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We associate the holidays with abundance: gifts, laughter, reunions and most especially, food. In every party and get-together, rich, fatty foods that we usually avoid are laid out for everyone to indulge in.

It’s not called a holiday feast for nothing. This is a time to be merry and enjoy the company of loved ones and friends, and it’s never complete without a proper feast to celebrate it with.

But just because it’s there, doesn’t mean that you should bear the extra weight of eating to excess. You can still make the most of the holiday spread without packing on the pounds. Here’s how.

1. Hydrate with water, not with sugary beverages, alcoholic drinks, or coffee.

Cola, fizzy drinks, and most juices are filled with sugar and empty calories that you should avoid at all cost. Alcoholic drinks will not only give you a hangover when consumed in excessive amounts, but can also contribute to added weight, especially around the belly (beer belly, anyone?). Coffee and other caffeinated drinks are diuretics, which contribute to fluid loss, not add to it. Water will give you a fuller feeling, which will help avoid too much food intake.

2. Eat your greens first, eat more produce and protein, and eat carbs sparingly.

Indulge in a big salad serving before attacking any of the other food groups. This will make you feel fuller and lessen the chance of you over-indulging in other less healthy food. Fruits and vegetables are always good for you because these provide the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy. There’s no need to totally avoid your cakes, pasta, and other carbs, however, just don’t eat too much of it. Limit your servings: instead of your usual full slice of cake, take a smaller slice instead.

3. Savor your food and eat slowly.

Take the time to enjoy your food. Talk with people more than focusing on eating. It’s the time to bond and connect with your relatives and loved ones, after all. Don’t make the holidays just about the food on the table. Relationship are important, invest in it.

4. Stay active.

Dance, play outdoor games, walk after a meal. Tickle the little ones, throw a round of football out in the yard, or jump on the trampoline. Whatever you do, try to sneak in a bit of exercise in between the holiday “feasting”, and you’ll lose as much weight as you might potentially gain.

5. Don’t starve yourself before a big feast.

Never go to a holiday feast on an empty stomach. You’ll end up gorging on more than you had planned to eat. No amount of willpower can prevent you from giving in to your body’s need for fuel, and when it’s hungry, the first thing your body will crave for are usually the carbo-loaded food on the table.

 

Written by Winifredo Tiangco, MD

Winifredo Tiangco, MD

Dr. Winifredo S. Tiangco is a renaissance man in the medical profession as a specialist in a variety of fields including ENT, Facial Plastic Surgery, Stem Cell Medicine, and Medical Acupuncture. Regenestem Manila banks on his 15 outstanding years as a physician, surgeon, and consultant in some of the most respected hospitals and medical agencies here and abroad.

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