How to Keep Fit During the Holidays

When you’re away from your daily routine, as many of us are during the holidays, it’s easy to let our exercise and running schedules slip a little.  Also, with so much holiday food on the go you’ll be forgiven if you slip up on your diet once or twice.  But that’s no excuse to allow too much holiday weight gain to take hold.

A few tips to help you maintain your weight and fitness over the holiday season

1)    Establish a ‘holiday routine’ quickly.  If you’re away from home, find some good places to go running, and do it on your first day.  Make it a top priority, or you can easily while away half of your holiday without putting on your running shoes.

2)    Set a realistic holiday goal.  This can be an average number of miles per day, or a number of times you go out running in a week.  Keep track of how well you’ve stuck to your goal exercise frequency, and take steps if you find that you’re falling behind.

3)    Count calories.  If you keep close track of how many calories you consume and burn in a day it becomes a lot easier to know how much more you need to be exercising, or how much less you should be eating!  There are lots of easy-to-use calorie charts available online, so download one of these and refer to it before each meal. See the handy list of Christmas dinner ingredients and their calorie contents below.

4)    Give up on losing weight.  It’s the holidays – relax, and enjoy your time away from work with friends and family.  Focus on just trying to maintain your weight, and worry about dropping a jeans size after New Years.

5)    Work out faster, not longer.  If your days are packed with family engagements, or you don’t have a lot of time off from work, then make your runs shorter but run them as fast as you can.  It won’t be ideal, but you’ll still be getting a good cardio workout and burning plenty of calories.

6)    Make your servings smaller, and imagine your dessert sitting on your plate with the rest of your main meal.  If it can all fit on a plate then you’re probably okay. If there’s no way you could fit all of the food you plan to eat on a single plate, there’s a good chance you’re over-indulging!

7)    Get out of the house.  If there’s a chance to take a walk out to the store, always volunteer.  Take any little excuse you can find to get a bit of exercise and burn off some calories. A brisk 30 minute walk can burn off 150 calories, which is a mince pie or a small slice of Christmas cake.

Remember that it’s the holidays and you’re meant to enjoy yourself, so leave a little bit of wiggle room for treats.  As a handy guide, use this calorie reference when loading your plate with goodies:

Christmas Dinner:

Roast turkey(90g) = 149 calories, 4g fat
Roast potatoes(85g) = 127 calories, 4g fat
Stuffing(100g) = 231 calories, 15g fat
Bread sauce(45g) = 42 calories, 1g fat
Roast parsnips(90g) = 102 calories, 6g fat
Boiled carrots = 14 calories, 0g fat
Boiled brussels = 32 calories, 1g fat
Gravy(50g) = 17 calories, 1g fat
Cranberry sauce(30g) = 45 calories, 0g fat
Pork sausage(20g) = 62 calories, 5g fat
Bacon(40g) = 135 calories, 11g fat

Total = 956 calories, 48g fat


1 slice of Christmas cake(70g) = 249 calories, 8g fat
1 portion of chocolate log (30g) = 101 calories, 3g fat
1 portion of cheese and biscuits = 394 calories, 27g fat
1 portion of mixed nuts (40g) = 243 calories, 22g fat
1 portion Christmas pudding (100g), custard and brandy butter = 587 calories, 22g fat
1 mince pie and double cream = 368 calories, 25g fat
1 glass of mulled wine = 245 calories, 0g fat

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