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by Aaron Murphy, Hale Health

It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas – which means a feast of festive food.

After indulging on steamed pudding, roast pork, glazed ham and a few wines, it’s inevitable that many of us will eat a little too much and find the kilos stacking on.

I’m a firm believer in treating yourself and enjoying the festive season, however the secret to keeping the kilos in check this Christmas is to eat in moderation and exercise regularly.

It’s much easier to keep your exercise and eating habits in check, than trying to ditch the kilos after the festive season.  Those who stop exercising over Christmas and New Year’s find it challenging to get back into a good routine when the holidays finish (and the longer the break – the harder it’ll be).

With plenty of shopping, cooking and entertaining on the to-do list over the Christmas break, it’s easy to abandon your regular work-out.

Here are my top tips to beat the Christmas bulge:

Prevent temptation: Before you hit the shops to go Christmas shopping, fuel up with a healthy meal. With a full stomach, you’ll be less likely to hit the food court at the shopping centre and stock up on greasy fast food or mince pies.

Hit the pavement: Instead of purchasing gifts online, hit the shops to find presents for your family and friends.  For some extra exercise, park a few blocks away from the shopping centre. The added bonus here is that you’ll avoid all the Christmas traffic and won’t have to spend hours looking for a car park!

Book in a time for exercise: Make a schedule.  Book in 30 minutes a day to exercise.  You’re more likely to stick to something you’ve written down.  It’s even better to do it the morning, set an alarm for it and you’ve got no excuses.

Give the gift of exercise: When selecting presents for your loved ones, why not consider gifts that get the family moving? Passes to your local rock climbing centre, a basketball hoop and ball for the kids, a cricket set for the park, or even a gym membership.

Organise family outings to get the family moving: Plan ahead and book in fun activities like; hikes, bike rides, swimming at the beach, walks along the river or around the lake and playing sport.  These fun activities won’t feel like exercise.

Get creative: Challenge everyone to bring a healthy dish to your Christmas lunch or BBQ that embraces the flavours of summer.  Healthy and delicious can go hand-in-hand!