With all the mince pies, boxes of chocolate and pigs-in-blankets about, the Christmas season isn’t always so nice to our waistlines. So we’ve teamed up with Bridget-Clare O’Keeffe, founder of Sapphire Pink and Bridal Beauty Insider, to bring you 10 top ways to keep fit during the festivities…

Keep yourself in check

It’s easy to indulge in a few extra mince pies during the festive season, so keeping yourself in check is essential if you don’t want any extra pounds making their way onto your waistline. An easy way of doing this is to buddy up with someone and make sure you are both on the same page. It’s really easy to feel like you are ‘missing out’ if you’re doing it alone, but you are more likely to stay focussed if you are given the task of motivating someone else. Food diaries are the perfect way to keep track of calorie consumption.

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Set yourself goals

If you set yourself a goal, for example, still being able to fit into your favourite LBD by the end of the festive season (without the aid of a whale bone corset) you will be more likely to reign yourself in. Try it on once a week to see how you’re going. This is far better than weighing yourself as your actual mass has very little to do with what shape you’re in. Signing up for a half marathon or 5 mile Race for Life taking place in the New Year is another way to keep on your toes.

Don’t treat yourself to food

Make sure a piece of crackling or an extra mince pie isn’t something that you allow yourself as a reward for ‘good eating’. The most important thing is that you don’t associate reward with food. If you manage to stick to your goals, treat yourself to a blow dry or new lipstick instead.

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Walk it off

This time of year is notorious for lovely long meals with many courses and a glass or two of wine or bubbles. If after every one of these you take yourself off for a brisk 30-40 minute walk, you’ll aid the digestive process and stop yourself from wanting a snooze. Just after a big meal, your blood will concentrate around your digestive area which can make you feel sleepy but by keeping it pumping around your body, you will speed up the metabolic process.

Short and sharp

While there is probably a long list of things that you would rather be doing, make sure you set aside 15 minutes twice a day to do short, sharp bursts of exercise. Studies show that the intensity of your workout is far more important than the time spent doing it. There are numerous apps that will give you workout ideas to do in 15 minutes or less.

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Get it over with

The lack of sunlight at this time of the year can be very demotivating, but don’t wait until the afternoon to get your workout in. If you have a house full of extended family, try to get up a little earlier and pop to the gym before they rise. Not allowing your routine to be knocked off kilter is something you need to be very disciplined about.

Cook it yourself

One easy way to keep your nutritional intake in line is to make everything for yourself. While this might be a very labour intensive thing to do, the reward is far greater than you will ever know. The secret ingredients in many ‘ready made’ meals are far more healthy and don’t help your cause for a fitter you.

Festive family exercise

Pop your ice skates on and get moving. You’ll get an excellent workout without feeling like you’re over-exerting yourself. Your legs and core will thank you later.

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Eat what you want

If you are not willing to give up on all the treats that come at this time of year, there are two things you need to know to keep on top of your wedding-ready body. Firstly, don’t go overboard. Keep your portions small and discipline yourself to only allow the bear minimum in order to get your kicks. No need to have four roast potatoes when just one will do the trick of satisfying your watering mouth! Secondly, you will need to work harder in the gym to counter balance the massive increase of calories you are taking in. It’s simple maths; if you eat more than you burn, it will be stored as fat.

Try a winter sport

This is a great one for those that like to keep active no matter what the season. Winter sports are often very sociable and are great for your core. A six-hour day of skiing can burn up to 3,000 calories!

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