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festive season

Christmas is the time for plenty of good grub, spending WAY too much time with the family and just taking it easy.

If fitness is a big part of your life or you're looking to keep off the pounds over the festive period, we've got some tips and tricks for staying in shape.

However, we have to say that you SHOULD indulge over the Crimbo and don't even think about the calories you're consuming.

Walks with the gal

It's a rare occasion that all the gals are off work and are free to meet up.

A walk in the park with your closest friends is a great way to move over Christmas and it's a great excuse to get away from the family for an hour or two.

It is also an activity that you can tailor into your festive schedule, so it could be a quick 20 min chat-up or a two-hour stroll.

Ice Skating

It's the best winter fun around and ice skating can help to digest all the mince pies you've inhaled.

In general, a 45-minute muck-about on the ice will melt away 451 calories.

So get the fluffy socks out and lace up to enjoy some winter fitness.

Hiking

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Wrap up warm and get the hiking boots on.

There are plenty of trails and hikes to discover over the festive period.

It will give you an opportunity to reconnect with nature and to slow down after a year of working.

Water

Central heating, consuming large amounts of salt and being inactive can lead to one thing – dehydration.

So make sure that you keep one healthy habit this Crimbo and keep the water on hand.

Your body will thank you for it as it attempts to digest an uncountable number of roses sweets. 

Christmas Day swim 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Change up the way you start your Christmas day with a dip in the sea.

Make sure you find a safe swimming spot and enjoy the freezing cold, crisp open water.

Cold water boasts many healing properties such as easing depression.

It's a great way to end the year. 

5km Festive run

It's a tradition for a lot of households to do a 5 km run to kick off the festive season.

If you can drag any family member out on Christmas morning, it's a perfect way to start the day.

If your boyfriend's relatives do a 5km run for fun – we are sending you sympathy hugs (and there's still time to break-up with him before Christmas).

But they might be onto something as the run will ignite those endorphins (aka happy hormones) – and it doesn't matter if you run, walk or crawl the 5 km.

Stepping your way into the sales

Get in those steps as you hit the sales this year.

Elbows out as you wade your way through the crowds and snap up some bargains.

All your muscle power will come in handy as you wrestle the last pair of Gucci gloves out of an old lady's hands – they're stronger than they look.

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Christmas is LESS than a week away, so naturally we've complied the things you'll probably encounter over the festive period.

Deep breathes lads, grab a drink and see how many you and your mates relate to on this list.

Sure, it wouldn't be an Irish Crimbo without them.

1. The relative that asks you what 'Santa got you' even though you're 25 – and don't forget the wink if there’s a child around.

2. Hiding Roses wrappers – you have no idea how many you've managed to eat without vomiting and you're hiding the wrappers of shame from the fam.

3. Being woken up to go to early mass or trying to stay awake for midnight mass – and the church is always freezing, WHY?

4. Having to fake liking a gift – they've no clue what you're into or what you like and haven't bothered to find out. This one will definitely be re-gifted, thanks Linda.

5. Getting to the age when gifts of socks and shower gel are exciting presents – sure, we can't afford the luxuries anymore when we are forking out an arm and half for rent in Dublin.

 

6. Your siblings that have well and truly moved out of the house are back for the Christmas period and this means war. Reverting back to childhood roles and fighting over the remote is just a rite of passage.

7. Board games are broken out and they start off well, until someone gets WAY too drunk, starts a fight or storms off.

8. It wouldn't be Christmas without your drunk uncle singing RA songs in the corner.

9. The unwanted comments on your fashion choices – "that skirt is a bit short, did you forget your trousers?"  "Are you not cold wearing that?" "Do you know you have holes in your jeans?" – EYE ROLL.

10. Trying to find your glass of wine; It's come to that time in the evening when everyone is tipsy and nobody knows who's glass is whose. 

11. You've been looking forward to your FAVE soap Christmas special all year. The writers are going ALL out and the plot is just divine…and then you have that one person who has never seen an episode since last Christmas asking who every character is – breathe, just breathe.

12.  It isn't a family gathering without this question and we suggest a shot of bourbon every time it's asked – DO YOU HAVE A BOYFRIEND YET? When the answer to that question is you have a better relationship with wine than the male species – just smile and walk away.

13. It wouldn't be the silly season without the grandparents being slightly racist – just look at the ground, deep breathes.

14. Spicy comments about any of this year's referendums – my body, my choice, Declan – don't start.

15. Or any political comments that you just don't have the strength to argue about after a year of working your ass off at work.

16. Same conversation again and again – yes I'm still single, yes I'm still working there, yes, nothing has changed.

17. Having to watch the Angelus bells on RTE, although you have no religious beliefs, but you know your mother is watching and she'll disown you otherwise.  

18. The one relative that always loses or misplaced their glasses – cue the entire room looking for them, when they realise they were sitting on them in whole time. 

19. The person who said they aren't drinking but ends up getting hammered.

20. The hungover person: the one who was way too ambitious with the drink on Christmas eve, and they're trying not to vomit as they force the Christmas dinner down. 

21. Waking up at crack of dawn for the Christmas sales, being abused by the crazy crowds for a bargain and then being shamed by the family for going out on the holy days and ruining tradition.  

22. Acting surprised as money from the Christmas card falls into your lap – ah, Jesus that's a lovely card Mary, OOHH and €50 too – ah you shouldn't have.

 

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It really isn't Christmas without baby Hermione, Ron and Harry gracing our telly screens.

Every year it's a rite of passage to watch the actors grow up in Hogwarts.

This Christmas, RTÉ have done us a right solid and made sure we could find all the Harry Potter movies in ONE PLACE.

Cancel messing around with DVDs, streaming sites and tv schedules – the national broadcaster has you sorted.

So here's what you need to know: 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone will be on Christmas Eve at 14:35 on RTÉ2.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets will be showing on Christmas Day at 15:40 on RTÉ2.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban will take to your screens on St Stephen’s Day at 15:25 on RTÉ2.

Sit back on St Stephen’s Day for a double bill, as Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire will be on at 17:50 on RTÉ2.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will be shown on December 27 at 15:20 on RTÉ2

Sticking with the magic, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will also be on December 27 at 17:45 on RTÉ2. 

For the final instalments, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One and Two will be gracing our screens on December 28 at 15:45 and 18:15 on RTÉ2, respectively.

Big high five to RTÉ and if you're looking for me, I'll be enjoying this movie marathon with a ridiculous amount of food.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

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With the Christmas party season already well on the way, every occasion is a worthwhile opportunity for good food and glasses of Prosecco.

With so much over-indulging, it can be easy to go up a few pounds without even noticing.

If you're worried that you'll fall off the healthy eating wagon over the next few weeks, take note of these tips. Christmas can still be as fun-filled as usual, but with a few tweaks you won't be terrified to step on the scales come New Year's Day!

1. Be realistic
December is not the time to launch into a brand new diet plan. If you're trying to lose weight, let the festive season be about maintaining your weight and not making any gains. If you're too strict with yourself, you're more likely to give in and over-eat. Don't deprive yourself!

2. Avoid mindless snacking
There's always going to be a cheeky box of Celebrations or bag of crisps lying around as Christmas draws nearer. Save your indulgences for things you'll actually savour, like a mince pie after dinner or a cocktail with the girls. You'd be surprised how quickly the calories can pile up when you keep reaching into that box of Roses for "just the one."

3. Eat before the party
If you're going to an event that you know will be full of tempting food, fuel up on something healthy and filling beforehand. Arriving at a party with a rumbling stomach means you have no choice but to dig into all the finger food on offer.

4. Don't be afraid to say "no"
We're all guilty of stuffing an extra slice of Christmas cake into us because Nana would hate to see us go hungry. But if you're genuinely full, just say "no thanks." Its not going to hurt anyone's feelings – you're the only one who notices!

5. Don't have the one too many
Alcohol not only lashes extra calories onto our daily intake, but we're more likely to relax our eating when we've had a few. Unless it's a big night out, stick to one or two drinks and opt for sparkling or still water between every alcoholic drink.

6. Try not to go back for seconds
Sometimes a second helping is just too good to resist, but keep it small and limit yourself to one food type rather than filling your plate up again with an entire dinner. Start off with a reasonably full plate first time around, so that you'll be satisfied enough to resist going back for more.

7. Get some exercise in
It can be hard to fit in exercise if it's raining or icy outside, but do your best when you can. Even a brisk walk around the shops or a stroll after dinner will do your diet the world of good.

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