How To Stay Fit And Healthy Over Christmas: 7 Experts Share Their Tips

7 experts share their festive wellness tips

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Christmas, to paraphrase the Andy Williams' song, is 'the most magical time of the year'.

But what with all the parties for hosting and marshmallows for toasting, and prosecco by the bucketload, it's probably not the most magical time of year for our health.

Throw in the demands of family and annoying relatives and you've got a recipe for stress and your fitness plans going out the window.

But it doesn't need to be that way.

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These seven wellness experts share their tips to surviving the festive season with your sanity (and waistline) intact.


Emma Rose, Head Nutritionist at healthy food delivery service Fresh Fitness Food

Nutritionist Emma Rose
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'It's easy to get a little off track with your healthy eating at Christmas, what with all the mulled wine and mince pies.

And while a few treats here and there are fine in moderation, you needn't undo all your hard work.

My main tip is to watch your portion sizes: avoid filling up on high-calorie finger foods and instead fill up on healthy vegetables like brussels sprouts and parsnips, with smaller portions allocated to higher calorie foods like pigs in blankets and cheese.

This will ensure you still enjoy your treats without overdoing it.

Don't skip meals either.

It can be tempting to do so in order to save calories and indulge later on, but chances are you'll be so hungry by the time you get to your event, you'll end up overindulging on high-sugar, high-fat snacks.

Instead, eat a protein-rich breakfast and lunch, and healthy snacks such as fruit and nuts throughout the day so you don't overindulge later.'

Find out more from Emma at www.freshfitnessfood.com


Nadia Narain, Yoga Teacher and creator of Everyday Yoga For Stress Release


Yoga Teacher Nadia Narain

'I need to sit for a little bit every morning to gather and centre myself.

A simple meditation you can try at home is to sit comfortably with a straight spine and focus on you breath as it moves in and out through the nose.

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Keep it simple, notice when thoughts pop into your head, and guide yourself back to your breath.

Start with 5 minutes and work up to 20.

I also find it useful to have boundaries.

The festive season is a busy time with work, socialising and family.Know what you can and can't do, prioritise what is important, and know your limits.'

Nadia's DVD Everyday Yoga For Stress Release is available to buy on Amazon. Find out more at nadianarain.com


Kat Farrants, Founder, Movement For Modern Life


Movement For Modern Life Founder Kat Farrants

'Go and take plenty of walks in the fresh air.

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There's nothing like feeling the air on your skin to make you feel at peace in the crazy Christmas period – especially when there's a lot of sitting down, eating and drinking.

When you walk, try a form of walking mindfulness.

Just take a long, conscious inhale to the back of your throat, then raise your arms up overhead. As you're ready to exhale, start to move the arms slowly down by your sides again.

Repeat a few more times, moving the arms with your breath.

This my own form of walking mindfulness meditation, which I find makes it really easy for me to focus just on the breath and the movement.

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I feel more grounded, centred and re-invigorated after only a few minutes. You'll find the experience of getting 'out' of whatever judgements, stresses or anxieties going on in your head in the Christmas period is really refreshing.'

Read more from Kat at www.movementformodernlife.com


Jessica Skye, Nike Ambassador, DJ and founder of Fat Buddha Yoga
Nike Ambassador Jessica Skye

'Make the decision to have fun and enjoy the holiday season.

That's right: go out dancing till the early hours, wear sequins, go for dinner and drinks with old friends.

Eat that cake. Being happy, enjoying life and living in the moment is as important as eating your greens.

Balance the party season with HIIT workouts and winter runs.

Take a friend and make it a social thing. Burn off the booze and food (we still need to slay NYE), and destress away from nagging relatives.

I promise you'll feel super dope for it.'

www.fatbuddhayoga.com


Annie Clarke, creator of Mind Body Bowl
Annie Clark of Mind Body Bowl

'It is easy to forget about yourself over the festive season but it's often a time where we experience burnout or get hit by colds and flu after exhausting ourselves with work and festivities.

My top tips are to eat as well as possible (I love comfort food such as vegetable soups and stews, which are still nourishing), sleep as much as you can, keep your body moving and take a few minutes a day for yourself in order to support your body and mind in staying healthy over the holidays.

Even if it is just a short walk, a 10-minute yoga video on YouTube or a few minutes of fresh air to clear your head, I find it can go a really long way towards helping me survive the holidays stress-free.'

Mind Body Bowl by Annie Clarke is out 9 Feb 2017. Preorder your copy now at www.mindbodybowl.co.uk


Mimi Kuo-Deemer, Yoga, Meditation and Qigong Teacher
Meditation expert Mimi Kuo-Deemer

'While the holidays can be fantastic for many of us, too many mince pies, along with the messy, complicated job of family can take its toll.

The practices of yoga and meditation offer skills for meeting stress and the challenges of daily life with greater presence, kindness and insight.

If you feel wound-up during the holidays, try sitting down for five minutes to consciously breathe. Inhale fully, and exhale fully, conciously relaxing any tension you feel.

Rather than see this as a chore or task, think of it as a practical tool to help you live with more ease.'

Learn to meditate with Mimi at movementformodernlife.com, where you can sign up for a free two-week trial.


Bangs, Boom Cycle spinning instructor and ELLE's Fitness Editor

ELLE Fitness Editor Bangs

'Christmas is my time of year to recharge.

What helps me do that is switching up my training.

I tend to use it as an opportunity to work on my stretching and flexibility, an area I definitely neglect in the general hustle and bustle of my everyday life.

I love spending this time of year with my family, so I don't overcommit to a training schedule that keeps me away from them for hours on end.

I'll do some hill sprints to get my cardio fix and fresh air, then head back inside to do my stretches while chatting with my family. For me, that's the perfect balance.'

For more from Bangs, click here: www.bangsandabun.com


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