It's the time of year where portion control goes out the window, exercise is ditched in favour of afternoon naps and reigning in your alcohol consumption just sounds silly.

But come January, will you be berating yourself at the gym as you struggle to regain some semblance of that hard earned healthy body you let go of over the Christmas period?

Lee-Anne Wann shares her top 10 tips to avoid a health and fitness blow out this Christmas.

1. Aim to move every day

Our busy holiday schedules can push us off of our regular exercise routines. Physical activity can help relieve stress, regulate appetite, and burn up those extra calories. Take a Frisbee to the beach, set up some Jingle Bell relay runs at the park, or try a new summer sport like roller skating, kayaking or tennis.


2. Choice after choice after choice

Give yourself choices. If you're away from access to a gym, take an exercise band or workout DVD so you can get your physical activity in. If you're invited to a holiday function, bring a contribution of low-calorie foods such as fruit and vegetable trays so there are healthy options available.

If you get caught out on a rainy day while camping or at the beach take an activity game like Twister along. As long as you have choice, you are in charge.

3. One plate wonder

At parties and holiday dinners we tend to eat beyond our body's physical hunger simply because food is there and eating is "a social thing". To avoid recreational eating, consciously make one plate of the foods you really want. Eat it slowly, enjoying and savouring every tasty bite. That way you won't over indulge and you still get to enjoy your favourite foods.

4. Keep holiday stress at bay

Stress can wreak havoc on your mind and body. It can be the trigger for many of us to over eat or drink a little too much. The key here is to be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect, or "just like last year". As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if you're adult children can't come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.

5. Plan to succeed

Decide beforehand what you will and won't do when it comes to food choices, exercise options, organising presents and other holiday errands. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus then make your shopping list. This will help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients and prevent you eating on the run and skipping exercise all together.

6. Keep your healthy habits

Don't abandon healthy habits and let your holidays become a free-for-all.

Overindulgence will only add to your stress and guilt. Have a healthy snack before holiday parties such as a protein shake or eat something high in protein. This will keep you full for longer so you don't go overboard on sweets, cheese and drinks. Continue to get plenty of sleep and physical activity.

7. Big breakfasts

Many people let breakfast slide when it comes to the holidays. But this can be the catalyst for a downhill slide of all your good eating habits. I like to eat big breakfasts in the holidays because it keeps me full when I can't be sure when I'll get my next snack.


Try lots of protein such as eggs, meat, chicken, nuts and protein shakes, and good fats like avocado and smoothies made with coconut milk to keep you going.

8. Work smarter, not harder

Combined shopping and walking is a great way to get your errands done and keep yourself moving. Indoor malls are great places to walk. First thing in the morning is a great time to go. The more people there are, the more dodging you will have to do which means more abdominal and balancing work. If you are planning on shopping in a particular store, park at an entrance on the opposite side of the mall - even if time is short, you will still get some exercise.

9. Give the gift of health

Purchase some great exercise equipment or guides for loved ones. Not only will you be helping them out but you can get some exercise and great family time in by trying it out together. Try new exercise DVDs, a great book, some hand weights, some hula hoops for a great waist workout or some boxing gloves and mitts.

10. On your bike

This is a fun and invigorating alternative to driving. Going at a steady, relaxing speed gets you a long way! It's a great cardiovascular activity that works your leg muscles. The satisfaction of hard work and weight lost will be a great reward.