Saturday, 15 December 2018

How to survive Christmas intact

AS the festive season is fully upon us, we must engage in what I like to call “Damage control”. Worried

AS the festive season is fully upon us, we must engage in what I like to call “Damage control”. Worried about gaining a few Christmas pounds? You shouldn’t have to face this time of year with guilt — hit it full on. Let your hair down and get those party shoes on! If you plan ahead and understand a little science, it’s possible to go into Christmas and out into the New Year the same weight. I overfeed at least once per week, and follow these simple steps to avoid unwanted poundage.

- Control your insulin (energy storage hormone)

Do this by ensuring your first meal of the day is not a cheat meal. Make it high in protein with some eggs or egg whites and some fibre from green vegetables and one slice of wholemeal toast or some lentils. The protein keeps your appetite satisfied and prevents you from going into a turkey coma later on. The fibre is important to aid digestion. Here’s a delicious but good breakfast: one egg — 100 calories, one egg white — 20 calories, one slice of wholemeal toast — 100 calories, a handful of spinach — 30 calories, a knob of butter — 20 to 30 calories, one tablespoon of hollandaise sauce — 70 calories. Total: 340 calories.

- Keep on the move

As you probably know Christmas day won’t be the only day you misbehave, so if you have been out the night before the best way to start the hangover cure is do some light movement. Walking outside is a great way to clear the head. Do this before breakfast so you can turn on your fat-burning switch for the rest of the day. One mile walked is approximately 100 calories of fat burned. There are 3,500 calories in one pound of body fat, just to put things into perspective.

TIP — eating high carbohydrate foods after your exercise stops fat burning all together, so it’s important to avoid bowls of cereal, jam on toast and sugar for a little while.

- Let battle commence

Once those roast potatoes are perfectly fluffy and crisp, and the turkey is rested, and the gravy is just right remember to take time over your feast. If you take 30 to 45 minutes over your main course you will save yourself half the exercise it takes to burn it off and reduce the risk of spending the rest of the afternoon on the sofa. You will also absorb more of the nutrients from the meal and will be less likely to keep reaching for the sweet tin whist watching the Queen.

- How is it possible to stay the same weight?

While dieting, the average person tends to stay away from the things that can actually help them to stay in shape. Most people say: “I’ve only had a rice cake or some soup and some bread, and some lettuce leaves!” Starving yourself leads to bingeing and you need to be aware of when you are doing it. I firmly believe in treating yourself as the body needs this not only for your sanity, but to keep your thyroid gland going as the thyroid produces hormones that control metabolism. If you starve, it will simply slow down just like your metabolism.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year — but keep that personal fat-burning stove going!

Richard Hawkins is a personal trainer at Expert Fitness Studio on Bell Street. Contact (01491) 413416 or go to

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