words by Molly Jennings

Christmas is now in sight! I love London this time of year. Christmas lights are beaming, winter wreaths are decorating front doors, street musicians are playing jolly tunes and the air is filled with the smell of pine from the guy selling Christmas trees on the corner. It’s a time for Christmas spirit, connecting with family and friends and plenty of laughter over mulled wine and delicious food. Yeah… lets talk about food. Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without a little indulgence! And let’s be honest, mum’s probably been slaving away in the kitchen preparing lots of yummy nibbles so the least we could do is try a few! But where do we draw the line? How do we still enjoy Christmas with all the deliciousness it brings without ending up looking like Santa in the New Year? Here are H&H’s tips to surviving the Santa belly!

Keep Moving
No matter what, stay active. Now I’m not saying you should pack in an hour of hard-core intervals every day, but just keep your body moving. Winter is such a beautiful time of year so get outside in the fresh air and plan a family walk… or run if you’re that kind of gal! (Yes, I just said gal!) Or if you can’t bear the thought of venturing outdoors incorporate some exercises into your daily life. While you’re waiting for those mince pies to come out the oven, grab a chair and do some tricep dips, swipe a cushion from the sofa and hold some planks or do some mountain climbers. Or if you want, stick on some Christmas tunes and get boogying! You’ll be having so much fun that you’ll forget your even burning calories! Anyways, my point here, is that nobody’s exactly going to lose weight over Christmas. These are just some simple and super easy ways to keep your body and muscles activated and to help minimize damage.

You Booze, You Lose
Watch your alcohol intake. This is one of the most common reasons for Christmas weight gain. It can be a bit of a tricky one as drinking has become closely associated with socialising. If you’re going to drink alcohol don’t do it on an empty stomach as it can lead more quickly to intoxication. It’s important to slow down the absorption of alcohol into the blood stream as much as you can as this helps the liver to do its job of processing it. Try having some good fats like nuts or avocado before heading out to a party as studies have shown that the higher the fat content of the food you consume before drinking, the longer the absorption process takes. When our Editor, Sadie, has a couple of drinks over Christmas she makes sure she drinks one glass of water for every glass of alcohol. This is such a great way of staying hydrated, as alcohol, along with caffeine, is a natural diuretic.

Pick Your Indulgence
Like I said earlier, indulging is kind of inevitable at Christmas. But a great tip I learnt is to pick your indulgence. If you decide that you would like a pudding at dinner, then make sure your day is filled with lots of nutrients. Kara Rosen, founder of Plenish Cleanse, recommends starting the day with a green juice. By feeding your body with all the vitamins and nutrients it craves in the morning, you’re giving it the best possible start and actually, it will help keep you on tract throughout the day. And for goodness sake, enjoy the pudding! Where’s the fun in eating a lovely piece of chocolate cake or Christmas pudding if you’re just going to sit there and feel guilty about it. Let go of the guilt and relax. Life’s about living after all and it’s not like you eat it all year round!

Nibble Control
A bit of an obvious one but controlling the munchies is key to warding off that Santa belly! And it’s always the nibbles that rack up the most. Nibbles, in my opinion are kind of silly. You’re just about to sit down to a big meal so why would you want to be full of sugar coated nuts and smoked salmon blinis! It’s most certainly guaranteed that you will feel like you’ll have to be rolled back home! Ditch the nibbles so you can fully appreciate and enjoy your main meal. And it’s never just one blini is it?

Minty Fresh
Our final tip is something simple. Always have mints on hand. This tip is great for nibble control and limiting alcohol consumption. Pop a mint just before you get to a party and it will really help with the urge to devour the nibbles going round or knocking back a glass of wine. Even when you’ve finished the mint, you’ll still have that lingering mintyness like after you brush your teeth. Nobody feels like eating anything after they’ve cleaned their teeth! Another way to use mints is to eat one whilst doing all that Christmas cooking. Pamela Anderson does this to stop herself from picking at food while she’s cooking! We think this an awesome tip… Thanks Pam! We like to suck on these sugar-free, aspartame-free mints from Peppersmith!