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Festive Food for Thought

Is healthy eating and exercise on your Christmas wish list? Probably not.

But faced with the fact that some of us could be consuming up to a staggering 6,000 calories on Christmas Day alone, it’s definitely food for thought.

Throw in works parties, family gatherings and plenty of festive ‘spirit’ sloshing about, we’re talking a December calorie overload on a grand scale.

Being realistic it’s no wonder our good intentions take a back seat at Christmas.

At this time of year hunkering down of an evening with a tin of Roses and a tipple or two can seem more appealing than the gym.

We tend to feel justified to over-indulge, socialise with loved ones and just generally let our hair down and enjoy ourselves.

We’re definitely not party poopers at Active Tameside so we’re not suggesting you don’t indulge.

But with some moderation and restrain in between nights out and festive feasts, you’ll feel healthier and will have less work to do once the new year dawns, says Active Tameside fitness instructor, Matthew Wilkinson.

We all like surprises at Christmas, so here’s one.

Matt is a great believer in December being the BEST time to start that new exercise regime.

That may sound a little crazy, considering you’ve hardly got time to think about fitness let alone finding the time to fit it in amid the festive frenzy.

But he says it’s the one month of the year positively stuffed with incentives.

“A lot of people just write off December with an eye on January as far as exercise goes,” says Matt.

“But it’s actually the best time of year for training.”

And here’s why…

“The gym is as quiet as it ever will be,” added Matt.

“Perhaps use this time to try a new exercise or workout you didn’t want to try in a busy gym before or try out some new equipment you’ve never used.

“You have the safety of only a handful of people being about, so you’ll feel more at ease and less self-conscious, unlike if it was 6.30pm on a Monday evening in January.

“This is also a great time to get yourself used to stepping in the free weights area if this is somewhere you’ve not been comfortable using in the past.

“Couple this with plenty of calories in your system for energy to train hard and more time off work allowing you to rest more – December is the best time to start exercise.”

So not only could December be a great time to ease yourself into a new exercise regime, it’s also a good way to burn off the cheeseboard snacking and stave off the inevitable guilt trips.

While few of us will to dare start totting up the calories, Matt says it’s a good idea to be aware of how much you might be consuming with party nibbles, chocolates, cocktails and meals out coming thick and fast.

We’ve looked at the calorie content in a few of the treats you’re likely to encounter over Christmas:

  • A glass of mulled wine – 200-250 cals
  • A gin and tonic – 200-plus cals
  • An average helping of Christmas pudding – around 400 cals (600-plus with cream!)
  • 15 Cadbury’s roses – 600 cals

It can be hard to avoid temptation, so Matt has a few tips on how to steer through if you’re determined to keep on track:

  • On average you’re likely to have around 12 over-indulgent meals in December. Plan ahead and try to eat well in between.
  • When it comes to snacks limit yourself to say one dip, one chocolate, one crisp – just to be sociable! If you’ve got the willpower, just say ‘no’ and save your calories for the indulgences you really love.
  • Booze is the tricky part for a lot of people but the most important to get right. Either limit yourself to one or two drinks per event or just set aside a couple of days to really let your hair down.

If you’d like to follow Matt’s advice to fit in some festive fitness this month, iTRAIN gym in Dukinfield is open 24/7 right the way through the festive season. Find out more here


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