• Rebecca Watts

Surviving the Festive Season

The festive season is upon us again, the time when months of hard work healthy eating and being active can be undone in a couple of weeks.

How do you look your best throughout this festive season?

How do you get through all the Christmas parties and socialising without gaining the weight you have worked hard to get off?

Here are 12 essential tips to help you survive this Christmas

1) Don’t crash diet

Many are guilty of trying on the little back dress the week before your party to realise its bulging in all the wrong places. However, the usual crash dieting is not the answer!

it will only drop your metabolic rate which could mean you pile on the pounds over the festive season, encourage bloating and your immune system will suffer. This is the time you need your energy and food so don’t deprive your body of what it needs just make healthy choices and maybe get yourself a spandex. Or follow the next tip to help reduce the bloat - you will surprised what a difference water can make on your body size

2) Bulge in the right places

Beat the bulge in the wrong places - the best way is to forget the scales and aim to reduce a little of your size by reducing bloating and water retention through small nutrition changes and getting active. You can lose inches by beating the bloat! Your black (or red) dress will thank you for it

Wrap up warm and get walking everyday,

Try an exercise class a couple of times a week to help tone

Drink 2-3 plus litres of water per day

Reduce starchy carbohydrates (rice, bread etc) or even cut out for a week but make sure you increase your vegetable intake

Eat regular, small meals and avoid skipping meals

3) Change the goal

This is not the time of year t be thinking of diets and losing weight, but it is the time to think healthy. Change your goal to maintenance, keeping where you are now, giving you a head start in the new years rather than adding some extra pounds

4) Don't save the calories

So many people panic about nights out and starve all day, saving the calories for the evening. This really isn't a good idea. Significantly reducing calories and food consumption all week will lead to lack of nutrients, energy loss, increased risk of illness which is the last thing you want.

However try balancing out your day with a lower calorie nutritional meal earlier. A great lower calorie meal while still containing plenty of nutrients is a prawn stir fry, keeping protein up and replacing the rice or noodles with more vegetables.

5) Earn the calories

On the day you are going on be more active and earn the calories, go for a long walk, do an extra gym session, clean the house - whatever you can do to burn a couple of hundred more calories.

Try making use of the party atmosphere and dance your calories away!

6) Damage control Christmas meal

How many traditional Christmas meals can ones body take? In theory the christmas dinner is reasonably healthy - a god balance of nutrients, plenty of veggies. However with all the trimmings and the glass or two it can easily add up to 3500 calories! Do that 1-2 times every week throughout December and that blows the years dieting. Follow my damage control Christmas Dinner plan here

7) Workout in the morning

Its so easy with such a busy social diary to skip your usual exercise sessions this season, when really you need them more than ever to counteract the eating and drinking. Try getting up and hour earlier and getting your gym session / home workout or even long dog walk in - you will feel better all day and your don't need to worry about skipping it after a long day at work or to get ready for the evening out.

8) Control the alcohol intake

This is the time of year when many of us drink more with all the christmas parties. Try to control this intake: drink alternatively with water, set alcohol free days, drink moderately and slowly, offer to drive on occasions. Your body, mind and skin will thank you for it

9) Never go out on an empty stomach

Dining out on an empty stomach can lead to over indulging on higher calorie foods and consuming more daily calories than if you had eaten regular healthy meals in the day and a smaller portion when dining out. This is even more important if you are going to an all you can eat buffet. Try having an healthy snack before you leave to help reduce the amount you eat out.

10) Chocolate presents

Chocolate gifts are so easy to buy so we all seem to get a couple of them each year. Try telling your friends and family that you are trying to make an effort with your diet and you would prefer not to receive them. They will understand and maybe even join you. Any you do get, give away before you open them

11) Eat slowly and drink water

Make sure that you are properly hydrated, being thirsty can often be mistaken for hunger. Throughout your meal, eat the food slowly and drink plenty of water this way you allow your stomach time to acknowledge the food and the water helps fill you up

12) Enjoy

Most importantly whatever way you choose to minimise the effects on your goal, enjoy your meal. It is important that we enjoy food and dont see food as the enemy, don’t feel guilty all the way through it as this can have a roll on effect to the next day and often longer.