’Tis the season to be jolly! The Christmas holiday period is a time of relaxation and recuperation after yet another hectic year, however we all sometimes seem to forget that slacking off over this period can often take a toll on our waistlines. Start now to dodge the annual Christmas blow out and avoid the regret of having to ‘start fresh’ in the New Year.

Here are five key tips from IsoWhey dietitian Belinda Reynolds.

Preparation is key in all parts of life, whether it be work, fitness, diet or overall health and wellbeing. All of us have had days where we hit the snooze button to get a few extra hours of zzz’s, only to leave us feeling a little guilty of missing that HIIT session. In order to avoid feeling guilty, it’s important to mentally and physically prepare yourself for the season ahead. I often recommend laying your gym gear at the end of your bed, ready for your morning workout, as a motivation mechanism to stop yourself from hitting the switch come morning time. Or, if you know you have a big lunch or dinner one day, make sure you prepare by fitting in your workout in the morning beforehand (that way you’re more likely to feel healthy for the day ahead), and have a big green smoothie or juice for breakfast so you still get your daily dose of greens.

The Christmas season brings family and friends from far and wide, sometimes making it more difficult to make it to that workout you were ‘supposed to do’. Perhaps hold yourself accountable to someone else, by organising an early morning walk or run with your girlfriends so that you are more likely to get your butt out of bed and are still able to spend quality time with your family after. Reward yourself for all your hard work, but give yourself a limit to the ‘must have’ treats and steer clear of the ones that you don’t particularly fancy, by swapping them for healthier alternatives – think chocolate bliss balls instead of rum balls, chia pudding instead of your nan’s sweet and sugary sticky date pudding.

It is important to stay hydrated during the silly season, even more so during social events in the scorching sun. Chrissy parties often involve a cold alcoholic bevvy so be sure to replace lost fluids, with some much needed H20. I often recommend alternating between a glass of sparking water and your alcoholic drink to balance things out. To avoid dehydration, consider adding in some electrolyte formula to your fluids, which will help to support natural hydration.

When you’re eating sporadically and indulging in a little too much champagne, it’s easier than you think to quickly become deficient in key nutrients. Alcohol in particular leeches vitamins from your body- it’s no wonder that you often find yourself run down and sick by mid-January. Stay on top of your nutrition with a good quality multi-vitamin, and for extra measure, look at taking zinc, which is vital for building a strong immune system, and even milk thistle, a herb that can help to reduce liver inflammation after drinking alcohol and assist your liver in the detoxification process.

The holiday season is about giving and remembering to be thankful for your blessings in life. But sometimes, you get so caught up thinking about friends and family that you forget to take a minute for yourself. You shouldn’t be finishing up the holiday season feeling burnt out- the holidays are meant for relaxing and rejuvenating! Don’t forget to take the time to adhere to your usual moments to yourself – your workouts, or even just a gentle yoga session here and there. You don’t want to let the silly season take over the time you normally allocate for your own personal enjoyment.

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