Surviving the Christmas Binge

Christmas...the time for eating, drinking and being merry. Have you had your first mince pie yet? Most of us over-indulge over the Christmas period and then make resolutions to do something about it in January. But why wait until next year? What about making goals now so you go into the New Year feeling fighting fit and ready to have your best year yet? Here are my top 10 tips for surviving the Christmas binge...

1. Keep exercising. Don't stop because you are too busy, too tired, too full. Exercising will keep your spirits up, clear your head and help suppress that appetite. Choose activities that all the family can join in like walking, cycling and swimming.

2. Don't buy more food than you need. Many of us stock up on things like chocolates, nuts, crisps and nibbles to snack on over Christmas, but is it really necessary? This often leads to unnecessary eating and a glut of unhealthy goods in your cupboards well into the new year. Instead stock up on citrus fruits, which are at their best at this time of year and raw nuts.

3. Stock up on vegetables. A traditional Christmas dinner has lots of vegetables so make sure you fill your plates with plenty of parsnips and brussels sprouts. This will help to fill you up and keep your body stocked with lots of essential nutrients.

4. Be conscious about alcohol. Match each alcoholic drink with a glass of water to retain a clear head. Vodka with a water mixer and a slice is one of the least calorific drinks and avoid sugar-loaded drinks such as alcopops and fizzy mixers if you want to avoid that muffin top.

5. At the buffet, adhere to the one plate rule. Take everything you would like on one plate, and don't go back for more. Avoid the deep-fried canapés such as samosas and spring rolls. Stick to the protein such as chicken satay sticks and cocktail sausages to fill you up and go for anything with lots of vegetables.

6. Start each day with a good breakfast. Include plenty of slow-release carbohydrates for sustained energy and to help prevent hunger pangs and resist the day’s temptations; try porridge, unsweetened muesli or poached eggs on wholemeal toast.

7. Recognise when you are full. Don't keep eating mindlessly just because there is food there or everyone else is.

8. Keep a food diary. When you start writing everything down that you put into your mouth you become much more mindful about what you are eating. Be honest with yourself and you might be surprised at how much you have eaten.

9. Water, water, water. Drink plenty of water, at least 2 litres every day. If you can't drink it plain try adding a slice of lemon, lime or orange.

10. Sleep. It is the party season but lack of sleep will soon take it's toll. After all the rushing about leading up to Christmas make sure you have plenty of rest and relaxation so you spring into the new year.