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Keeping to fitness goals over Christmas

With all the holiday parties and festive gatherings, December can be a tough month to stick to your exercise and weight-loss goals.

But you don't have to wait until January 1 to get serious about your health. That's the word from a handful of fitness-minded women, who gave Lifestyle their tips for how to stay on track this busy Christmas season.

Here's their advice:

•Indulge in moderation

Monica Teixeira doesn't like to deny her sweet tooth completely at this time of year. Instead she picks a few things to enjoy, then passes on the rest.

“I absolutely adore Ferro Rocher chocolates, pumpkin cheesecake, good old Christmas ham, and any of my neighbour Lucia Faria's Christmas cookies,” the local body-building champion said. “Instead of inhaling every Christmas cookie and chocolate I can find, I try to prioritise those holiday treats I enjoy the most. This motivates me to pass on unnecessary junk and gives me room to savour my absolute favourite holiday foods guilt free.”

•Keep active

Yoga teacher Cassandra Matcham's goal this holiday season is to stay active every day. “I find the fear of starting back up [with an exercise routine] is even worse than the sore muscles,” she said. “If you keep active even when you really don't want to, it won't be such a big deal going harder once the holiday season is over. When eating clean is completely out the window, at least you have a fitness regime under your belt. Once the holiday season is over you won't be starting from complete scratch!” She takes part in weightlifting sessions, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and yoga classes. Even on Christmas day the plan is to go for a walk or go swimming, which is an annual family tradition.

•Don't lose focus

of your fitness goals

Decide, commit, succeed - that's fitness trainer [Andrea Jackson's] three steps to success. Before going to a holiday party she finds it helpful to remind herself of her nutrition goals so she doesn't get too far off course. “I've spent years becoming both mentally and physically stronger so there's simply no excuse now being the ‘holiday season' to lose focus of my lifestyle,” Ms Jackson said. “Sure, I indulge and I live, but guaranteed I'd be out on that track, lifting those weights the next morning — living and enjoying the season is just as important as getting in my workouts. It's a lifestyle — it's a balance.”

•Never go hungry

Avoid overdoing it at your next holiday party by eating something beforehand, suggests Tania Kowalski, a certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach. “If you have an event, have a big salad or raw veggies before you go so that you don't show up ravenous,” she explained. “I'd also suggest drinking a glass of water for every drink, choose champagne, wine, or a wine spritzer, then sip and savour your drink. Challenge yourself to focus on the people, the experience, being present instead of being all about the food/drink.”

•Make Christmas

your “cheat day”

Melissa Looby's trick is to eat as healthy as possible leading up to the special day. “I stay on track until the holiday and choose one day (normally Christmas) as my cheat day. Then I just keep in mind portions (or try to), but mainly I just focus on enjoying time with my family. You have to maintain balance to stay on track, so allowing yourself to enjoy the holiday is important!”

•Go for a run

Counting calories during the holiday is a no-no for avid runner Nat Dyrli. She prefers to take advantage of the social atmosphere and eat the foods she enjoys. But when her pants start feeling a bit tighter, that's when she knows it's time to go out for a run. “As a big fan of Dunkley's Egg Nog, I definitely drink my fair share as soon as it hits the Island's shelves,” she said. “However, the holidays don't really affect me too much physically as keeping active is part of my year-round lifestyle. Having great running buddies and setting goals for the upcoming year helps keep me on track and motivated.”

•Avoid too many carbs

Teresa Humphrey, a local running enthusiast and mother-of-four, admits she's “very mindful” of what she eats. “I always try not to overload on white bread or bread in general. We eat a lot of organic products at our house,” she said. “I always say eat all you want as long as it's healthy and get out for a long walk or run afterwards.”

•Find a shorter

exercise routine

You might not have an hour to get to the gym, but that doesn't mean you can't fit in a decent workout. Ms Kowalski said: “Even a few minutes is better than nothing so letting go of the all-or-nothing mentality and just getting it in will bring you peace, perspective, and a positive mood!”

Playing it cool: Tania Kowalski suggests drinking a glass of water for every drink at your holiday party

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Published December 09, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated December 09, 2015 at 1:04 am)

Keeping to fitness goals over Christmas

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