Last year, in the lead-up to a two-week-long trip to China, I em­barked on what I called a pre­tox, though, more ac­cu­rately, it should have been called a pre-in­tox. My logic was this: along with the ex­cel­lent ad­ven­ture of head­ing to a coun­try I’d never vis­ited be­fore, I knew that a fort­night away from home meant er­ratic ex­er­cise habits, over-in­dulging in food and drinks, and un­pre­dictable sleep pat­terns in new beds and time zones. I fig­ured if I headed into the tour in a nearop­ti­mum state of well­ness, I might not com­pletely ig­nore the fact that calo­ries and fit­ness don’t take a hol­i­day when I do. That’s not to say I was pu­ri­tan­i­cal when I boarded the cruise I was on, just that I didn’t throw all self-con­trol over­board (which I usu­ally do).

Each morn­ing I watched the rit­u­als of other pas­sen­gers who were clearly do­ing the same. Some hit the gym, oth­ers did lap af­ter lap of the deck. They ig­nored juices, pas­tries and Eggs Bene­dict in favour of fruit and nat­u­ral yo­ghurt, a sim­ple egg dish with a side of toma­toes and spinach, or whole­grain toast with smoked salmon.

I’d see the same guests later in the day hap­pily drink­ing cham­pagne or tuck­ing into car­bonara or choco­late pud­ding. I did the same. It was all down to re­straint, here and there.

Fit­bits were also the ac­ces­sory of choice, with peo­ple glee­fully an­nounc­ing their daily steps tally. One shore day, my trav­el­ling mates and I did just over 26,000 steps, com­pletely jus­ti­fy­ing the frozen mar­gar­i­tas.

If you’re keen to stay fit and healthy on hol­i­days, turn the page to dis­cover Paul Ewart’s an­nual new year, new you guide.

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