Have a very happy and healthy Christmas

Christmas is a time for fun, a time when we can relax, and maybe give in to temptations we have resisted all year. And this is what makes Christmas. But when indulging in that tenth mince pie do consider whether you are actually enjoying it or whether you are eating just because that is what you are meant to do. A lot of forced feeding goes on at Christmas, some of which is very welcome but as the build up to the big day progresses one can find oneself just going through the motions. This is when you need to stop and think am I enjoying this.

Christmas dinner with pudding and a couple of glasses of wine on average contains over 2,000 calories. Having more than one Christmas dinner over the festive period is not uncommon, nor is meeting every friend you have for a Christmas drink accompanied by Christmas nibbles. Unchecked, adding half a stone in weight over the period is entirely feasible. How does a half stone weight gain effect your performance on the pitch? Do you find training more difficult? Will your New Year’s resolution be to lose the weight you have gained in December? But a crash New Years diet will leave you tired with low levels of energy to train and with low stamina on pitch. Weight loss should be gradual, 1- 2lbs a week, aiming to lose half a stone over a month.

Not all Christmas food is bad. Turkey is a great source of protein, with more protein per 100g than lamb or chicken, it is low in saturated fat and contains B-vitamins that the body uses to extract energy from food helping prevent against fatigue. Consider adding an extra slice of turkey to your plate and reducing the number of pigs in blankets (sausage and bacon), or having one less roast potato. Make the most of all the vegetables available, pile your plate high. Vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals essential to good health, and often at Christmas the table is full of them and the best thing is you haven’t had to peel and chop. Enjoy!

Helen Money, written for the Oxford Harlequins RFC and Oxford RFC e-Hack magazine

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