Christmas is here, and all the festivities are making you excited and a little bit freaked out! It’s understandable, with all the hams and pies and rum cakes and cookies you see everywhere, to want to stick to your diet but at the same time have some fun. Well, the two don’t necessarily have to be mutually exclusive. Here are some tips you can keep in mind to ensure you don’t undo all your hard work throughout the year, while still being merry.

1. DON’T Eat Your Way Through The Holidays:
There will be parties all around, be it with friends, co-workers, or family. It’s easy to get caught up in all the holiday madness and eat too much in an effort to stay sane among your crazy relatives or annoying colleagues. This results in essentially stuffing yourself and going wildly off your healthy diet plans. Be sure to deal with the added stress of shopping for presents or decorating the house in a constructive way rather than depending on junk food.

2. DO Be Merry:
Make the holiday season more about fun rather than completely about the food. Sure, Christmas isn’t Christmas without a feast, but there’s a lot more to it than simply that. Have a ball decorating the tree and wrapping presents. While you’re at it, get some much-needed exercise by going to a tree farm to cut your own tree from; it’ll be fresher and less expensive than the ones drying up in the roadside lots. This will also give you some quality time with your family and make for fond memories.

3. DO Drink Responsibly:
Alcohol adds to your calorie count and lowers your inhibitions, making you more prone to forget your own promises and letting you stuff yourself with too many pies and fries. And drinking too much will result in a wicked hangover the next day, which is just not a fun thing to happen during the holiday season. So be sure to alternate your drinks with water or juice, and don’t drink on an empty stomach.

4. DON’T Over Indulge:
No one can be expected to be a health freak all throughout the 12 days of Christmas, but it’s a good practice to limit the pig outs to atleast half of those days. Give yourself cheat days, like Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and so on. You can then eat whatever you want on those days without having to feel guilty later, and still avoid putting on a crazy amount of weight because you ate all December. Remember to take it easy the next day so that you don’t feel sick.

5. DO Be Selective:
The stores will be packed with all sorts of Christmas candy and chocolate, and all the parties you go to will have overflowing tables as well. Refrain from being tempted by holiday candy (the less of that processed sugar you eat, the more your body will thank you), and be slow to pick your courses at parties. Make sure to keep your fridge stocked with healthy meals, so that you can stick to your usual diet when you’re at home.

6. DO Get Enough Exercise And Sleep:
Try to keep moving and be active throughout the day to combat all the extra calories you’ll be taking in. Visit the gym if you can, or go for a walk. If you have a dog, this is a great time to play with him/her outside. The exercise will keep you from feeling groggy and weighed down, and help you deal with stress in a constructive way. Also, try to get atleast 6 to 7 hours’ good quality sleep. This will help you feel refreshed and energetic.

7. DON’T Skip Meals:
If you’re at a huge family reunion, chances are that everyone wakes up late, has a late breakfast that almost becomes lunch, and eats Christmas ‘dinner’ late in the afternoon, and breaks out the cake and chocolate and pie later in the evening. You can compromise by turning the big meals into small ones for yourself, and adding a few regular healthy snacks in between. This will help you refrain from eating your body weight in pie after not getting anything to eat since 4pm.

8. DO Give Yourself A Healthy Start Everyday:
Begin your day with a tall glass of warm water with lemon juice and honey mixed in. This cleanses your liver and tissues and decreases water retention. Have a light but healthy breakfast that will keep hunger at bay for a few hours. Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and some protein to tick all the nutrient boxes.

9. DO Drink Enough Water And Fluids:
Dehydration is not good for your health, both physical and mental. So make sure you have a high fluid intake in the form of water, fresh fruit juices, or herbal teas. This will prevent you from mistaking thirst for hunger, thereby keeping your diet in check. Dehydration also makes your skin dull, itchy and prone to wrinkles, so remaining well hydrated will help you maintain smooth and healthy skin.

10. DO Take Out Time For Yourself:
Holidays are stressful enough, what with worrying about decorations and presents and diets. Make it a point to take out some time every day, that is all about YOU. Do whatever you want to relax during that time and please be selfish about it! You’ll need it to stay sane and clear- headed in all the madness around you.

Lastly, have fun. Christmas is essentially a time to be jolly and merry, so don’t worry about that one extra truffle you ate. There will be time enough to worry about that later. Till then, delve into your stocking and find out what Santa has in store for you this year.

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