How to indulge and stay fit and fabulous at Christmas How to indulge and stay fit and fabulous at Christmas

The average person gains an extra two kilgrams over the festive season. But unlike unwanted Christmas presents, those sneaky kilos don’t come with a return slip.

Sure, Christmas is a time to indulge, but don’t let Santa’s arrival turn you into a jolly snowman; follow our tips for a light and lean Christmas, while still enjoying the occasional treat or two.

1. Christmas is one day

Yes, Christmas is one day, but we seem to celebrate it from November 1 right through to the start of January. If you indulge at every festive event, there’s no doubt you’ll be harbouring a few extra kilos under your Santa suit by Christmas Eve. So pick and choose the events you’re going to indulge at. Differentiate special occasions from run-of-the-mill drinks with acquaintances, and make sure you have a healthy meal before you hit the parties you want to be restrained at – deep-fried canapés do not constitute a meal.

2. Go for quality, not quantity

Don’t waste kilojoules on cheap crackers and supermarket cheese – this is the season to indulge, so do it with style. Savour the experience of eating good-quality food occasionally. Summer fruits and fresh seafood pack a flavour punch with a fraction of the kilojoules of cheap chips and chocolate cupcakes.

3. Make time to work out

Between the extra parties and days off work, it’s easy to fall out of your usual workout routine in December. But you’ll be thankful you stayed on track in the coming warmer months. Make movement a daily priority; a quick circuit routine at your local Fernwood or a sprint around the block will do your energy levels wonders while helping you burn off a few of those sneaky cocktails too.

4. Get enough sleep

Late nights and champagne dinners can catch up on you quite quickly – making that workout session the next day rather unappealing. So splurge on a luxurious new bed spread as an early Christmas present to entice you under the covers before midnight. That way, you’ll ensure you get enough shut-eye so you can get up bright and early to make your morning BodyPump class.

5. Drink responsibly

The liquid kilojoules in alcoholic beverages really add up. Half a bottle of wine will give you the same number of kilojoules as a McDonald’s Strawberry Sundae. Plus, alcohol has been scientifically proven to stimulate your appetite and make you crave fatty food. So after a few festive cheers those canapés you were smart enough to avoid at the beginning of the night will start to look mighty tasty. This is a time to treat yourself, so there’s no need to abstain altogether. But if you like to hold something in your hand while you’re at a party, switch to plain or sparkling mineral water after a glass or two to stay in control of your choices.

6. Start each day with a healthy breakfast

A popular strategy for weight maintenance over Christmas is skipping breakfast. But think twice before making this mistake. A sensible breakfast sets you up for better choices later in the day, because you won’t have that mentality of being able to indulge in extra kilojoules saved from skipping your morning muesli. Starting each day on the right foot will allow you to feel like you’re getting off to a good start, even if you have overindulged a little the night before.