Christmas is just around the corner and the thrill of the holidays is in the air. Holiday season also comes with an unsurprising downside: the dreaded holiday bulge. That’s right: the onslaught of childhood favorites, holiday mainstays, and fussy aunts and mothers piling more food onto your plate can really do a number on your diet and figure. You may think it’s all simply a holiday staple, but it carries a lot more serious weight than you think.

The Risks

Strange as it may sound, many first aid training providers in Perth find no shortage of find no shortage of events requiring first aid occurring during the holiday season. The number of cardiovascular emergencies rise during the holidays, given the exposure to large amounts of alcohol, and sweet rich food— not that you didn’t already have enough holiday risks to worry about.

An average Australian gains up to about 0.8 to 1.5 kilos over the Christmas holidays, which is a significant enough gain to worry about, especially if you are obese, overweight, or are at high risk for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Added weight, especially around the abdominal area, has been linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Also, while you may think that the holiday weight comes off as quickly once the decorations are pulled down, it stays on much longer.

Avoid the Holiday Bulge

It may be tempting to go on a crash diet or to obsess over your weight once the holiday foods start rolling in, but these methods are not sustainable at all and can get in the way of having fun with the rest of your family or company. Here are some handy tips to consider before committing to a new pant size this holiday season:

  1. Maintain your weight. Don’t make losing weight an objective over the Christmas season. Instead, focus on maintenance. This will help you stop worrying about losing and limiting yourself too much. By setting the right goals, you can at least commit to eating the amount of food you normally eat without going overboard.
  2. Go to parties on a full stomach. Much like how it’s advised to do your groceries on a full stomach, do the same for those holiday parties. Going on an empty stomach kicks your brain into scarcity overdrive, and you will immediately start snacking on the high-calorie foods spread in front of you. Also, instead of bingeing on the same rich food beforehand, go for healthy and filling foods, like a vegetable wrap, some yogurt and cereal, or some fruit.
  3. Control your portions. If you know your will is weak and you cannot help but indulge, you must acknowledge it beforehand. A happy compromise is reaching for a smaller plate and smaller utensils when eating. This way, you’re sure to eat less of a regular portion.
  4. Pile up on greens. Piling up on food is inevitable, so cheat the system by piling up on healthy foods such as vegetables. Go for seconds at the oft-forgotten corner of the table where the fruits sit, waiting. Encourage the serving of legumes and whole grains at holiday feasts, or better yet, introduce them to the table yourself.
  5. Cheat the healthy way. There’s no way around some holiday dishes, but you can cheat by tweaking the recipes to be much healthier, which would not only benefit you but your loved ones as well. Use yogurt instead of cream for fruit salads, or hummus and avocado for dips instead of the rich, store-bought ones. Put away the bags of chips and chop up some crunchy vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, and turnips to put on the snack bar. Pretzels and rice crackers are also a great replacement for junk foods.
  6. Keep to a maximum of 1 or 2 alcoholic drinks per day. You can drink eggnog and wine to enjoy yourself and feel a little more holiday warmth in your cheeks, but don’t go overboard. Alcoholic drinks pack an alarmingly high sugar content, which, when over-consumed, will lead to more weight gain.
  7. Cut back on candy. Candy canes are a Christmas staple, but keep them plastic and decorative for trees and ornaments. Keep one or two real candies to give to children as special treats, but stay away from them yourself.
  8. This may already sound exhausting, but don’t give up exercise over the holidays. You don’t have to groan all the way to the gym, though. You can simply pry yourself away from the couch and start a game of catch in the yard, or help with chores. Maintaining an exercise routine also has the dual benefit of starting Christmas traditions and bonding with loved ones.

The Christmas season is meant to be a joyous occasion spent with loved ones. Raising health risks by over-indulging isn’t the ideal way to spend the holiday season. Keep your body happy and healthy over the holidays and you’ll be sure to have more happy holidays to spend with loved ones over the coming years.

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This post was written by GDI

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