Tips to help busy Mums feel fantastic this party season

There's enough to think about and plan for at Christmas-time without worrying about slimming down for the party season, but it's a fact that we all want to look our best when we visit friends or families or go to Christmas and New Year's parties. Fortunately, there are lots of little hints and tips that you can employ to help you do just that. 

Sweet treats

Christmas these days seems to be a time of over-indulgence in everything and can leave us bloated and lethargic. Avoiding such Christmas staples such as fat- and sugar-filled Advocaat, high-calorie nuts and the endless chocolate boxes and trays of mince pies can go a long way towards helping you maintain your figure throughout Christmas.

·    Remember that the sugar in fruit juice translates to calories when you drink it, so if you're drinking spirits, consider topping them up with tonic water instead or soda water with a squeeze of fresh lime instead of cordial.

·    Spice it up your seasonal veg and cut calories:
·    Instead of sautéing green beans in butter, steam them and season with spices such as cumin and turmeric, then drizzle on 1 tsp olive oil.
·    Toss some ginger and lemon zest onto cooked carrots instead of glazing them in honey.
·    Add grated orange zest and cinnamon to roasted butternut squash, and skip the butter and brown sugar.

·    If you are craving something sweet – look online for healthy desert recipes like chocolate covered Katie – filled with lots of inspiration on how to re-create your favourite sweet treats the healthy way.

Dig out your trainers

Stepping up your health and fitness can really help make a difference. Thirty minutes in the gym a couple of times a week won't take too much out of your day but can make all the difference.

·    Places like LA Fitness gyms now offer free trial guest passes so you can visit your local gym to try out a new class. How about Zumba classes to tone you up and allow you to strut your stuff on New Year's Eve? Or yoga or pilates classes to help you unwind after a busy day preparing for Santa's arrival while stretching and toning? To get the most out of a gym work out make sure you use a mixture of cardio and weights.

·    If getting out of the house for exercise in the evenings isn't possible, there are plenty of things you can do in the lounge to help you trim down. Fitness DVDs, Wii Fit and Kinect can all help, or you can simply use a set of weights and work on strength and resistance training to tone up and look great. 

Get the most out of being busy

One of the good things (from a health perspective) about the high-speed mania of Christmas preparations is the amount of rushing around you are likely to do. Approach this as a workout as well as a Christmas shop and you'll be dropping a dress size even as you buy.

·    Consider parking at the wrong end of the car park and walking in, make sure you're in comfortable clothes and trainers and carry a back pack rather than a handbag to save your back.

·    March everywhere like a woman on a mission and feel your heart-rate elevate as you burn calories as well as a hole in your credit card. 

·    However busy you might be make sure you don’t skip meals. This slows down your metabolism by 20% to 30% and could lead you to overeat later on.

·    Use the stairs, not the store lifts or escalators.

·    Even if you have a ‘to-do’ list as long as your arm make sure you get enough sleep. Studies have found that sleeping fewer than 8 hours a night can be linked to a BMI (higher body mass index) as the lack of sleep influences hormones that regulate your appetite.

Don't forget exercise is a great stress-buster, and Christmas certainly counts as one of the most stressful times of the year and if there’s one time of the year most people put on weight this is it! So start thinking now about staying healthy and fit this Christmas and you could be well on your way to feeling amazing that little black dress.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.