Staying on the healthy eating bandwagon at Christmas

It’s fair to say that Christmas is a time to enjoy your favourite food and drink, and after a year as unprecedented as this Covid-19 affected one, it’s understandable that anyone would want to let their hair down and overindulge.

Slimming World spokesman Annabelle Stemp, from Market Rasen.

But it’s wise to try not fall off the healthy eating and exercise bandwagon completely, especially as families are more likely to be spending more time at home this year, surrounded by tempting treats.

Slimming World spokesman Annabelle Stemp, from Market Rasen, said: “We know Lockdown 1.0 saw many people put their weight loss on hold and over 50 percent started to struggle with their weight and their mental health.

“We also know that excess weight is associated with weight related health problems and particularly concerning right now, an increased risk of dying from Covid-19 of a staggering 37 percent.

You can keep fit and healthy in the comfort of your own home during lockdown.

“Managing a healthy weight has never been more important than it is now.”

Slimming World’s Lincolnshire district manager, Sarah Scott, has come up with these boredom–busting and practical top tips to help get our readers through lockdown and stay healthy and fit.

Fall in love with food: It’s so easy to get stuck in a bit of a rut when it comes to cooking. If you end up making the same meals every week, take this time to try something new that makes you feel excited about cooking again. Many people have found solace in baking, too.

Stay in touch: It’s easy to feel isolated during lockdown – as well as missing family and friends, missing your normal day-to-day routine can have a big impact on the way you feel and, as a result, your eating and activity habits. Video calls are, of course, hugely popular to help people stay connected during lockdown, scheduling an online date with your friends, or booking a family quiz night and testing your loved ones’ general knowledge.

Magna Vitae has put together a home fitness programme.

Take care: Even though many of us are spending more time at home than ever, it’s still important to practice a little self-care. As well as staying on track with any healthy eating plans or keeping up with your regular activity, it’s important to schedule in some ‘me’ time too. Run a hot bubble bath and pamper yourself, or settle down with a book or magazine·

Soothe your mind: In these challenging times, people will be feeling more worried and anxious than usual, and these feelings could see us turn to food for comfort. If current events on the news are a trigger for you, try to limit your exposure. Follow your ordinary routine as much as possible, and keep a sense of normality, whether that’s packing up your lunch the night before, dressing in work clothes if you’re working from home, taking a nice hot shower or doing your hair and make-up.

Get active: Your usual gym might be closed but there are still plenty of ways to get active in lockdown. There are plenty of online classes you can try out, and it doesn’t have to be running or aerobics – it can be something as simple as weeding in the garden or getting some DIY and spring cleaning done. Anything that raises your heart rate counts.

With Christmas comes a lot of temptation, with copious amounts of naughty food and drink its understandable that "just one" chocolate turns into eating half a tin.

Laura Dalton, lifestyle consultant at Magna Vitae Trust, providing a virtual workout.

It's hard to say no and limit yourself at Christmas, but there is advice you can try to follow to ensure you don't overdo the sweet treats.

Try to stay hydrated with non-alcoholic drinks - a lot of hunger pangs are often confused with thirst, and drinking plenty of water can stave off eating when you're not really hungry.

Don't skip meals to save calories, as you're more likely to overeat later due to hunger at a later date, and try to maintain portion control - some people use a smaller plate so they're not tempted to completely overload their portion sizes.

With new lockdown and tier systems being announced on Thursday, which saw Lincolnshire placed in the strictest tier 3 level of restrictions, group indoor exercise is now banned and while gyms and swimming pools can open, there's nothing stopping you from embarking on exercise in your own home.

Better, which operates over 200 leisure facilities including Sleaford Leisure Centre, offers at-home work out plans which are free to download and gives members the chance to conduct their favourite workouts from their own home.

The three-week home workout plan can be tailored to your individual needs and preferences, with options to increase or decrease the difficulty levels of exercises as you go.

Covering everything from HIIT circuits and core training, through to bodyweight exercises and cooldown stretches, this plan gives a varied workout for all levels of fitness.

To find out more, or to view some of the exercise classes available, visit www.better.org.uk/what-we-offer/activities/exercise-at-home

It’s never too late to get started on a new fitness regime in the run up to Christmas as well (as long as you've had to go-ahead from a health professional), so any extra calories you (quite rightly) enjoy over the festive season won’t feel so bad.

Magna Vitae Trust for Leisure and Culture has been running a variety of online classes during the coronavirus lockdown.

The trust, which operates the Meridian Leisure Centre in Louth, Horncastle Pool and Fitness Suite, and Skegness Pool and Fitness Suite, has also come up with some top tips for keeping fit in the comfort of your own home:

Make space: You don’t have to have a home gym, or even a lot of specialist equipment – just some space and some time. Most kinds of exercise require a bit of space, even gentle ones like yoga or pilates, so clear out an area that you can comfortably move in. Preferably, anywhere with some natural sunlight is a good idea, and somewhere quiet so you can concentrate.

Find the time: One big advantage of exercising at home is that you can do it when it suits you. You don’t have to wait for a gym to open if it’s in your living room. Exercise at a time that works for you – you might prefer a morning workout before getting started for the day, or a late afternoon session to wind down after a long day.

Choose your favourite: Pick a form of exercise you enjoy to stop it from becoming a chore. You might even want to do a mixture of activities in order to keep your week interesting. There are so many resources available online to help you find something that will get you moving, and that you find enjoyable, from low impact pilates and yoga to tough HIIT exercises.

Of course, tis the season to be jolly, so while we're not saying don't enjoy yourself this Christmas, but as the experts say, everything in moderation!