"You'd never catch me eating mince pies at Fanny's..."

In between eating mince pies and drinking mulled wine, we have decided to offer you some tips from the Fit-For Christmas survival guide. Christmas is a traditional time of excess and enjoyment – and who are we to stand in the way of that? However, by following a few simple steps, you can make Christmas a healthier and more lively affair. And you won’t still be suffering the after effects into the New Year…

Diet

Remember to drink plenty of water. This is especially important if you are drinking alcohol. Try to drink a pint of water before you go to bed and first thing in the morning. If you’re hosting a party or family get together, why not try healthier snacks and nibbles? Raw cashews and low fat dips and celery make a nice alternative.

There are loads of ways to make your Christmas dinner a healthy one. As well as the traditional roast potatoes, try serving boiled. Make sure you load up on vegetables and stay away from dark meat.

On Christmas and Boxing day have a large healthy breakfast. This will stop late morning hunger pangs. Porridge is popular, but try dusting off the blender and throwing in two bananas, a couple of satsumas and some yoghurt. This will not only fill you up, but also provide you with your 5 servings of fruit.

When someone tries to encourage you to ‘have another one’, draw the line and say no! You don’t really need two helpings of desert…Unless it’s cheesecake. And don't be tempted by left overs especially those lovely little roast potatoes that taste great with a bit of cold bread sauce mmmmm. Remember the old adage: "Fridge pickers wear big knickers" it will be your Christmas Mantra...

Christmas day exercise

Don’t spend all your time on the sofa watching the Queen’s speech – it’ll just be boring. Eating to excess and then sitting in front of the telly won’t get you up that mountain in the Etape or a win at Hillingdon. There are loads of ways to burn those calories off.

Get out for your family Christmas and Boxing day walk. An hour or so after dinner get your boots on and go for a 30 min walk. If nothing else it gets the blood pumping and gets you out the house.

Try to arrange a short Christmas or Boxing day ride with some friends. A quick hour’s ride will be fun and make you feel so much better. Convince your family that this is necessary for your sanity.

If a full blown ride’s not possible, then try and stealing 20 mins on the turbo trainer! But make sure the other half doesn’t find out. On second thoughts turbo training on Christmas day does seem a bit over keen...

Better still, buy the kids a new bike and take them out on your club run route. If they’ve got a new bike they’ll want to ride it all day and what better introduction than a 60 mile bike ride. Remember if it’s Christmas the tea room will be shut though…

If all of this just seems ludicrous to you (and I don’t see why it shouldn’t) then try to nominate yourself to go and pick up Grandma or walk the dogs or do some other activity; get the swiss ball out, organise some energetic charades, even volunteer to do the washing up - anything to stay active.

Whatever you do – have a Happy and fun Christmas and don’t even begin thinking about the New Year excesses yet!

The RCUK/FIT-FOR ten things to avoid on Christmas day

Brandy Butter and clotted cream

Stilton, Brie or creamy cheeses

Mince Pies and Christmas pudding

Red meat

Those sausages wrapped in bacon (I know they're lovely)

Beer

Terry's Chocolate Oranges

Nuts

Crisps

The afternoon/evening running buffet

The RCUK/FIT-FOR ten things to try instead...

Elmlea

Swiss Cheese or Edam

Stewed apples or a very small amount of christmas pudding (no pastry)

White meat

Small lean sausages with no bacon

Wine

Satsumas

Cashews

Snack-a-Jacks or pretzels

Go for a walk instead

Best wishes for Christmas and 2005 from John and everyone at Fit-For