Worried about Christmas kilos finding their way to your hips? PT Jay Bonaretti shows you how to stay in shape during the party season


Worried about Christmas kilos finding their way to your hips? PT Jay Bonaretti shows you how to stay in shape during the party season


‘Tis the season of expanding waistlines, with new research revealing that collectively Australians carry an estimated 20 million extra kilograms during the festive season.


The survey interviewed more than 1000 people, and two thirds of them admitted to putting on extra weight in December. The average individual weight gain was 1.77kg.


It’s even more concerning when you consider that 65 per cent of adults resolved at lease once to lose weight and get in shape in the New Year. Unfortunately, research shows that 83 per cent of those surveyed did not stick to their resolution and gave up entirely before the end of the year.


What is it that causes so many people to gain weight and either fall back or completely give up exercise? The most obvious answer is food, food and more food! The festive season is all about celebration, fun and feasting. However, we often indulge a little too much over Christmas, and the simple fact is that too much food coupled with too much to drink equals increased weight.


Energy in, energy out


So what can you do to help keep the extra Christmas kilos from finding their way onto your hips and thighs? Some may suggest the key is to diet continuously year round, and to stick to it through the holiday season. This is obviously easier said than done as trying to diet during this time of year is often a setup for complete failure. You will be surrounded by people enjoying so many different kinds of foods and drinks that it will be almost impossible to stick to any type of diet plan. It’s also no fun to always say no.


When we prohibit ourselves from enjoying foods we like, we are likely to have a moment of weakness, as will power can only last for so long. During that moment of weakness we throw caution to the wind and the result is overindulgence. An effective strategy (and one that will work all year round) is to enjoy what we like in moderation, and maintain a consistent exercise routine.


Whether it is a holiday, birthday party, celebration or any type of get-together where food is present, having an exercise routine that you do at least three to five times a week will help to moderate any increase in weight.


If you must make a resolution for the New Year, it should be to continue exercising through the holidays. Even if you slip up and overindulge, as long as you stick to your exercise routine you won’t have to worry about excessive weight gain. You may gain a few kilos, but not nearly as much as if you were doing no exercise at all.


If you find yourself unable to find time to fit in your normal exercise routine during the holiday season, you may wish to consider altering your schedule. Fortunately, the warmer weather offers us many more options to exercise outdoors. If you normally work out in the evening or afternoon, try a morning workout so you can complete your exercise before taking part in any festive activities. You’ll rarely miss a workout this way, and you’ll have the added benefit of not having to think about exercise for the rest of the day.


If you have family and friends visiting, try getting everyone to participate in some form of social exercise; for example, dancing, bike riding or simply going for a brisk walk. The important consideration is to not lose your motivation for exercise during Christmastime, and to modify your routine in a way that you can still be active during this time.


Let’s be honest, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll have at least one moment of overindulgence during the festive season. The most important thing to remember is one bout of overeating in isolation will have a near negligible effect on your body weight. Rather, what can be greatly detrimental is any guilt or de-motivation that can break an already healthy routine. So the day after the night before, get yourself back on track by starting with a healthy breakfast and morning workout.


The keys to keeping weight off during the holidays are to maintain an effective exercise program and make balanced meal choices. Keep this in mind and you’ll truly enjoy the festive period without having the usual regrets when the season is over. In fact, you’re likely to look in the mirror and be happy with what you see.


Jay Bonaretti is an award-winning PT and operates AminoZ.com.au, Australia’s leading online personal training service and supplement store.