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Stay Healthy and happy this festive season

By Fitness2live

Filled with tempting treats and plentiful parties, the silly season can be a danger zone when it comes to keeping up our healthy habits.

              Go All Out For Healthy Holidays

Here we look at how to be nice instead of naughty this Christmas, with helpful tips to enjoy the festive season in moderation without harming your health and wellbeing. 

With only a few more sleeps until Christmas, the silly season is in full swing and it can seem like there’s temptation everywhere you look. Whether it’s the pudding and pavlova at your family Christmas, a few-too-many glasses of wine at your friend’s New Year’s Eve party, the homemade Christmas cookies floating around your workplace, or the chocolates and candy canes your kids brought home from school, it’s easy to be naughty and a lot harder to be nice at this festive time of the year.

As fun as it may be, the festive season can be a challenge for even the healthiest among us because as our eating and drinking goes up, our activity levels go down and before you know it, you’re feeling lethargic and unmotivated.

That’s not to say you can’t enjoy yourself over the holidays without hurting your health. Evidence shows keeping basic lifestyle habits on track during the holidays can prevent excessive weight gain, and there are simple things you can do – or not do – to avoid ending up stuffed like a Christmas turkey.

How to be merry in moderation

1.            When you go a party, don’t go overboard on the ‘nibbles’, which often consist of high-fat pastries, chips and dips. You can avoid overeating by having a healthy snack about an hour before the party starts. Fruit and yoghurt, a handful of nuts, or low-fat cheese and wholegrain crackers are good options.

2.            Make exercise a priority. If you know you've got a Christmas party in the evening, work out in the morning. You can also think about other ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine to make up for the extra food you may be eating. Perhaps it’s walking part of the way to work instead of catching the train, or taking the kids for a swim at the beach?

3.            Drink alcohol in moderation. When you are drinking alcohol, drink plenty of water.

4.            Don’t set yourself up for failure by stocking your cupboards with snack food like chocolates and lollies – bearing in mind you will probably receive this sort of food as Christmas gifts anyway. Take advantage of the summer fruits that are in season and have a box of cherries in the fridge instead for a tasty healthy treat.

5.            Remember that not every occasion is a special occasion or an excuse to overindulge every time you are out with friends. Think about the events that matter most to you and choose to treat yourself on those occasions – and make it something good so it satisfies you.

6.            Use your imagination to think of new ways to get active. Whether it’s going for a family walk or bike ride each week, playing backyard cricket or beach volley ball, or simply starting your day with a few minutes of stretching, there are endless opportunities to become a little more active each day.

7.            It’s okay to say no – whether it’s to an extra drink, a piece of cake, or even a party invitation. Listen to your mind and body and decide what’s best for you.

8.            Make sure the silly season stops on New Year’s Day. Come 1 January (OK, maybe 2 January), it’s time to kick your healthy habits into gear and set yourself up for success in 2015.

And remember, it’s called the festive season for a reason so it’s okay to treat yourself from time to time – one-off indulgences do not cause weight gain or undo your fitness levels. Weight gain is caused by gradual, sustained increases in kilojoule intake such as starting to drink one or two glasses of wine each night or a daily dip into the biscuit tin at work, without compensating with additional exercise. If you aim to eat healthily 90 per cent of the time, indulge in foods in moderation, and keep up your exercise, you can enjoy yourself over summer while also maintaining your health and wellbeing.