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Four ways to keep your sparkle this christmas

First, some good news. Much of the claims about excessive weight gain over the festive period have been shown to be exaggerated, with 5lbs touted as the average adult weight gain. Scratch beneath the surface, though, and it appears that many of these surveys were funded by diet and supplement companies to get you to buy their products.

Now the not so good news - yes you will add some extra weight over Christmas and you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that a combination of rich food, copious alcohol and a comfy sofa is the cause. According to researchers, the average weight gain over Christmas is just 0.5kg, but they also found that any weight gained during this period stays around much longer than expected, so you may find your festive overindulgence lasting through to Easter. If you want to enjoy yourself without the weight gain try these 4 tips to keep your sparkle for Christmas and beyond.

1. Slow down? yes. Stop? definitely not

It’s alway nice to take your foot off the accelerator at Christmas but stopping activity completely isn’t the best idea. After just 3 days of lounging around you'll start to lose your hard earned fitness. What’s more, Christmas couch surfers find it much more difficult to break out of the post Christmas slump and get moving again in January.

The answer is to do the minimum to keep ticking over - researchers found that just one workout a week will help you maintain up to 70% of your previous fitness level. You don’t even need to go anywhere  - our Hiitgirl.tv video can give you an amazing 30 minute workout wherever you are. The other solution to keeping up the habit is to do a tiny bit every day and our Fit in 5 videos are the perfect resource for a daily 5 minute fitness fix. If you want to leave working out completely then the next best thing is to do some regular walking - it’s great for digestion, burns a few calories and keeps the pasty ‘TV Tan’ at bay!

2. Set some booze boundaries

There are two words that describe the role of booze in weight gain - 'liquid carbs'. It’s all too easy in the festive period to drink throughout the day without really noticing, but all those empty calories will soon add up. Set yourself some ground rules to manage where, when and what you drink. For example, no booze before 6pm, alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks, use a smaller glass - you get the idea.

3. Don’t be a cow

Cows graze, people shouldn’t. The surefire way to pack on the pounds over Christmas is to keep snacks and treats within arms reach - if it’s there, you’ll probably eat it. Keep them out of sight, preferably somewhere you need to make a bit of an effort to get to, so that you really have to need a snack to make it happen.

4. Try our ultimate hangover cure

Overindulgence is pretty much a fact of life at Christmas so it’s always handy to have a remedy that can bring some much needed relief from a heavy night. The answer is a breakfast shakshuka - no it doesn’t come in a bottle with a spoon, it’s actually a traditional Tunisian dish you may know better as ‘Eggs in Purgatory’.

Containing little more than tomatoes, eggs and some chilli, it’s much healthier than a full English, packs a punch that will get you the lift you need and is so simple to make even the bleary-eyed can manage it. Stock up with all the bits beforehand and we think it’s almost worth a big night just to enjoy the morning after!

Check out the recipe from Nigella here...

References:

A Prospective Study of Holiday Weight Gain. Jack A. Yanovski, M.D., Ph.D., Susan Z. Yanovski, M.D., Kara N. Sovik, B.S., Tuc T. Nguyen, M.S., Patrick M. O'Neil, Ph.D., and Nancy G. Sebring, M.Ed., R.D. N Engl J Med 2000; 342:861-867March 23, 2000DOI: 10.1056/NEJM200003233421206