The festive period may not appear to be the ideal time of year to even think about maintaining a trim figure. But with these easy-to-action tips, you may be surprised at just how effortless it is to keep the pounds from piling on over the holidays.
1. Hydration For A Happy Body
Staying adequately hydrated is vital to maintain general wellness of mind and body, but it is even more important over the Christmas period when we’re likely to be putting pressure on our bodies with extra alcohol, increased stress, and late nights. As well as keeping our systems running smoothly, ensuring we’re getting enough water through the course of the day can cut down on the urge to snack and help us to have better quality sleep at night. It’s great for digestive health, too, which can also sometimes struggle to cope with the extra gastric demands of Yule!
If you’re out drinking over the holidays, try to have a glass of water for every alcoholic drink you consume. Make spirit-based drinks long by asking the bar person for a double measure of tonic or lemonade per shot, and have ice in your drinks where you can to boost your fluid levels. At home, keep a jug of water in the fridge with a few slices of lime in to help encourage you to sip on something refreshing throughout the day. Try to eat more fruit, too, especially grapes and watermelon, which have a high water content.
2. Get In The Greens
To help maintain your figure, opt for plenty of leafy greens on your plate: try to incorporate them into as many meals as you can, or choose dishes that feature them if you’re dining out. Foods like spinach, chard, kale, and broccoli are jam-packed with minerals, vitamins, nutrients, and fiber; the latter helps you to feel fuller for longer, meaning that you’re less likely to snack on the mince pies and other festive buffet fare lying around all over the place at this time of year.
The B vitamins contained in leafy greens boost the metabolism, helping to speed up digestion and promoting the burning off of calories, further helping your figure to survive the Christmas onslaught. To read about more foods that can help you stay in shape, go now to this post on the best foods to promote a flatter tummy – and the ones to avoid!
Think outside the box, too, in terms of incorporating leafy greens into your home-cooking. For example, spinach doesn’t need to be boiled; it can also be wilted with a little butter and garlic for a delicious side dish, added to a pasta bake, or even used shredded as a pizza topping. Kale can be oven-baked on high heat with a sprinkling of salt for a tasty, nutritious snack to enjoy while watching a classic Christmas film.
3. Keep Active
The festive holidays can seem tailor-made for hibernating in front of the tv under a blanket, with a conveyor belt of chocolate tins rolling across our laps. And, for sure, Christmas should definitely incorporate a good amount of this. But to keep our fitness levels where we want them to be, we’re going to have to haul ourselves off the sofa and do some exercise: the trick is to make this as enticing as possible.
Little changes can make a big difference: if you’re planning a family meal at a pub in the next village and walking is an option, make the walking part of the activity. If the kids have got a new game on the console that involves physical activity, join in. Have a go, as a family, at some online yoga sessions or aerobic workouts, or just do some work with hand weights for five minutes a couple of times a day to your favorite festive songs. Aim to be active every day, and you may be surprised at how effective this is at keeping the Christmas weight from piling on.
4. Stick With Routine
It can be easy, over the holidays, to let routine go out of the window and pay no attention to our usual breakfast, lunch, and dinner times, instead just grabbing tasty morsels as and when we fancy them. Keeping a basic routine, however, will serve your figure well. Don’t be tempted to skip breakfast or to designate the four mince pies and a pack of chocolate coins you ate as your morning meal. Instead, make sure you eat a nutritious breakfast every day: this can still be a delicious treat: scramble some eggs and serve with slivers of smoked salmon or mix slices of mango, pineapple, and papaya into a bowl of Greek yogurt.
Sticking to a routine will help you monitor and be aware of the amount of food and calories you’re consuming throughout the day. Picking on yummy bits and pieces here and there can often result in us eating much more than we realize. Of course, on Christmas Day itself, do whatever you like, but maintaining your regular eating pattern over the rest of the holidays will make a huge difference to your efforts at keeping trim.
5. Sleep Your Way Slim
When we don’t get sufficient good quality sleep, our bodies release hormones that affect our appetites, making us feel hungrier and want to eat more, especially more high-fat foods, than we would otherwise. Lack of sleep can be an issue throughout the holidays, with stress, frequent parties, and disruption to our usual routines all wreaking havoc on our ability to get the recommended eight hours of kip a night.
Combat this by making sure you don’t say yes to too many invites. Give yourself at least one self-nurture night a week when you shut out the world, run a deep bath, put on a face mask, and forget for a few hours that you still haven’t found a present for your dad and that the dog has defiled the spare bed on which your brother and his wife were due to sleep in on Boxing Day night.
Help your body prepare for sleep nightly by having a wind-down routine; this could incorporate a few minutes of meditation, spraying some lavender mist onto your pillow, and reading a few pages of your book before hitting the hay, for example. Doing this every single night will help to tell your brain that sleep time is imminent, with the result being that you should find drifting off much more effortless.
6. Don’t Forget To Have Fun
Staying fit and healthy over the Christmas period is important, and will pay dividends in terms of the energy you’ll have to engage in all the fun events of the season. But remember to let your hair down, too. Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve enjoyed a glass of wine more than you normally would over dinner on the big day or if, despite your best efforts, you couldn’t quite resist a few pigs in blankets. Happiness is key to good health, too, and there is something to be said for, now and again, indulging in a good time with our nearest and dearest.
And moderation is important in all things….just not on Christmas Day.