For many of us, Christmas is a challenging time for our health and fitness goals, with too many tempting sweet treats, over-filled plates and lots of sitting around. Now is a great time to challenge your routine and prepare for the holiday season. Why not create a 6 week plan to become a Christmas Cracker (rather than a Christmas Pudding!)? The food plan Good nutrition helps you to stay focused at stressful times so keep up your water intake and five to eight portions of fruit and veg a day. Swap white pasta and rice for wholegrain options and if you usually eat a sandwich for lunch, try swapping to soups or a salad. Restrict your cakes, biscuits, white bread and pastries and try porridge for breakfast – the ideal slow energy release breakfast. The exercise plan Now is one of the best times of the year to get in shape. To see the best results, aim to exercise for at least 30-40 minutes, four times a week until Christmas. Remember – you’re more likely to stick to doing something that you really enjoy! Anything that gets your heart rate up and makes you break into a sweat burns fat and calories. To maintain your commitment over the coming weeks, book your fitness classes in advance so you’ll feel obliged, especially if you’ve paid up front. Also, try to exercise at least once over the weekend, a brisk walk or swim session with your family are ideal options. The party plan As we get nearer to Christmas, office parties and family gatherings start to fill our calendars. As we know, alcohol and party food are the dangers of the party season. Try alternating your alcoholic drinks with glasses of water. It's also a good idea to eat before you go to a party – even just a bowl of soup or a banana – so you're not starving when you arrive. Finally, don’t forget that dancing can burn off up to 300 calories per half hour, so get on the dance floor and strut your stuff!
Have fun and enjoy yourself over Christmas. A bit of focus on getting in great shape for the party season means you can then relax over Christmas and let go a little!