How to stay in shape over the holiday season

It's completely possible to stay in shape and avoid unnecessary weight gain over the holidays.

The festive season is all about relaxing and having fun with friends and family. Unfortunately, for many people it also means overeating and slacking on exercise. This can leave you feeling pretty lousy when the holidays are over and you get back to reality. Here are some tips to help you stay in shape and limit weight gain over the holidays.

Indulge, but not too much

The silly season only comes once a year, so it’s totally fine to indulge in some of your favourite treats. Just make sure you don’t overindulge.

Make a plan for which foods you will and won’t indulge in. You might be really looking forward to some sugary treats or quality cheese. Knowing you are allowed to have certain foods will make it easier for you to turn down other unhealthy food you’re offered.

Whatever you choose to indulge in, try to control your portions. It’s fine to really savour some Christmas cake but think carefully before going back for seconds.

Limit your liquid calories

When enjoying some cheeky drinks with friends and family over Christmas, opt for for low-calorie drinks, such as liquor on the rocks or with a soda water mixer, rather than sugary, high-calorie cocktails.

Another way to cut liquid calories is to alternate between alcoholic drinks and water. This has the added bonus of keeping you hydrated and reducing any next-day hangover symptoms.

Stay active

Staying active over the holiday season doesn’t have to be a chore. You can stay active, have fun and socialise at the same time. Rather than going out for drinks, go for a hike with friends. It’s a triple win: you’ll avoid drinking unnecessary calories, do something active, and catch up with friends.

At big get-togethers like Christmas Day lunch with the family, suggest a game of backyard cricket, beach volley ball, or simply go for a walk. This will help to balance out all that eating and drinking, and get everybody involved in some active fun.

Get some sleep

The occasional late night won’t do too much damage. But being sleep deprived weakens your willpower, making you more likely to make bad food choices and cancel workout plans. Keep it balanced by following a late night with an early one, allowing your body to catch up on restorative sleep.

Ban fat talk

Unlike our friends in the Northern hemisphere who can cover up with bulky sweaters, the holiday season falls squarely in summer, when we’re baring the most skin. It’s normal to be concerned about any weight gain, but don’t get so caught up in “fat talk” that you start obsessing over your diet.

While you should be conscious of what you’re eating during the holidays, it’s also a time to relax and enjoy the festive spirit. Don’t beat yourself up too much, stay away from fat talk, and concentrate on enjoying yourself.

Just because you are staying in shape over the holidays doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the fun. These simple guidelines will help you limit unnecessary weight gain and stay in shape while still enjoying all the joy of this special time of year.