12 genius tricks smart people use to stay healthy over the silly season.

It’s that time of year again where the saying “everything in moderation” goes out the tinsel-covered window. We’re bombarded with canapes, glasses of champagne and an indulgent Christmas event every damn day. So how can you stay healthy and fit and still enjoy the most festive time of the year? We asked the experts.

Eat before you attend events

“Have a big glass of water before you arrive and, if possible, a healthy meal. The issues come when you’re drinking on an empty stomach and feel like you have to eat your bodyweight in canapés because you haven’t had dinner.” – Sam Wood, personal trainer and founder of 28 By Sam Wood.

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Schedule exercise in your diary

“I honestly see exercise as just another thing I want to, and need to, get done… just like brushing my teeth. I feel weird when I haven’t done it. A great way to fit it in is writing it down in your diary. Just like any other appointment – you can’t cancel once it’s in there!” – Steph Claire Smith, model and co-founder of health program, Keep It Cleaner 

Don’t miss out – just alternate

“Avoid the deep fried food choices and go for the fresh options. As for the drinks, these can add up over the month leading up to Christmas so try to alternate your champagnes with soda water. Alternatively, if it’s a mid-week work function then drive so you have an excuse not to drink and save your champagnes for the weekend.” – Peta Carige, Sports Dietitian at Functional Food Solutions

Listen: Dual sportswoman Ellyse Perry shares her day on a plate. (Post continues…)

Keep mentally healthy

“I embrace positive self-help podcasts, mindfulness and meditation. I love the three-minute breathing space our TiffXO psychologist Cass Dunn taught me. STOP everything you are doing, find a quiet space, sit and relax and just breathe. Focusing on your breath just for a minute and letting go of all the thoughts that pop into your head helps you to refocus and re-centre. When I just breathe for three minutes, I find I feel less overwhelmed and stressed. Something as simple as breathing can redirect your entire day.” – Tiffiny Hall, personal trainer, author and founder of Tiffxo

Think about the big picture

“A couple of events and parties is no big deal but it’s the constant overeating for a month that will lead to weight gain. Never go to an event or party hungry, avoid anything fried and limit yourself to three canapes at any one time. Avoid heavy food when you are drinking alcohol and eat lightly the next day if you have had a big night.” – Susie Burrell, dietitian and founder of online health plan, Shape Me.


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Take the time to meditate (or at the very least, just breathe)

“Meditation is number one for me, I make this a non-negotiable date with myself. If I catch myself feeling overwhelmed, frustrated or stressed, I become present to the thoughts I’m having and rewrite the story I’m telling myself – shifting into excitement, giving to family and friends, and celebrating everything I have in life to be grateful for.” – Ashley Hart, Swisse ambassador, model and yoga teacher


Focus on quality, not quantity, when it comes to working out

“I’m all about quick and effective workouts and believe that variety and intensity will beat volume every time. Don’t worry if you miss a workout one day – six hours of running around Westfield buying last minute Chrissie presents for your relatives is definitely great incidental exercise!” – Sam Wood

Change those dinner catch-ups to walk and talk sessions

“Combine your socialising with your exercise. Rather than catching up for another drink this time of year meet for an afternoon walk or a surf with mates. We have to change our mindset and realise that catching up with friends doesn’t have to involve food and alcohol.” – Peta Carige

Yes, you can treat yourself

“Don’t be too hard on yourself. Treat yourself. Don’t be too strict or you’ll end up bingeing at one of the parties.” – Steph Claire Smith

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Exercise first thing

“Get exercise done before anything else. The later you leave it, the more time you have to procrastinate about it and the more chance there is that things will pop up and push it to the side. Get up and get it done before everyone else gets up and gets started.” – Blake Worrall-Thompson, lifestyle, performance coach and creator of 6w2s.

Forget your to-do list for a second

“We are all busy, but there are ‘busy fit’ people and ‘busy unfit’ people, so what makes the difference? Priorities. I really believe there’s no such thing as ‘too busy’ just ‘warped priorities’. You have to find time for some ‘me moments’ in the day and working out is part of self-care. Giving up your workout to attend to a never-ending to-do list this time of year is very unhealthy… Many of the things that make us busy and feel urgent are not urgent.” – Tiffiny Hall

Get your whole family in on exercise

“Another great way to fit everything in is to get my family and friends involved in all the physical activity. It’s a great way to catch up and keep everyone feeling good. I always feel like I’m winning in life when I can have fun but stay healthy, happy and balanced over the silly season.” – Ashley Hart

Edwina Carr Barraclough is a Sydney-based lifestyle editor and social media and content strategist. You can find more from her on Instagram or Facebook.