll give sweets, mince pies, crisps and Alcoholic Beverages. Off set them with deductions for healthy options like water, fruit and veg.
And remind the lucky winner of the prize that cleaning up that a 30-minute clean-up will result in an 85 calorie off set.
3. Make board games active
The traditional family board game is usually a very sedentary affair but it needn’t be. There are many inventive ways to weave a Workout into whatever game you play.
If two die are being thrown reward every double with three circuits of the dinner table, between goes get those who are waiting their turn to sit in the invisible chair (see how long they can hold a squat) and give random physical ‘punishments’ every time a player misses a turn.
4. Keep Temptation Out of Sight and Closed Tight
Restrict your access to the savoury snacks and sweet treats throughout the day by restricting what you open and how easy it is to access.
Only half-fill bowls with nuts and crisps, pop the Quality Street in the other room and once a bowl is empty leave it for at least an hour before refilling.
And match every naughty nibble with healthy alternatives like crunchy crudities, a filling fruit platter and plenty of water for all.
5. Finish the day with a song and a dance
With your spirits lifted your inhibitions are low, so take advantage with a seasonal shake down to some of your favourite tunes. Dim the lights, get out the glow sticks and shake your calories and cares away by getting your groove on with Granny.
You could add a competitive element like ‘strictly’ or even choreograph a performance with the kids – because you’ll want to show them how it’s done. Before you know it an hour could well have passed and taken 440 calories with it.
Don’t wish it could be Christmas every day!
As great as it is getting together with the family, gorging on food, getting spoilt with gifts and enjoying the day most people can’t wait to return to normal.
Let’s face it few of us make it through Christmas without overdoing the food and drink but remember it’s just one out of 365 days. If you do gorge the full 7,000 calories on the day use the seven days up to New Year to burn off the excess. A brisk hour-long walk coupled with a 20-minute HIIT session while the office is closed will do the trick.
Then you’re ready for the New Year!