Sport Fitness Boxing Day diet: Why it’s really not worth it

Boxing Day diet: Why it’s really not worth it

The news is good: you don't need to get rid of your leftovers. Photo: Getty
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If you’re like most Australians waking up this morning, your stomach is probably still full from the Christmas Day banquet and your head perhaps suffering a dull ache.

There’s no doubt this time of year carries the high risk of your taste buds getting the better of you, leading to an overindulgence of all things rich, creamy and carbohydrate loaded.

But, don’t put yourself on a Boxing Day diet just yet.

In fact, Alison Patterson, advanced sports dietitian of Sports Dietitians Australia, warned not to get caught up in any guilty or regretful feelings about Christmas Day.

“Instead, remember that it is only one day and it won’t undo your healthy eating habits for the year,” she said.

What to eat on Boxing Day

If you do feel as if you over did it yesterday, Ms Patterson suggested tuning into your appetite to guide what – and how much – you need to eat on Boxing Day and beyond.

“If you’ve indulged on Christmas Day, it’s more than likely you’ll not be as hungry as normal, so adjust your portion sizes to match this,” she told The New Daily.

“Don’t put yourself on a ‘Boxing Day diet’ though – this will just lead to extreme hunger in the days after, which most likely lead to overeating again.

“And then, the overeating and restricting cycle continues.”

The good news is that you don’t need to turf all of the left-overs either.

Instead, make conscious and controlled choices about what you select to eat from now on.

Use your left-over turkey for sandwiches, salads or wraps. Photo: Getty

There are loads of delicious and nutritious foods about at this time of year – particularly seafood, fresh summer fruits and vegetables, leftover leg ham and turkey breast.

“Make the most of these on Boxing Day to get back on track with your healthy eating habits,” advised Ms Patterson.

If you are backing up today with another social occasion, it is best to avoid arriving hungry.

Instead, have a small and healthy snack before the function to take the edge off your appetite.

You won’t eat as much as a result.

What to do on Boxing Day

Believe it or not, it is possible to exercise on Boxing Day and enjoy yourself!

A beach walk or jog, a game of backyard cricket or a swim in the pool are sure-fire ways to get moving, and feeling, better after yesterday’s extravaganza.

But remember, exercising in the heat can put added stress on your body.

So, if you’re able, try to work out in the morning, or hit the trails this evening after the temps have dipped.

Remember to keep on top of your hydration needs before, during and after the session.

For example, aim to start your exercise with pale yellow pee and sip on cold water regularly throughout the session.

It is important to keep hydrated when exercising. Photo: Getty

Afterwards, make sure you rehydrate with plenty of cool water to replace sweat losses.

What to drink on Boxing Day

Finally, when it comes to alcohol consumption and exercise this week, Sports Dietitians Australia outline some important reminders for recreational and high level athletes alike:

• Alcohol can delay recovery from soft tissue injuries. Instead of constricting blood flow (the reason for the standard ice and elevation treatment), alcohol dilates the blood vessels meaning a slower recovery.

• Alcohol is a diuretic, making it harder for you to keep hydrated. Even being slightly dehydrated can affect your sporting performance.

• Drinking your calories via alcohol means you miss out on important training fuels, such as carbohydrate. Despite popular belief, alcoholic drinks, such as beer and wine, are poor sources of carbs.

So, now that the big day is over for another year, set yourself a two-drink limit.

If you know your friends will drink more, avoid their rounds and buy your own.

Plus, alternate your alcoholic beverages with soft drink, or even better, water.

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