Of all the days in the year, this is probably the one where your mind is more focused on the trimmings than staying trim. It’s the time when punch relates to a bowl rather than a bag. An occasion for raising toasts rather than lifting weights. Even so, there are still a few little things you can do to have a healthy Christmas Day and still enjoy it at the same time.
Don’t skip breakfast
OK, so it’s first thing in the morning. If you’ve got kids, it’ll be bedlam with wrapping paper everywhere. Maybe you’re on your way somewhere and need to get ready. Or even worse, a pack of guests are about to descend on your house and you’ve got your own body weight in veg to peel. It’s easy to forget about enjoying a nice breakfast. Well, don’t. With a big dinner looming on the horizon, a healthy, low calorie breakfast prepares you for the onslaught and protects against overindulgence. Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs always go down well in every way, or what about a festive bowl of porridge with cranberries, dates and almonds?
There always seem to be tons of snacks hanging around the house on Christmas Day, tempting little bowls of peanuts and crisps waiting to ambush your best intentions at every turn. Avoid their salty siren calls and plump for healthy snacks – at least some of the time. (Only Ebenezer S would expect to you to go totally without.) Healthier nibbles like roasted chestnuts, unsalted nuts, dried fruits, olives or a lovely juicy satsuma all make pretty satisfying substitutes.
Don’t pile up your plate…
Then before you know it, after the obligatory last minute panic from the kitchen, it’s time for lunch. Well don’t feel that you have to eat more than you normally would just because it’s Christmas. Ask yourself (and ask your body): do you really want that much, or are you just eating it because it’s there? Turning down those extra few slices of turkey, another tablespoonful of bread sauce and a couple of roast potatoes doesn’t mean you didn’t enjoy your meal and hopefully won’t lead to anyone breaking down in tears. Quit while you’re ahead and before you get that uncomfortably full feeling that leaves you in a state of helpless lethargy for the rest of the day.
…and watch what’s in your glass
There’s nothing wrong in saying no to a second helping of food and it’s the same with your wine if you happen to like a glass or two with dinner. Finish what’s in your glass instead of topping up. That way you always keep track of how much you’ve drunk. Speaking of drinks, let’s face it. The whole season is an excuse for celebration and those units of alcohol can really start to add up. Mulled wine, office parties, buck’s fizz with breakfast, wine with dinner, brandy… Make sure you stay on top and in control of what you’re drinking. Try alternating between alcoholic drinks and soft ones – including plenty of water.
It’s also worth remembering that not all alcoholic drinks are made equal. For example, did you know that a modest glass of mulled wine can contain over 250 calories? Yet a small glass of dry white wine only contains around 80 calories. So making the right choice in terms of your Christmas tipple will significantly reduce the amount of calories you take onboard. And if your favourite drink happens to have a high calorie count, you can always alternate with other healthier options so you can still enjoy it with good conscience. If you’re a guest somewhere, you might also want to point out that a fine single malt whisky is exceptionally low in calories…
Get out of the house
The presents have been opened. Lunch has been demolished. It’s so warm and cosy inside as you feel yourself gently nodding off in a comfy chair. Well WAKE UP! Let’s burn off those calories and reinvigorate the body with a brisk walk in the refreshingly chilly afternoon air. Lucky enough to have some snow? Don’t let it go to waste. Get out and have a good old fashioned snowball fight – a perfect way to wreak vengeance on any kids in the house (if you can get them away from whichever screen they’re glued to).
It’s what you do the rest of the year that really matters
Above all, remember that it’s not really the time between Christmas and New Year that makes the real difference – it’s what you do between New Year and Christmas. That’s where the free Esquared app can help, giving you the flexibility and the freedom to choose 2-hour gym sessions and one-off studio classes at a huge selection of premium gyms the length and breadth of London. Wherever and whenever it fits in with your life. And all with no memberships required. Have a great Christmas and a happy, healthy new year.