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We all love the festive season but hate the ‘holiday pounds’ from binge eating and drinking that come with it. Easier said than done, but there are ways around it. Here are some hacks to help lessen the calorie-guilt without sacrificing on fun that we all deserve.
1. AVOID BAD CARBS, FATS AND SWEETS
Where’s the party if there’s no lechon, ham, pancit, fruit salad, ube and leche flan? To not deprive ourselves, it’s fine to have some but best to avoid these evil treats. If we can’t, try to have them in moderation. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t eat everything in the menu. Instead, you’re doing yourself a favor by not overindulging since there are good alternatives for sure.
2. EAT LIGHT SNACKS BEFORE PARTYING
Contrary to the Pinoy-style of coming to a party with an empty stomach to make the most of the host’s buffet, do the opposite. Make the effort to keep 5 to 6 balanced meals per day regardless of your party line-up. Eat healthy bites before leaving your house to avoid overeating at gatherings. Sliced veggies (carrot, cucumber), healthy nuts (almond, walnut) or boiled eggs would be great.
3. PRACTICE PORTION CONTROL
If you’re faced with 10 dishes, limit your choice to only 7 and cap it to 3 plates – big healthy appetizer, medium main and small dessert. It’s fine to indulge on fresh veggie salads without the fattening dressing to fill you (good source for healthy carbs too). Then have your fist-size protein-based viands (chicken, beef, fish ideally) and a bit of rice. And end the meal with tiny bites of dessert – fresh fruits would be perfect.
4. CHAT MORE, EAT AND DRINK LESS
Food is the universal language and shared meals are integral to celebrations. Yet, it will be healthier (literally and figuratively) if we focus on the deeper essence of reuniting with our loved ones by talking more to each other in reunions. It’s been a year (or more) since you last met, so drop the ‘let’s eat’ cliché and do a proper catch up. Also, not all parties need food and drinks, so you might consider being creative by doing something else that your crowd may find engaging.
5. MAKE TIME FOR WORK OUT
Being away on holiday is not an excuse to not exercise. It’s simple time-management and you just need to do it. If you’d normally do hours of daily work out, either do half or less days. What’s key is to have cardio alternated with strength training. Why not get it out of the way immediately after waking up? Plus, you’ll have a good dose of endorphins that will put you to the right mood throughout the day.
6. SCHEDULE YOUR CALORIES
If you do calorie counting and use one of those free apps (example My Fitness Pal), don’t ditch the habit during the season. It will actually be more helpful in scheduling your food and calorie intake. Say, your daily calorie should only be 1,500 and know that you have two parties to attend, then plan how you’d eat on both to not exceed your limit. Distribute the magic number throughout the day and you won’t go wrong.
7. SAY ‘NO, THANK YOU’ OR ‘PASS’
It’s ‘very Pinoy’ for hosts to make sure that guests aren’t just full but really bloated after their party. While it’s a hospitable gesture, it’s not good for our health. Remember that it’s not rude to ‘pass’ or say ‘no, thanks’ to some food or drinks offered in a gathering. Just compensate by bringing more life to the party with your stories, antics or even gifts.
8. SLEEP AND REST
We all want to make the most of the yearend holidays and do what it takes to meet everyone and do everything. Yet, we need to listen to our body’s limitations too. Aim for 6-7 hours of nightly sleep and find time to relax during the holidays’ lull moments. Having too much fun is also tiring at times, so find the right balance to keep your body merry.
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