1) Regulate stress
As fun as activities during festivals can be - there are parties to plan, gifts to buy, relatives to meet etc… - all of it can be quite taxing. By making time for self-care, taking time off to relax and unwind, whether going for a walk, meditating, reading a book or watching a film, try to do something that makes you happy.
Another important thing to do is to get enough sleep. Sleeping too little alters hormone levels in a way that encourages weight gain and cravings for less healthy food. By creating a sleep ritual where you shut off electronics an hour or two before bed, unwind and relax, you might even be able to continue this healthy habit once the festivities have died down.
2) Maintain a good exercise routine
Regular exercise is important as part of any lifestyle, but it is particularly important to keep up during the festive period. Not only does it help to burn those extra calories you’ll be eating, but it can also fight off illness by improving the immune system and combatting anxiety. That being said, don’t go over the top! Just because you’re eating a large serving of something doesn’t mean you need to run an extra 5 miles or try to take up deadlifting. Moderate exercise is the way to go – regular walks, yoga, light cardio, you name it. Create a schedule in advance and try to stick to it.
3) Stay hydrated
We often like to extol the virtues of staying hydrated. This can’t be too strange since water accounts for over 60% of our body’s weight. It’s necessary for many bodily functions, including the delivery of nutrients to our cells. Over festive seasons, as our routine temporarily changes and we may drink more alcohol than we should, it’s important to remember to keep drinking water.
Not only will it satiate hunger and keep you from eating too much or succumbing to cravings for chocolate and other sugary treats, it will be a welcome relief to any hangovers!
4) Limit indulgence to particular days
The holidays are about enjoying ourselves - there’s no point feeling guilty about that fact. Indulgence doesn’t have to be a dirty word. But, with a plan going into the festivities, you can prevent any feelings of regret later on.
The most important thing to remember is nobody gains weight just because of one enormous meal, or maybe even two. They gain weight or lose what they have previously built up because of habitual overeating. Just because your colleague brought in some homemade cookies to the office Christmas party doesn’t mean you have to eat a lot of them!
It’s the same with alcohol. Instead of sugary cocktails or beer, consider club soda with lime, it’s just as refreshing to a parched throat with far fewer calories. Keep the Champagne for New Year!
5) Choose healthier substitutes
Besides the above, don’t forget there are ways to keep even the unhealthier meals relatively healthy. For example, over Christmas, you could trade mashed potato for sweet mashed potato, or Greek yoghurt for sour cream. Over Lunar New Year, you could substitute steamed dumplings for fried dumplings or honey chicken slices for Bak kwa.