BESTFIT columnist and health and fitness expert Juliana Campos explains how to minimise the consequences of the festive period, Samba style…
We all look forward to our holidays, particularly when it means traveling to the sun. We often make an effort in order to look our best on the beach and, as you know, indulging in the wrong type of food and habits can ruin weeks and months of workouts, dieting and preparation. Christmas is a bit different. Our beach bodies are in hibernation, and we sometimes forget how to eat well. All you want is to enjoy yourself with your family at home, eating and drinking as much as you can. I don’t blame you, and I certainly wouldn’t advise against it. However, I would urge you to prepare yourself… Instead of ruining your fitness programme, and making January harder work than it needs to be on ‘the other side’, follow my simple tips to maintain some level of equilibrium.
When you wake up, wherever you are, make the most of the facilities you have available to you, but avoid the gym as it will ruin your holiday feeling. If there’s a swimming pool, go for a dip. If there’s a beach, go for a jog. If you’re at home or in a hotel room, do some press -ups on the floor and upside down shoulder presses on the bed. If you can, pick five exercises for your upper body and do five sets of 10 each. By doing some exercise prior to breakfast, you will tap into the body-fat reserves and burn off much of the calories you had the day before. Coffee and water will help the process further.
If you’re eating later than usual, or constantly throughout the evening, don’t overeat. If you don’t give your body a chance to burn some of the excess food it will quickly turn into some extra weight. Eating is usually a big part of holidays, but save the big meals for breakfast and lunch so that you have a chance to walk some stairs, play some football with the kids, go for a swim or simply do some sightseeing on foot. All and any movement you do will help to increase the metabolism.
Avoid excessive sugar intake. It is easier said than done, but sugar is the single biggest problem in our diets today. At Christmas, we tend to have more sweets, ice cream, sugary and alcoholic drinks than normal. It is difficult to say no to this, but just exercise some moderation. Exchange the soft drink for water, skip some of the chocolates and eat some nuts or fruit instead. Little changes go a long way.
Challenge yourself. Take the stairs instead of the lift, walk the extra mile instead of taking a taxi, enjoy your surroundings on foot instead of being lazy. You will find that the things you eat and drink to reward yourself will taste even better!
Make sure you get a good night’s sleep. By being rested, your body will get a chance to recover and you will have more energy to enable you to enjoy your break. By applying these simple methods, you will ensure you can enjoy yourself but still give yourself a chance of emerging reasonably happy and healthy in January. And that’s not all… Follow these Christmas lunch hints:
- If you’re going in for seconds, go for veg, not meat.
- Have two glasses of water for every glass of red wine. try and include some acai berries in your dessert. They’re high in antioxidants.