How-to: Stay fit and healthy over Christmas

Resisting the urge to stay in and watch Christmas TV or play games with the family is hard over the festive period.

With a plethora of delicious treats on offer, leaving the house can all too often become a rare yuletide event.

Travelling from home to home to spend time with loved ones, here’s our guide on how to stay fit and healthy over Christmas.

Take a break

A celebration of the year gone by and a well-deserved break from your usual routine, Christmas is your time to relax and take stock. However, don’t let the delights of the season cause you to abandon any diet or fitness regime you have in place, or fall into the trap of “there’s no point in starting until the New Year.”

Keeping you mentally fit, calm and stress-free, getting out and about and maintaining at least some of your usual activities will not only stop you from gaining weight, but will also help you feel better too. So even if you do over indulge, you’ll feel the emotional and physical benefits of that run, walk or HITT session.

If you don’t have an exercise routine, make sure to get outside as often as possible. Go for a walk as a family, to the park or bike ride. Anything that will stimulate your senses, make you happy and get you breathing full, deep breaths of fresh air.

Don’t skip meals

Always eat breakfast, especially on Christmas day, and don’t skip meals to save yourself for a larger one later. Instead add dried fruit such as Cranberries, Dates or Figs to your breakfast to keep you feeling full for longer.

Also consider smaller meals more often to stop you excessively eating, and remember, you’re not obliged to eat more than you usually do. Don’t feel pressured to eat more potatoes, Mince Pies or take on the cheese board if you don’t want to.

Choose healthier snacks

With what seems like an endless supply of sugar and carbs on offer, keep some healthier choices on hand too. Snacks such as Pretzels, Roasted Chestnuts, Unsalted Nuts, Dried fruit and Satsumas are all great alternatives and will stave off hunger until your meal is ready. Remembering to eat little and often.


We all deserve a little tipple, but if you can, try and keep track of your alcohol units. Empty, fattening calories, alcoholic drinks are made by fermenting and distilling natural starch and sugar.

With no nutritional value, drinking alcohol reduces the amount of fat your body burns for energy, and because we can’t store it like we can with protein, carbohydrates and fat, our body makes removing this from our system priority, meaning other processes are interrupted causing extra weight gain. (For more see drinkaware.)

So while you’re having a good time, drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated, and help your body function a little easier.

Most of all, however you spend Christmas, be sure to make it as enjoyable and relaxing as possible. Get outside and start the New Year feeling refreshed and stress-free.

Caro Dooling

Caro Dooling

Writer and expert

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