Get in shape for party season

Feature Dec 26, 2012

NYE diet and exercise secrets from top nutrition author Fiona Kirk

It happens once a year - some dread it, others can’t wait but you know it is going to be discussed in detail for weeks afterwards so you want to look and feel your best on New Year's Eve. Here's how you can do just that:

Lose a few pounds
Whether it is three weeks away or three days, it is never too late. Try this meal plan in run up to the big day: get up half an hour earlier and exercise first thing on an empty stomach. Have a big mugful of hot water with lemon and ginger whilst you are getting dressed and putting on the slap, and pick up a tub of porridge for breakfast. Eat a small pack of almonds and some fresh fruit or a fruit smoothie mid morning, and a bowl of bean, lentil or meat soup and a small mixed salad for lunch. Spread some fish or meat pate onto a few mini oatcakes mid afternoon if you feel an energy dip coming on, and grill some lean meat, poultry or fish and steam a load of vegetables for your evening meal (steer clear of the potatoes, pasta and rice). If a good night's sleep is a struggle, have a mug of hot chocolate made with soya milk before bed, and remember to drink plenty of water all day.

Get your skin, hair and nails in order
Eating omega 3 essential fats will give you shiny hair, velvety-smooth skin and strong nails, but we can’t make them in the body so we have to get them from our diet. Oily fish (fresh, frozen or tinned), nuts and seeds, beans, lentils and avocado are good sources so get them in when you can. If you're struggling, have a tablespoon of Udo’s Choice Ultimate Oil Blend every day instead, either straight off the spoon or drizzled over your porridge in the morning.     

Make booze your buddy
Decide on a couple of drinks that you are going to consume over the festive season and stick to them. Don’t allow friends and workmates to coerce you into downing copious cocktails and creamy concoctions, just stick to your plan. Top choices: extra dry champagne (98kcals), dry white wine spritzers (100kcals), Kir Royales (121kcals), rich red wine (120kcals), vodka martinis (117kcals), vodka, lime and soda (120kcals), Bloody Marys (86kcals) and Manhattans (130kcals). And don’t forget to have a glass of water for every alcoholic drink.

Know your nibbles
Party nibbles often involve pastry and/or are deep fried. There is no doubt that many of them are delicious and hard to resist but your waistline won’t thank you for overindulgence here. Top fat loss choices are raw vegetables with dips, rolled smoked salmon, quails eggs, olives, fresh nuts, chicken kebabs, mini wraps, sushi, omelette squares, blinis with toppings, cold meats, fresh fruit dipped in dark chocolate.

Don’t let the unfit grind you down
You might find that friends who have decided they're going to seriously let loose on NYE will try every trick in the book to make you feel like a party pooper if you're more focused on exercise than drinking in the run up to the event. There are three ways to handle this. One: be a bit secretive and don’t say a word about that early morning run or the spin class you managed to squeeze in before an event. Two: take one day at a time and don’t beat yourself up if there are days where work plus social commitments don’t allow for exercise time. Three: make your limited time for exercise count – do 20-30 minutes of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) rather than trying to find an hour to go out for a steady-state run.

Follow nutritionist and author, Fiona Kirk on her website fatbustforever.com