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10 Tips for fighting festive season flab

8/24 10:16:46
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Once festive season parties begin, it’s all too easy to replace exercise time for an extra drink at the bar or a few more minutes around the cookie jar.

Peter Jordan, Principal Officer of Fedhealth, says that, while letting your hair down for a couple of days will not do your health or fitness any harm, it’s when this extends from the beginning of December to well into the New Year that it becomes a problem.

"According to a survey done by The British Dietetic Association, on average, people may gain two kilograms in the four weeks around Christmas alone! Research shows that this 500 gramme per week weight gain can continue well into the New Year too," he says.

While avoiding the celebratory meals during the festive season may not be an option for you, Jordan believes a healthy dose of exercise and avoiding total overindulgence can lead to a healthier you come the New Year.

"Fortunately, unlike our northern hemisphere counterparts, we can spend time outdoors enjoying South Africa's beautiful climate during the festive season. So take advantage of our sunny days and get active!" advises Jordan.

Jordan’s top 10 tips to fight the flab over the festive season:

1. Exercise early in the morning

Even the most diligent person will struggle to find motivation to train after a long day at the beach and a lazy late lunch. Make the most of the early sunrise and head out before the rest of the family wakes up.

2. Drink a glass of water before eating

This will help to keep you from overindulging in those extra calories.

3. Use exercise to explore new areas

Whether you’re going away for a holiday or staying at home, make it an adventure, by running or cycling to explore an area you haven’t visited before.

4. Make exercise a family affair

Take the dog along and let the kids ride alongside on their bikes while you jog.

5. Try new activities

Try something new like swimming, rollerblading, kayaking, stand up paddling, or a mountain bike ride. These are all great holiday activities that will still give you a good workout.

6. Stick your training programme up on the fridge

Tick the days you do train and make a cross on days you don't train.

7. Sign up for active events

Many holiday towns have activities, like runs, over the festive season, to attract holidaymakers. Check out the local newspaper for events near you.

8. Buy yourself some cool new exercise gear

It will encourage you to put it on and get out there!

9. Enjoy the warm summer evenings and go for a walk around the neighbourhood after dinner.

An evening walk helps boost your metabolism, so that you burn more calories than you would have had you simply sat down to watch TV.

10. Say no to seconds!

Just because there is extra food around doesn't mean you have to eat it! Enjoy the celebrations, but avoid having seconds and getting into the habit of snacking throughout the day. Try keeping some healthy snack options, like fruit, around the house.

"There's nothing more depressing than putting on your work clothes in January, to discover they are quite a bit tighter than they were in November. Make this festive season a healthy one," concludes Jordan.

Recommended reading: Could the time you go to bed and wake up affect your weight?

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