As part of our Sunday Series, every week we bring you a new expert advice column to make the most of your life in Abu Dhabi. This week, Chris Wraithmell, head of fitness at Advantage Sports, tells us how you can avoid adding unwanted weight to your waistline this festive season. 

Christmas poses a big challenge for many of us. The eating, drinking and being merry can play serious havoc with our weight loss goals. But the thing is, it really doesn’t have to.

Knowing how to navigate this period is essential to getting through the festive season without feeling like you’ve put on a stone of weight (or actually doing it), and then starting from scratch all over again come January.

Ignoring the Christmas party invitation or locking yourself indoors isn’t the answer either – there is a balance to be found amongst all the hysteria. And it starts with not giving up on the month.

Many people simply pack in the gym, eating patterns, water intake and new habits they’ve formed just because it’s December and it’s Christmas.

We start indulging just for the sake of indulging. For most people this simply undoes all the hard work you’ve previously put in, or even worse, puts you further back when you decide to ‘start’ something in January.

Realistically, there are four or five days where you will be obliged to overindulge. The rest of those days, let’s face it: we’re just being a tad greedy!

Try and nail these simple habits through December to help you stay on track:

  1. Average 70,000 steps per week. Some days will be ridiculously low, but just make up for them when you can.
  2. Exercise three times per week. It doesn’t matter what – just keep up the ritual of exercise.
  3. Eat less on days where you know you’ll be having a big meal. I fast until the evening if I know I’m out for a big meal as I want to be able to enjoy it guilt free.
  4. Be realistic. The physical Christmas period is one of damage limitation, maintaining where you’re at and spending time with family – don’t beat yourself up if the scales don’t shift or even go up!
  5. Enjoy yourself, but keep in mind what really makes you happy. For me it’s the feeling of endless energy and clarity of mind – eating and drinking excessively totally destroys those feelings for me and really makes me regret doing it, so I don’t. A few hours of pleasure isn’t enough to put up with an entire week of feeling terrible.

Chris works with clients one-to-one in Abu Dhabi to help them train towards goals, lose weight and improve their fitness. To find out more, visit: 


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