How To Stay Fit This Holiday Season

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Published: December 16, 2014

Fitness

I struggle to stay on a healthy eating path during the festive season. And it’s not just food; it’s also the alcohol and the desserts. Everything tastes better, sweeter and more luxurious at Christmas. Like most people, I get swept up in the food mania that grips the nation. The only way for me to avoid this food hysteria would be to become a hermit for a month, and I can’t. As I write, I have at least eight social functions to attend in the next three weeks: midweek, weekends – even Mondays are jolly days in December.

So how can you indulge over this period without expanding your waistline? Well, you can try the hermit approach: don’t go out, decline all party invites and stay in bed throughout Christmastime! Exactly – it’s not realistic, and if you try, you are likely to crack. Trust me. You will crack, and when you crack, you will have an almighty binge that will spiral completely out of control. This binge will not only mess with your metabolism, it will mess with your mind.

I have a better plan for dealing with the indulgences, a plan that I tried and tested last year while trying to motivate my friend to stay focused over the holidays. The truth is, I was also trying to keep myself motivated. I decided that we could eat whatever we fancied. It’s amazing – the minute you give yourself some latitude, you actually don’t binge. Also, because people put on weight due to their long-term eating habits, relaxing your diet for a month won’t do irreparable damage. Secondly – and this is the important part – we agreed that come what may, we would work out a minimum of four days a week throughout the festive period.

We stuck to this strategy beautifully. We ate and drank and made merry, but we also hit the gym consistently. Even heavy snow couldn’t keep us away. On one occasion, I remember us driving to the gym at about 6:00 a.m. Trees had fallen across our country lanes because of strong winds the night before, and when we got to the main road leading to the gym, it was closed. We could see the culprit: a huge tree lay sprawled across the road. My friend said, “This tree is an enemy of progress.” I said, “The devil is a liar.” And instead of turning back, we took another route, made it to the gym and had an amazing workout.

So yes, we ate too many mince pies over Christmas, we drank mulled wine and champagne and indulged in too much of everything, but we also kept active and kept burning. We used the extra energy we consumed for fuel, nonstop – even on Boxing Day we trained. Staying active did wonders for keeping our weight down and our metabolism up, but more importantly, it put us in the right frame of mind for the new year.

My advice this Christmas season is to enjoy the luxury, but not to the point of gluttony, and keep active throughout! When you get tired, remind yourself that summer bodies are made in winter. If it snows, work out in your house! And remember that this is a short-term strategy; you should moderate the excess eating come January, because you cannot out-train a poor diet in the long run.

How do you stay fit during the holidays? Share your tips with us in the comment box below.

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About Titilolami Bello

Titilolami, 37, works full time in financial services. She is married and a mom to a 7-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy. Ardent in her dedication to public service and giving back, Titilolami founded the charity “Path to Possibilities” (www.pathtopossibilities.co.uk) in 2009. This charity primarily provides scholarship funds to bright but underprivileged Nigerian children. Titilolami is also a governor at Leyton Sixth Form College. She is passionate about fitness and plans to enter a fitness competition next year. She also enjoys being an amateur writer and blogs at Titilolami.com. Her talents also include cooking, and it is the only thing she refuses to be modest

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