SHAPING UP: How you can make your Christmas day healthy as well as being enjoyable

Christmas Day is the day most people write off any kind of dietary limitation and overindulge on festive treats – me included!

“If you have something like eggs or Greek yoghurt for breakfast you will help keep your blood sugar levels under control and you’re much less likely to start snacking."
“If you have something like eggs or Greek yoghurt for breakfast you will help keep your blood sugar levels under control and you’re much less likely to start snacking."

Mimosas at breakfast, mid-morning mince pies, the big Christmas dinner followed by Christmas pudding, afternoon Quality Street and mulled wine, a turkey sandwich and - why not? - a slice of stollen cake and a glass of Baileys before bed.

We all know that we overindulge on Christmas Day, but a study by Wren Kitchens revealed the extent of the damage - the average person consumes a massive 5,323 calories on December 25.

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That’s nearly three times the recommended daily allowance for women and twice the recommended daily allowance for men… or the equivalent of 10 big Macs.

Now, I’m not going to suggest that you cut out carbs or count calories on Christmas Day because that would be hypocritical.

I’m going to be enjoying the festive treats just as much as anyone else.

But, I would recommend that you follow these five tips to limit the damage…

1. Drink More Water

Drink a glass of water when you wake up, another mid-morning and then another before your lunch.

Water can make you feel full meaning you may not eat as much. It also helps control cravings later in the day.

2. Start With A Good Breakfast

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If you have something like eggs or Greek yoghurt for breakfast you will help keep your blood sugar levels under control and you’re much less likely to start snacking later in the day.

Most people have their Christmas dinner in the late afternoon, so if you eat a good breakfast that will fill you for a few hours it will put you off snacking during the day.

3. Fill Up On Veg

Most of the extra calories come from the after-dinner treats (puddings, leftover sandwiches, alcohol).

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If you fill up on veg when you’re eating dinner you’ll be less likely to have second helpings of pudding. The fibre in the veg induces fulness.

4. Eat Slowly

A study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that wolfing down food hinders the release of hormones that induce feelings of feeling full. Put simply, the slower you eat, the less you’ll pack away.

5. Boxing Day Exercise

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You probably won’t fancy doing an intense workout after a day of over indulgence, but the good news is, it doesn’t have to be.

A light jog, family walk or quick 10-minute home workout can burn some of the excess calories and get you back into a healthy frame of mind.

Stick to those five simple tips and you can limit the damage of the excess calories on Christmas Day without depriving yourself of the festivities.

Merry Christmas!

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Graham says that when his football career ended due to injury, he qualified as a personal trainer before moving to Dubai, where he worked in a huge gym.

"Working in Dubai was a priceless experience; I instructed over 1,000 personal training sessions in one year and helped over 50 people achieve their fitness goals. The knowledge I gained in one year in Dubai would have taken at least five in the UK.

“When I returned from Dubai, I took on the role of gym supervisor and personal trainer at the five-star Seaham Hall Hotel and Serenity Spa.

"It was at Seaham Hall that I set up my first boot camp. They went from strength to strength and grew very quickly. While I was there, I won the Leisure Excellence Award at the North East Hotels Association. I left Seaham Hall in 2012 to focus on running my own business,” he added.