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Simple tips for a Merry Fitness!
In Australia, Christmas is the best time of year to kick-back with friends or family, and indulge in a little festive fare.
However extra holiday cheer can quickly find its way to our waistlines, so here are five simple tips for staying in shape over Christmas, without even trying too hard!
1. Drink smarter
"Alcoholic drinks quickly add to our calorie tally, and can leave us feeling bloated or lethargic," says Real Health and Fitness personal trainer, Daniel Tarlington.
Fortunately, there are alcoholic drinks that have lower-calorie counts and added health benefits too.
"Red wine is bursting with antioxidants, and is much lower in sugar than white, plus it's traditionally served with Christmas turkey," says Tarlington.
Swapping your Christmas cocktail for a vodka lime soda is also a refreshing idea, particularly on a hot summer's day!
2. Snack right
Christmas means the arrival of divine seasonal fruit and vegetables; think mangoes, berries, avocados and currants.
With these natural treats, which can be eaten whole or freshly baked, there shouldn't be much need for processed snacks.
"Processed snacks are generally high in trans-fat, salt, sugar and other artificial ingredients which can encourage weight gain," says Tarlington.
So consider putting down that candy cane, and reaching for a brightly-coloured grapefruit, starfruit or lychee instead!
If you're outdoors this Christmas, remember to slip, slop, slap for a sunsmart summer's day!
3. Plan your portions
Christmas is all about abundance, and whether your favourite food is turkey, ham or pudding, it's easy for your eyes to grow larger than your stomach!
"It almost sounds too easy, but in order to avoid over-eating, just grab yourself a smaller sized plate," says Tarlington.
Food psychology is a funny thing, with studies proving that humans can eat between 14 - 31% more food than required, based simply on the size of our plates.
"A smaller plate laden with food will send signals to your brain that you're eating a plentiful meal, regardless of its actual quantity," says Tarlington.
4. Savour the flavour
With jam-packed lifestyles, many Australians have lost the ability to genuinely relish our meals.
However, studies have proven that chewing food slowly can prevent over-eating, and lead us to feel fuller for longer.
"It typically takes the human brain 20 minutes to alert the stomach that it's full, so chewing slowly allows this to exchange to occur," says Tarlington.
Christmas turkey breast can actually be an ideal lean meat, especially when oven-roasted!
5. Stand and socialise
Christmas meals are a great opportunity to catch-up with old friends and distant relatives, but standing and chatting can actually promote circulation and weight loss.
"An American university study recently found that standing can boost particular enzymes which dissolve fat and encourage weight loss," says Tarlington.
This process is termed 'non-exercise activity thermogenesis,' but for you it might just be helping the kids assemble their new Christmas toys!
Enjoy, and have a very Merry Fitness!
* Top ten tips for a healthier feel good Christmas
* Healthy recipes and treats for Christmas
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