Christmas is the season of excess and with the carousel of boozy catch-ups and resulting fried breakfasts, you're going to need all the help you can get.
So how do you make it out of December—and all of the roast potatoes that come with it—without a tyre around your middle?
Here's some advice on the foods to avoid, the drinks to pick and how to work in working out.
Exercise often, even if only a little
This month a New York Times article highlighted the fact that exercise has been proven to offset the effects of alcohol on your brain. According to two separate studies which tested mice (drunk mice, that is), aerobic exercise was found to generate 20 percent more neurons in the brain than in those that stayed sedentary.
It can be difficult to motivate yourself and your coworkers are all sloping off to the pub, but even mustering a 2km run will make you feel a little better about yourself and think twice about your fourth go at the cheeseboard. So reward yourself with something at the end and work running into your routine like making it part of your commute or lunch hour.
Swap these foods
In the places like the UK, they consume on average 7,000 calories on Christmas day. We're not saying you can't enjoy yourself, but there are some corners you can cut that will mean you aren't sweating in a corner of stuffing induced self-loathing come 8pm.
You can still enjoy the meal but try swapping regular spuds for sweet potato which are much lower in starch and carbohydrate and also give you high levels of vitamin C, potassium and iron. Stuffing is delicious but pork stuffing often contains very high levels of saturated fat. Swap this for vegetarian stuffing which sneak in some of your 5 a day in and still tastes delicious.
Drink lower calorie drinks
It might not feel like it but the calories in booze count just as much as the 14 pigs in blanket you've just smashed. Swap wine for prosecco or champagne which have on average 30 calories less per glass and drink low calorie mixers like soda water rather than sugary soft drinks like Coca-Cola.
Beer isn't your friend, so go for light if you're settling in for a session. Similarly cocktails are filled with sugar so go for strong bitter varieties like an Old Fashioned or Mojito. Also, dry wines contain less than 1 percent sugar so grapes like Pinot or Merlot are healthier options.
Eat protein rich meals
Part of the joy of Christmas day is the revolving buffet of snacks, but unsurprisingly this is not the road to the body of Adonis. Instead of allowing your day to transform into a melange of cheese and pastry, focus on the meat. Research from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that protein heavy food increases "satiety to a greater extent than carbohydrate or fat and may facilitate a reduction in energy consumption." In other words it will keep you fuller for longer and not give you a short hit that doesn't last like carbohydrate or sugar heavy options.
Protein has other incredible benefits as research from the nutrition department at Arizona State University found. Results showed a large part of the calories ingested through protein are burned off as heat when the body digests them. This means the energy taken to metabolise meat burns off calories without you even noticing.
If all else fails, remember to eat something before you start drinking so you're less likely to end up at McDonald's at 3am. Set yourself realistic goals about what can be achieved, you might manage a half-marathon every week but you could count yourself out of the melted cheese.
From: Esquire UK