Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Why a Christmas pretox beats a detox

Are you a post-Christmas detoxer? Or are you in with the in crowd and giving healthy pretoxing a go? You’ve still got time to start – and you could be feeling the benefits well before you take your first bite of turkey…

The Christmas pretox isn’t something you hear about much, but new research commissioned by Currys PC World has found it to be a growing regime adopted in the run-up to Christmas. And – here’s a surprise – it’s not just the ladies who’re looking to fit into sparkly LBDs: nearly a quarter of UK men are embracing a healthy regime in preparation for the festivities.

The survey found that 22% of men are pretoxing, and looking good at the office Christmas party is one of their main motivators. But – perhaps not a surprise – only 15% are good enough to maintain their diet and fitness regime through the winter. Around 47% of those men surveyed began their pretox in the final week in November. Currys saw sales of health-boosting gadgets such as juicers and step counters begin to spike during that month.

But it’s the post-Christmas regime where the figures fall short, with 93% of the men surveyed expecting a weight gain of around 8lb. Fitness and nutrition expert Lucy Wyndham-Read offers her tips on staying on track in the run-up to the holidays:

  1. Speed it up. Walking a little faster is a great way to burn off extra calories. Aim to walk at a speed of 4 miles per hour, as this helps you burn fat. Use a wearable fitness product to measure, or count how many steps you take in 20 seconds at a speed of 4 mph then multiply by 3 – it should be 135 steps per minute. 
  2. Stand up. In the office, set a timer on your watch or phone for every 20 minutes. When it goes off, stand up and move if even for a few seconds. After 20 minutes of sitting, the body starts to slow down the amount of calories you burn, so move every 20 minutes to keep it fully active. 
  3. Swap biscuits for a smoothie. Save calories and get your vitamins at the same time. 
  4. Calorie challenge. Every day, challenge yourself to burn off an extra 100 calories over the build-up to Christmas. 
  5. Skip. Skipping for 10 minutes can burn up to 135 calories and it sculpts and tones your lower body. 
  6. Add oats to your smoothies. Throwing these into your blender will help stabilise your blood sugar levels so you’ll be less tempted to snack on mince pies. 
  7. Take the stairs. Taking the stairs two at a time works your thighs and bottom harder. If you avoid the handrails, you’ll contract your abs more for balance. 
  8. Create a playlist. Music is a great motivator, so draw up your list, name it ‘My Pretox Christmas Playlist’ and listen to it when you work out. 
  9. Keep gym kit in sight. Put your workout gear on the radiator – this way you’re more likely to slip into it and head for a quick workout. 
  10. Apply determination and discipline and you’ll get the desired results.

Good luck!

For more advice about enjoying this year’s festivities without sacrifice, pick up a copy of December’s HFG for tips on keeping a smart festive party strategy, see our choice of savvy drink swaps and cook up the best healthy versions of Christmas favourites.

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