Maybe you feel it already too late, Christmas is here and you have put your  healthy habits on hold until January 1st. But it’s never too late, and staying a bit more mindful and in control over the festive period will help make sure you kick-start the new year feeling awesome.

1. Avoid the Quality Street!

Not just Quality Street, Cadbury’s Heroes, Roses, Celebrations all the mini chocolate treats that seem to be left lying around in December. They may look small and innocent, but at around 45 calories and over a teaspoon of sugar per sweet, they are a real secret saboteur of weight loss efforts. Imagine; you have just finished your Christmas dinner, you are too full to move, and someone suggested a second portion of dessert. You wouldn’t dream of it (OK maybe you might be tempted, but when your still so full to move you wouldn’t) but if someone cracks open the chocolates you can soon find room to squeeze in a couple (of dozen). Yet 10 Cadburys Heroes could total over 500 calories and over 60g of sugar. That is more than a generous slice of cheesecake. If these little chocolate moments are one of your fave festive treats, then don’t deprive yourself, but stick to your favourites, enjoy them, and try keep track. Which leads us on to the second tip….

2. Work out your festive favourites

A few years back I had a revelation.. I don’t like mince pies! Shock horror! Send out the hounds I must be a Scrooge! Not at all, from January-November I wouldn’t bother with any sort of pastry based treat, just not my thing. I realised it was simply the joy of Christmas that had me shovelling in the mince pies in December. And once I thought about it there as a few other festive treats I am really not that fussed for; mulled wine, Christmas pudding, ginger bread and stollen all featuring on my list of things I can happily pass by. And I can assure you that Christmas has been exactly the same without them. In fact I have enjoyed it all the more by focusing on enjoying some of my real festive favourites instead; lots of fizz, cheese boards and plenty of home-baked goods. Work out your list of festive favourites and bypass the other high fat/ sugary goods that we eat just because its Christmas!

3. Don’t write off the whole season

It is so easy to just say #fluck it, I will start again in January and spend 2 weeks eating and drinking what I want, when we want. Tempting as this sounds, it makes for a pretty tough and miserable January. Your body will quickly adjust to bigger portions, and the taste of sugary and fatty foods. Cutting right back in January can then seem a real effort, and why so many of us fail pretty quick when we ‘try get back on it’. Instead see Christmas as a working holiday. You can relax and enjoy the change of pace, but you still need to put in the ground work. Keep practising your will power, stay mindful of your portion sizes and make healthy choices when possible.

4. Drink more

More water that is! Sounds obvious, but at this time of year we are even more likely to become dehydrated. We can become so busy rushing around we forget to keep up our usual healthy habits like drinking plenty of water. Add to that extra alcohol, and indulgent treats which only serve to dehydrate us more. Dehydration can easily be mistaken for hunger, and effects your digestion. Keeping properly hydrated is probably the easiest trick to stay on track with a healthy lifestyle during the festive season. Find room for a couple of bottles of water in your probably packed fridge. Put them as near to eye line as you can as a reminder to keep up your water intake.

5. Turn your back to the buffet

Every gathering seems to become a bit of ‘a do’ in December, with food and booze, nibbles and picky bits. But just like those chocolates, those nibbles soon add up. It is so easy to keep returning to the nuts/ crisps/ crackers and mindlessly shovelling in another hand full. If you are a savoury craver then try hold for an hour or so, rather than hitting the nibble straight away and finding yourself unable to stop, at least that way you will at least reduce the time you have to pick! Also try portion yourself out a handful, put them in a little bowl or napkin, and stop once that is done. If you are prone to return to the buffet for seconds (thirds or fourths) then try sit in another room, or just turn your back to it. Sat staring at it won’t help reduce temptation, out of sight out of mind really does work! Instead focus your attention on spending really good quality time with your friends and family rather than on the food. After all, isn’t that the real meaning of Christmas?!

Most of all, what ever you do this festive season, enjoy it. From all the set U free crew; Merry Christmas.

Jennie x 


I am Jennie, former big girl turned personal trainer. I started set U free fitness based on my own difficulty experiences of losing weight, and then maintaining that weight loss in a safe and healthy way.  If you want to come and join the set U free crew, and start your own amazing journey to becoming a healthier, happier you, then get in touch, or check out the website for ways we can help. 

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