How to enjoy the Christmas and New Year festivities in moderation

Make sure you plan healthy meals where you can.
Make sure you plan healthy meals where you can.
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I love Christmas time! For me, it’s a time of year when I relax a little bit and enjoy the festivities.

We’ve just had a big night out for our boot camp Christmas party and had a few too many cocktails.

We took the kids for afternoon tea with Santa.

And we have been to a couple of Christmas markets and soaked up the atmosphere with hot chocolate and mulled wine.

I’ve certainly enjoyed December so far, and there’s still lots to look forward to.

I can’t wait for Christmas dinner with roast potatoes cooked in goose fat, pigs in blankets and piles of Brussel sprouts.

Then it’s a few drinks on Boxing Day and a party on New Year’s Eve.

I’m all for enjoying yourself at this time of the year, but if you want to maintain your fitness over Christmas there has to be a limit to how much partying and over-indulging you do.

You have to have a good balance between enjoying the festivities and being healthy.

And some self-control so that December doesn’t turn into a full month of over eating and inactivity, because that will do your health no good at all!

Here’s some of my tips for getting the right balance, so that you don’t put too much weight on over Christmas.

Stay Active

If you’re going to be consuming more calories than usual in December then it’s important to maintain your workout routine to limit the damage.

Your workouts don’t have to be long. I’ll be doing 10 minute HIIT workouts every day (except Christmas Day) to maintain my fitness.

That way it doesn’t take much time out of my day, and when it comes to January I won’t have as much weight to shift!

Plan Ahead

It’s the time of year when it’s so easy to indulge – a mince pie, a glass of wine, a handful of Quality Street.

They can add up to a lot of extra calories. However, to counter this, all you need to do is take some time to think about things and plan ahead.

If you know you’re going out for dinner, plan in healthy foods during the day and stick to your plan.

If it’s a heavy weekend, eat well and exercise during the week.

So many people beat themselves up over what they’ve eaten at this time of year when, in reality, as long as you’re eating in moderation overall, the odd bit of indulgence isn’t going to impact that much.

Make Wise Alcohol Swaps

Alcohol contains a lot of calories. If you’re only having a glass of wine here and there it’s not too bad.

But, if you are going to a Christmas party and know you’re going to be drinking a lot, then you should make some wise alcohol swaps.

Instead of creamy cocktails, my drink of choice is vodka, lime and soda.

Or you could choose a glass of wine topped up with a flavoured sugar-free sparkling water, such as apple and elderflower.

Don’t Over Buy Christmas Food

A lot of people over buy food at Christmas, because they worry that there’s not going to be enough food to feed the entire family, but end up with a table piled high with food, and cupboards bursting with mince pies and stollen cakes.

The problem is, a lot of people won’t stop until all of these treats have gone, meaning you consume far too many calories.

Plan ahead, pick your favourite foods and only buy enough to feed your family.

Your trainer: Graham Low, owner of East Coast Fitness, is an award-winning personal trainer based in Seaham. The ex-professional footballer was nominated for the Small Business of the Year and Leisure Awards at the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards last year. Graham won the Leisure Award at the North East Hotels Association Awards while working as gym manager at Seaham Hall in 2012. For personal training, boot camps, small group training and online programmes email graham@eastcoast-fitness.com or visit www.eastcoast-fitness.com