Ho ho ho! The season of overindulgence is here – talk about the ultimate temptation. We all know Christmas is a time to eat, drink and make merry. It is though, a time when we pick up bad eating habits and even neglect our fitness regimes. This can take its toll on our health. So, here are ten tips to help you stay fit while having all that fun.
TIP #1: STAY HYDRATED
Almost 60% of the human adult body is made of water. The body, especially the cells and organs need water to function properly. You need to maintain a healthy fluid intake daily during the festive season since you may take in some alcohol. Alcohol has a diuretic effect on the body (meaning you’ll pee a lot) and will make you lose body fluids. This is why you need to balance your fluid intake by keeping your body hydrated. Take in the usual six to eight glasses of water in a day. You can supplement this with some herbal teas and diluted juices. Staying hydrated also keeps your metabolism active and keeps you alert.
TIP #2: HAVE BREAKFAST
Well, as they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s even more important during the holidays if you want to maintain a healthy weight. Eating a fibre-packed breakfast made of foods like fruits, veggies, whole grain cereals, seeds and nuts may help you keep indulgences or temptations at bay. The fibre slows down stomach emptying, so you always feel full and do not have cravings.
TIP #3: DRINK LESS
It can be so easy to have a field day with the bottle during this festive season. Parties, having friends over, a little wine with dinner or a cocktail with breakfast are just a few of the ways you may be tempted to ‘have a little bit too much’. Aim to have not more than one or two glasses of alcoholic drink per day and stick to one type of drink. Do also drink some water, juices and soft drinks in between to prevent having a hangover.
TIP #4: DON’T STRESS
Ironically, it’s called the holidays and it’s a time for taking a breather. However, very few people get to relax with all the tall to-do lists, shopping, throwing parties (and going to some), cooking, cleaning…and the list goes on. Do try to cut down on all the hustle and bustle. Have some me-time. Curl up on the sofa to read a book, listen to classical music, watch your favourite movie or sit in the garden and journal. Do anything to keep your stress levels down.
TIP #5: EAT FRUITS
Fruits are usually the last thing on most people’s menus at Christmas. Pastries, sweets, cakes, meat and alcohol tend to take centre stage when we are cooking or even eating at a party. But what a better time to eat fruits than a time when we are packing up the calories, drinking, having late nights and partying. We need to up our intake of vitamins and minerals at this time to stay healthy. So, do add some grapefruits, bananas, pomegranates, pears and cranberries to your list next time you go shopping or have some fruits with your breakfast or dinner.
TIP #6: WORK OUT
All that merrymaking and overindulgence can make you slacken on your fitness plan. If this is your challenge, trade your daily workouts for a walk after lunch. This will keep your ticker healthy and help you burn off some calories. While you at it, don’t forget to exercise your brain too. Play some games or engage in mentally stimulating activities that will keep your brain active like playing cards, chess or solving puzzles.
TIP #7: CHOOSE CAREFULLY
One very important way to stay healthy over Christmas is to make healthy choices with regards to what you consume. But this is easier said than done, if your friend’s Christmas party turns out to be a buffet and you find yourself surrounded by a galore of delicacies. Well, this is when you need to be watchful and as disciplined as you can be. Stop eating as soon as you feel full. One of the best ways to ‘survive’ a Christmas buffet is to first go for some salads, veggies and protein (preferably fish). These are healthier and the fibre will make you feel full. Do also take your time to pick your food and leave the table as soon as your plate is full to avoid further temptations.
Having a pre-party snack can be one way to avoid overindulging, especially when you are at a party. These snacks slow down stomach emptying, so you don’t feel a hunger pang which usually happens after you have had some wine. Snacks like plain yoghurt and sliced banana, granary toast with nut butter, some muesli with milk and some chunky veggie soup make perfect pre-party snacks.
TIP # 8: GIVE GIFTS
Tis the season to be jolly…and to make others jolly too. It’s so easy to succumb to the pressure of consumerism and self-centeredness that occurs during the festive season. Everybody wants a ‘little something’ for themselves. But this Christmas, resolve to go out of your way to do something for others. Bake something extra to donate to an orphanage or the aged. You will be surprised how that gesture of goodwill will go a long way to put you in a good mood (which is mentally healthy).
TIP #9: COOK CAREFULLY
If you’re the chef this Christmas, then you will be alarmed to know it is a time where a lot of food poisoning incidents occur. So, be cautious with how you cook and store food. If you are the type that prefers to cook extra because you are too busy to cook every day, then dish out food into containers and refrigerate the rest. Make sure frozen food to be eaten is allowed to thaw well before being microwaved and by all means microwave thoroughly. Eat leftovers within 48 hours or freeze them.
TIP #10: BE COVID-CONSCIOUS
Like it or not, COVID-19 is the new Grinch. But you and your family can still have fun this Christmas season, while staying healthy and free of a COVID-19 infection, if you are a little mindful of the protocols for this pandemic. You must mask up in public places, use a hand sanitizer regularly, practise social distancing and get a vaccine.
Well then, till my next post, enjoy the Christmas season. Stay healthy and safe!
Disclaimer: The information shared by this post is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to be professional medical advice nor a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your physician concerning anything you have read here.
By Nana Ama Afoa Osae I Writer I GreatWonderful Team
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