How do you celebrate Valentine’s day?

Do you start with breakfast in bed?

Maybe a glass of champagne? Is there a box of chocolates waiting for you? Does your lover take you out for a scumptious meal?

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And then, as you are sitting across the table from him or her, are you suddenly hit by guilt. You haven’t been for a run, you skipped your yoga practice or you cancelled the boxercise  class you normally go to. And if that isn’t bad enough, you are now eating double, if not treble, your calorie allowance in one single mouthful of chocolate-covered dessert!

Okay, breathe. You really need to let all that angst go, because if there is one thing you need to take on board when it comes to healthy living, it is that sometimes you just need to chill out and relax.

There is nothing wrong with an occasional treat. You are not going to pile on the pounds just because you let your guard down for one day. Rather than spoil all that special treatment, let the pleasure do its work and release endorphins, because you are enjoying yourself, laughing and having fun. If you are tense and uptight, you will become stressed and your body will react accordingly. And that doesn’t even take into account the effect that this might have on your relationship.

But if you still know that Valentine’s Day is going to be spoiled, because you will inevitably be feeling guilty, then here are some tips to reduce, if not totally eliminate your guilt…

Valentine’s day on a diet

Put some calories in the bank

If you know you are going to skip exercise for a day and eat more than usual, give yourself some calorie-credit. In the days running up to 14 February, go for a longer run than usual or do an extra class. You could also reduce your calorie intake for a few days, cut down by 200 calories for five days, and you can afford to eat more on Valentine’s Day.

How to eat healthy and still enjoy your Valentine's day

Plan a payback session

You can always payback the calories you have eaten. The day after Valentine’s Day plan a new physical challenge. For every mile you walk, you burn approximately 100 calories, so take your loved one for a post-Valentine romantic walk. Plan the route beforehand and feel your muscles burn as you eat up the miles. Alternatively, try a completely new activity. Again, involve your partner. Maybe you can have a go at a sport/activity he or she loves. Or you can discover something new together. Cycling, climbing, canoeing, frisbee in the park – there are hundreds of activities out there, give one a go.

Train your partner

It may be that dropping subtle hints to your partner is the way to go. Hints such as “I would love a massage” might inspire a gift that involves a trip to a spa rather than a box of chocolates. Telling him/her how much you would like to take a weekend break could lead to plenty of walking around a new city, instead of sitting for hours in a restaurant. Or how about getting inspiration from the winter Olympics and spending a weekend on the slopes?

Finally, there is one activity that combines love and activity – make his or her Valentine’s Day by suggesting that you never leave the bedroom, but burn plenty of calories in the process!

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