Perhaps you're already bracing yourself for the inevitable weight gain of the holiday season.
It's true most of us will spend a lot of our Christmas holidays eating too much food, and sitting around more than we should.
If this is a regular cycle for you, why not challenge yourself to break that bad habit?
Let's be clear, a diet of deprivation is not heart-healthy. However, there should be a few limits in place, to help you keep your health in order, and avoid the 1-5 pounds many Americans gain over the Christmas period.
So, what can you do to keep your heart fit and healthy this holiday season?
1. Eat The Right Foods
It's tempting, when you have a big party at night, to starve yourself all day in an attempt to save a few calories for later. But, that's the last thing you should do.
Begin your day like you would any other day, by eating a healthy breakfast (I recommend a protein-based option like eggs), a light lunch, and healthy snacks (nuts, seeds, fresh fruit) throughout the day.
That way you won't arrive at the party absolutely famished, and ready to eat everything in sight.
Keeping things pretty normal throughout the day will help you to avoid taking in more calories than you need, and will help you to control overeating.
Try to focus mostly on the healthier options available to you, for example raw veg crudites, salads, nuts and fresh fruit. But, do allow some room for a special treat, too. Completely avoiding what you love isn’t good for stickability.
When it comes to Christmas dinner, the main thing to remember is portion control. Don't pile your plate high with food, but do allow yourself a small taste of everything on offer, then fill up with lots of lightly steamed veg.
If you feel like going for seconds, remember to wait at least 10 minutes before you refill your plate. That will allow time for your satiety levels to signal, and can help you to avoid overeating.
Another way to cut a huge amount of unnecessary calories from your diet, is to take care with drinks. This includes all soft drinks, alcohol and fruit juices.
Water is undoubtedly your best option, and avoiding those empty calories will mean you can afford to be a little more relaxed with the Christmas cake, or chocolates.
2. Manage Stress Levels
If you have a heart condition, managing your stress levels is extremely important. One of the best ways to do that is to understand what makes you feel particularly anxious, and then try to avoid it.
The holiday season tends to be extremely busy for most people, and it can get overwhelming, if you take on too much. Prioritizing your activities using a to-do list may be particularly helpful.
Also remember that it's okay to say no if something doesn't suit you. It's also okay to ask for help, if you feel overwhelmed by the amount of things you need to get done.