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It’s the time of the year again when all are starting to get busy shopping for presents and spending their bonuses. And of course, parties and gatherings are there left and right— which also means, eating left and right. Companies are starting to have their parties as early as first week of the month to the week before Christmas. It also depends how many departments you are part of, because sometimes it will be a series of parties. Aside from these company parties, there are numerous family and barkada gatherings, which means more chances of eating.
Yes, what is a gathering, without food? We filipinos are food lovers, and we never take for granted enjoying with our friends and loved ones especially during Christmas season. So if you are wondering how you’ll survive the holiday party season? You can still enjoy all the festivities of the season and get through the Christmas period without too much impact on your health and waistline. Try out this tips for a healthy holiday season:
1. Don't sit down all day.

We know that every heartfelt Christmas movies will be showing on the TV, but you don’t need to stuck yourself on the sofa all day! Encourage the whole family to get out for a walk at some point – ideally, after dinner to aid digestion. The more activity, the better, so take along any new outdoor gifts, like bikes, scooters, footballs or Frisbees, or play old-fashioned games.

2. Stay Hydrated.

On the day of a big night out, and the day after, make a conscious effort to drink 6-8 glasses of water, or plenty of herbal teas or diluted juice. Even mild dehydration can lead to a headache and combined with the diuretic effects of alcohol makes maintaining your fluid intake so important. Regular teas and coffee count towards your fluid intake, but caffeinated versions shouldn’t make up your full quota.

3. Go easy on the booze.

Don’t be tempted to skip meals so you can stockpile calories for drinking. Alcohol only supplies empty calories, so avoiding proper meals to compensate for a booze splurge means you’re losing out on valuable nutrients, just when your body needs them to help it detoxify. Alcohol can interfere with your blood sugar by slowing the release of glucose into the bloodstream; What’s more, alcohol breaks down your inhibitions and judgment, which makes you that much less likely to resist the junk foods that you would otherwise be able to pass up.

Bonus tip: Stick to one type of drink and make it a lighter-colored one because they tend to be lower in the chemical by-products that can worsen a hangover. Aiming to have no more than one alcoholic drink an hour, alternated with juice, water or soft drinks – is perfect if you don’t like holding an empty glass. 

4. Keep the focus on fun, not food

Celebrating Christmas in the Philippines always calls for a feast. Christmas at your house might not be the same without the feastive foods, but that doesn’t mean food has to be the main focus. Rather than mindlessly popping whatever is in front of you in your mouth, spend a moment thinking about whether you really want it, or are just eating it because it’s there. Instead, throw yourself into the other rituals a holiday brings, whether it’s caroling or spending quality time with your family.

5. Indulge in only the most special holiday treats.

Skip the store-bought cookies, but do save some calories in your ‘budget’ to try treats that are homemade and special to your family, such as your wife’s special Mango float  cake. Training yourself what to indulge in and what to skip is much like budgeting your money: Do you want to blow it on garbage that you can buy anywhere or on a very special, one-of-a-kind souvenir?

6. Stock the freezer with healthy meals.

Everyone’s overly busy during the holidays, and most of us want to spend our time shopping, decorating, or seeing friends and family, which leaves less time to cook healthy meals. Take defensive action several weeks ahead of time by cooking meals intended specifically for the freezer. You’ll be thankful later when you can pop one of the meals into the oven or microwave and turn your attention instead to writing out holiday cards with a personal message in each.


7. Keep colds at bay

Colds are rife at Christmas, partly because many of us travel around the country, exposing ourselves – and others – to different cold viruses. Minimize your risks by maintaining a healthy immune system (eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and not smoking will help), so you are more able to fight off any viruses.

8. Don’t stress

‘Tis the season to be jolly’ but jolly is the last thing many of us feel with overspending, cooking, cleaning and visitors we could do without. Try to keep a sense of humor and proportion. It’s more relaxing to chill and enjoy the presence of your loved ones than to keep thinking the endless “to do” lists. Remember, Christmas is just one day out of 365 and it isn’t worth stressing over.

9. Embrace a project that will have lasting meaning: Organizing your family photos.

With today’s technology, camera phones gives us ready access to shot simple or special moments.This means mountain of snapshots that need to be sorted. Dispensing with this source of clutter will be stress relief in itself, but you also will get an emotional lift when you glimpse the photos again. You can also have the special photos developed as well. (Plus, what better holiday gift to give yourself or someone you love than a gorgeous album filled with family memories?) 

10. Make the change!

If our December mindset is “eating” mindset, make the change! Staying physically active during the holidays results to gaining less weight over the years.
A study conducted by the U.S. government found adults gained, on average, more than a pound of body weight during the winter holidays – and that they were not at all likely to shed that weight the following year. (That may not sound like a lot now, but it means having to buy roomier pants after a few Christmases pass.) The good news is that the people who reported the most physical activity through the holiday season showed the least weight gain. Some even managed to lose weight.


About The Author

Andrea is a full time home maker. When she is not busy taking care of her husband and kids, she goes out giving financial management talks. She is a proud breastfeeding mom for four years running and an avid Oleia Topical Oil user.