How to have a happy, healthy Christmas

Following on from my last post on the huge calorie-fest that can be Christmas Day, I’d like to offer some words of wisdom on how you can avoid piling on the pounds and look after your body over the festive season.

Get Moving

Right, I know this is the last thing most of us want to do at this time of year but I’m not necessarily talking about pounding the treadmill for hours at the gym. There’s loads you can do this time of year that’s way more fun…

We’ve so far enjoyed a pretty snowy winter (well, we’ve missed out a bit here in Bristol but many of you have experienced otherwise!) Get out the hat, scarf and gloves and make like a kid in the snow.

If you’ve got kids, they’ll love you for this. If not, grab a few big kids. This is one time when you can let the child in you out and get away with it. Think sledging, snowball fights and snowman-making. You’ll be surprised how warm you get and how much it gets your heart and lungs going. You’ll even burn more calories as your body tries to regulate it’s temperature in the extreme cold.

Dance the night away

Dust off your dancing shoes and hit the dance floor at your Christmas party. Dancing burns from 270-540 calories an hour (depending on whether you’re a flat-foot shuffler or an arms-and-legs-in-the-air, no holds barred dancefloor demon). Believe it or not, dancing can also lead to less severe hangovers. I don’t think there’s any scientific evidence to prove that last point, just lots of personal experience.

Have a slimmer dinner

Make roasties in a baking tray half-filled with stock and brushed with oil to save calories but keep the crunch. Baste your bird with stock rather than fat and choose sage and onion rather than sausagement for a skinnier stuffing. For more recepies and hints see the Zest magazine website

Booze and you lose

A 37ml glass of Baileys contains 129 calories. A large glass of red wine also contains over 100 calories. Add up how much you’d normally drink on Christmas day and you could be getting over 500 calories from alcohol alone. Limit the drinks if you want to avoid piling on the pounds over the next few weeks.

Beware the easy-to-forget foods

How many times do you walk past that tin of Roses and nab one without even thinking. Same for nibbles and mince pies. These are the easy-to-consume calories which we don’t even think about.

Now step away from the Matchmakers, get off the sofa and enjoy a happy, healthy Christmas smug in the knowledge that you won’t be one of the thousands frantically trying to lose your turkey belly in January.

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