Ah, the holidays. A time for fun, laughter, joy, goodwill to all and lots and lots of tempting food and drink practically wherever you turn.
There are office parties, client parties, family parties, seasonal buffets and office kitchens stuffed with cookies, cakes and all kinds of seasonal treats. And after all that is over there is still the big New Year's bash. In other words, a lot of chances to over-indulge.
There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't treat yourself a little over the holiday season. It's no fun for anyone to play rabbit in a corner with a green salad and a glass of sparkling water when everyone else is happily feasting away on all your favorite food and drinks.
On the other hand, though you really don't want to start off the New Year feeling groggy, bloated and with an alarming number of extra pounds registering when you step on the scales. However, there is a way to find a balance. Here are a few tips to help you plan a healthier holiday season while still having fun.
Watch Your Portions
Portion control may be the most important way that you can help ensure that you have a happy, but healthier, holiday season. When people see all the amazing looking – and smelling – food in front of them they do tend to overload their plates out of sheer excitement (and maybe a bit of greed)
Take a smaller plate and keep your portion sizes under control. Don't let all of that hard work you've put in all year long to following a healthy diet be undone by a mountain of mashed potatoes or a third helping that you really didn't need.
Keep up with Your Workouts
Contrary to what the advertisers would have you believe, Christmas Day is just one day, as is New Year's, it is not a celebration that is supposed to run the course of the whole of December. This means that as far as possible you should keep up with your usual workouts and healthy diet. Yes, this is a busier time than usual but if at all possible still find the time to hit the gym.
On Christmas Day itself of course it's hardly likely that the gym will even be open, and to skip out of the family celebrations early to go and work out is likely to be seen as rather rude anyway. You can however walk off a bit off that big Christmas lunch and if you can persuade a couple of family members or friends to come with you it'll be a nice chance to catch up away from all the noise anyway.
Don't Shop Hungry
Still have holiday shopping to do and planning a day at the mall to get it all done at once? Eat a nice healthy meal before you go. By doing so you will not only have more energy for all the shopping ahead but you also won't need to stop by the food court for something that would no doubt be overpriced and rather unhealthy simply because you are too hungry to wait to eat until you get home.
Remember, Alcohol Has Calories, and Plenty of Them
It's the season for good cheer, cheer which many of us find is served in liquid form. And while once again we are not suggesting you spend the holidays as a teetotaler we are suggesting that you watch what and how much you drink if you don't want to sabotage all of your good diet efforts.
Popular alcoholic drinks have more calories than people realize. That beer? Anywhere between 110 and 175 a glass. Wine isn't always as much of a low-calorie alternative as people thing either. A good Shiraz? Around 130 calories per glass. And those creamy Christmas cocktails? They can contain as many calories as a meal!
If you really want to cut some calories and still drink you can a) drink less b) drink a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume (which will help stave off hangovers as well) and c) opt for a lower calorie option like prosecco – which 80 calories a glass and yet is still very bubbly and festive – or vodka – which only has 64 calories per serving – mixed with sparkling water or diet soda.
Follow these tips and your Christmas season should be a lot healthier and a lot happier as you should feel more energized and set for the challenges of the New Year ahead.