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Christmas Weight Loss Tips

Dietitian Juliette Kellow kicks off with a series of top hints and tips to get you healthier and slimmer for the Christmas party season.

Christmas Challenge Weight Loss Tips: Week 3

Hope you had a good second week on the Christmas Challenge.

By now, you should be well and truly into a new way of eating. But if you really want to look amazing this Christmas, it's a good idea to be more active too. As well as burning extra calories, exercise will help to tone muscles and lift your mood, so you look and feel amazing at all those parties.

This week, I've put together some top tips to help you boost your activity levels.

1. Find out what's available

Before you even think about putting on your trainers, do some research to find out what's on offer in your area. Look in your local newspaper for ideas, call your local leisure centre to find out the facilities and activities they offer and check out adverts in local shops.

Once you're clued up on what's available, make a list of the activities you think you'd like to try - and then go along for a trial session. Don't just limit yourself to the gym, pool or exercise classes, either. You'll probably find your local area offers loads of other fun activities to help you shape up. Why not try a dance class, learn a martial art, join a netball team or go hiking with your local rambling club?

2. Make fitness work for you

Be realistic when you devise your fitness plan. There's no point saying you'll go swimming three times a week if your nearest pool is a 45-minute drive away - chances are you'll never get there!

Think about those activities that don't require much planning or organisation and will easily fit into your lifestyle. For example, if you have young children, take up an activity where crèche facilities are provided, or plan to exercise when they are at playgroup. You'll be far more likely to succeed if you add activity to your lifestyle with the minimum of fuss!

3. Get your timing right

Forget about spending hours in a high-impact aerobics class or sweaty gym. You'll still see great benefits if you simply divide the total amount of time you would normally spend exercising into smaller chunks of 10 minutes.

Fitness experts recommend we aim for five 30-minute sessions of exercise each week, but there's no reason why you can't do 15 10-minute sessions instead. And as well as helping to boost your energy levels throughout the day, exercising in this way also has the advantage of taking your attention away from food so you'll be less likely to nibble.

Try some of these 10-minute workouts:

  • Stepping - step up and down on the bottom step of your stairs at home to burn fat and target the muscles in your bottom and thighs.
     
  • Skipping - it's a great workout for your heart and lungs and the act of jumping also strengthens bones, which can help to prevent osteoporosis.
     
  • Walking - it might sound like an easy workout but just three 10-minute brisk walks each day amounts to a whopping 54,750 extra calories burned in a year. That's enough to help you lose more than 1st of pure body fat in a year!
     
  • Running - if you want to up the calorie-burning stakes, pull on your trainers and run on the spot or go for a quick spin around the block.
  • Bouncing - invest in a rebounder, listen to your favourite, high-energy music and bounce away the fat.

4. Take 10,000 steps each day

Fitness experts recommend that for long-term good health and weight loss we need to do at least 10,000 steps a day. To see how many steps you do each day - and to work towards increasing the amount you do - invest in a pedometer. This little gadget calculates the number of steps you take along with the amount of calories you've burnt.

Here are just a few ways you can increase your daily step count:

  • Walk to the shop, school, pub or post office  
  • Park on the opposite side of the supermarket car park so you have to walk further to and from the entrance  
  • Ban all lifts and escalators  
  • Plug the phone in upstairs so you have to run up steps every time it rings  
  • Go for an evening or weekend stroll  
  • Browse around the shops at lunchtime

5. Make exercise fun time for all the family

Get your family involved in your fitness plan. It's not only great for helping you (and your partner) to shape up, but it also teaches children the importance of leading an active lifestyle. Plus most of the activities you can do together are great fun, helping to reduce tension that can lead to family arguments.

Take the whole family swimming or go for a family walk at the weekend - keep the pace brisk by putting babies and toddlers in prams and encourage older children to ride alongside on bikes. Or how about going for a cycle? Even simply playing games such as swing ball, football and bat and ball burns calories and will help to tone muscles - and your kids will love you for it, too!

6. Don't let your social life or love life stop you from exercising

Instead, combine the two by meeting up with friends or your partner and doing something active rather than sitting in a bar with another bottle of wine and plate of nachos.

Here's how to make fitness more fun:

  • Go for a relaxing sauna and swim with your friends - but save the chatting for the sauna!  
  • Take a romantic walk in the park with your partner  
  • At the weekend, cycle to and from your local pub for a delicious (low-cal!) lunch and glass of wine  
  • Get together with friends for a night on the town and turn into disco divas on the dance floor  
  • Find a partner and have a game of squash or badminton. It might be hard work but it will really burn those calories

7. Turn your commute into a workout

One of the easiest ways to build the recommended 30 minutes of exercise, five times a week, into your life is to make the most of your daily commute by cycling or walking to and from work.

It might sound like a lot of effort, but if you already spend 30 minutes a day or more sitting in a bus, train, tube or car, you're missing a great opportunity to burn fat and lose weight. And getting on your bike or walking may even save you time! Better still, exercising on your way to and from work will help boost energy levels and give you time to prepare for the day ahead, or help you wind down after a hard day in the office.

8. Make your lunch hour work for you

It might be tempting to spend an hour reading your favourite mag or gossiping with work mates while you tuck into a huge sarnie, crisps and chocolate bar. But you can use your lunch hour to get fit?

If you're super organised and have a gym or leisure facilities nearby, you may just have time for a quick 30-minute swim or workout. Or pull on your trainers and energise your mind and body with a brisk 30-minute power walk. Even a 45-minute stroll round the shops will burn calories - and it's a great way to get some of those chores done like going to the bank or chemist or treating yourself to new clothes.

9. Don't worry about days when you really can't fit in any exercise

Just make sure you take every opportunity during the day to build in as much activity as possible.

This means walking fast every time you go anywhere, taking stairs two at a time, cycling to the newsagent rather than driving and taking items upstairs when necessary rather than piling them up at the bottom of the stairs to take en masse when you're next passing!

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Take a 24 hour free trial and join the Challenge by posting news of your progress, advice and tips on the Christmas Challenge Message Board. Share in the fun, support and camaraderie of a WLR Challenge. Try it free for 24 hours.

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Take a 24 hour free trial and join the Challenge by posting news of your progress, advice and tips on the Christmas Challenge Message Board. Share in the fun, support and camaraderie of a WLR Challenge. Try it free for 24 hours.

Take our FREE trial »

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