Staying Healthy Over the Holidays

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    Christmas tunes are playing on the radio, twinkling lights line every shopping street and invitations to parties illuminate our inboxes. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, full of nostalgia and hope for the future. but December also holds the dubious distinction of being the most stressful month of the year. Obligations to shop, cook and socialize can become overwhelming. For lots of us, fitness goals go on pause as we try to save our sanity until early January.

    To help you through the next thirty days, we have canvassed our Aspria experts for their top tips for staying fit, eating right and enjoying the holiday season.

    Tip Number One: Clip this article and pin it on your fridge for daily inspiration to stay on track.

    Beat Holiday Stress
    Feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of obligations and the number of things on your to-do list? Keep this thought in mind to maintain your sense of well-being.

    Be clear on your priorities for the holiday season. Start by asking yourself, “What is going to make me happy?” Then do only those things. Schedule your exercise, plan in advance the events that you are going to host and opt for e-cards to long-lost friends. Remember it is OK to politely decline invitations, no excuse necessary.
    Patti Bruns, Royal La Rasante

    Banish Food Guilt
    These tips will help you manage your approach towards all the food and drink you will be faced with over the next few weeks. Read these before you head out the door!

    Half an hour before your party, have a small serving of courgette or watercress soup with a small slice of bread. You will be less hungry and less likely to raid the appetizer tray.
    Sylvia Bruns, Royal La Rasante Dejardin, Aspria Arts-Loi

    Depriving yourself of the occasional treat is a recipe for overeating. When reaching for something to tide you over, give preference to low fat and low calorie treats. Skip the flaky pastry and go for raw vegetables, dried or fresh fruits, turkey and seafood.
    Ivan Peres, Royal La Rasante

    Prioritize the food on your plate. The word protein in Greek means “prime importance”, so you should eat your protein first. Follow it up with some vegetables. wait for 10 minutes – if you are still feeling hungry you can have dessert.
    Robin Wen, Royal La Rasante

    After big, heavy meals, let your body recover for a few days. enjoy soups without any carbohydrates, drink hibiscus tea and eat small quantities of quality proteins. Sylvie Bruns, Royal La Rasante Dejardin, Aspria Arts-Loi

    Battle holiday hangovers with this simple rule: drink two glasses of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume. This will help you stay hydrated and space out your alcohol consumption.
    Patti Bruns, Royal La Rasante

    Take advantage of time away from your normal routine by focusing on eating ‘clean’. This means a diet that contains a good mix of quality proteins, vegetables and healthy fats. Avoid processed food and minimize grain intake.
    Lionel Gonnet, Aspria Arts-Loi

    Fit For Fun
    Exercise is a great way to stay strong, but it is also a great way to take a time-out from the chaos of the festive season.

    We guarantee you will feel better at the end of the month. Who knows, you might even be able to skip those pesky resolutions on New Year’s Eve. Here are a couple of great ways to keep your fitness up.

    Any exercise is better than nothing! When your schedule is full, look for the simplest way to move your body. Stretch to release toxins and to loosen up your muscles. Walk to your parties instead of taking the car or a taxi. Go for a 30-minute walk before food-filled engagements. You will feel less hungry and more energized to have a great time!
    Patti Bruns, Royal La Rasante

    Start your day with this total body exercise! Stand on one leg on a pillow. Straighten the other leg behind you, tightening your muscles from the tip of your toes, through leg and into the core. As you lower your torso towards the floor, reach your arms above your head. Keep your body in a straight line. Hold this position for one second, then return to the start position. Repeat 15 times, for 3 sets.
    Steve Bex, Aspria Avenue Louise

    If your time in the gym is limited, opt for a weight training session the morning of your big parties. Train hard with a high number of repetitions. This will increase protein synthesis, elevate fat burning and metabolic rate and improve insulin sensitivity.
    Lionel Gonnet, Aspria Arts-Loi

    At the end of the day, the main thing is that you enjoy these very special days of the year. From all of us, to all of you – happy holidays and all the best in 2013!