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Healthy Cheating During Christmas

The holiday season can be quite tough, especially for anyone trying to lose weight and stay healthy. From office parties to family get-togethers, holiday dinners, sweets and desserts being passed around at home and the legendary Christmas rice, there is so much delicious yet unhealthy food in abundance. For this reason, just thinking about sticking strictly to your diet can make your head (and stomach) hurt. So how do you stay committed to your diet and weight goals when everyone is piling up food on their plates and your mother keeps pulling at your cheeks and telling you to eat more?

Well, the good news is you can indulge and still stay healthy. How? Here are some tips from professionals who make a living by being healthy.

Indulge a little

You’re certainly glad to hear this, right? However, as much as you love good food, indulge wisely. This doesn’t mean throwing caution to the wind and eating foods you know will make you sicker. You can start by eating the healthy foods like non-starchy vegetables or salads to fill you up a bit and then enjoy much smaller portions of the more indulgent foods you crave. If you already have a good eating and training routine, then all the parties and food festivals should be easy for you to handle. But if you don’t have one, it’s never too late to change your eating habits.

Homemade Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Coleslaw and Salsa. Photo credit: ShutterStock

Take responsibility

You’re human and we tend to falter every now and then. It’s okay. What’s not okay is denying the fact that cheating on your diet ever happened, especially during the holidays. Take responsibility for it or those cheat days will start to build up. Do not indulge so much that you lose all the hard work you put in. Remember, the more you indulge, the harder you may need to work out to make up for it.

Cheat meals, not cheat days

Having a healthy lifestyle as part of your daily routine allows for occasional cheats. Cheat or treat meals (not a whole day or weekend) are great for your metabolism and general wellbeing. You find that you’re in a better mood as being on a strict, clean, low-calorie diet can make you cranky and want to chew your arm off. Knowing you have a meal to look forward to will most likely keep you on your meal plan. If you plan towards making that meal fall on one of those tempting family Christmas dinner days, then it’s a win-win!

Stay hydrated

Water has so many benefits that if we get into it now, we’d have to attach a pull-out page to this one. You need to stay hydrated, especially when you drink alcohol. Better still, avoid alcohol or, if you must have it, keep the drinks to a minimum, sipping water between drinks to keep you hydrated, reduce the amount of alcohol you take and keep you from getting tipsy. Coconut water is also magical when trying to avoid hangovers and you can drink it after indulging in alcohol at a party.

Know when to run

Have a list of the foods you can indulge in and write down the ones you absolutely cannot have. Keeping this in mind as you enjoy the holiday parties and dinners will help you stick to your healthy diet while also giving you room to enjoy yourself. Remember that there is probably an equally delicious, healthier alternative to many of the unhealthy meals around.

Get your blood pumping

Find a way to increase your activity during this holiday. You’ll be eating more, so you’ll also need to burn more calories and not be a couch potato. Play running games with children, help out with housework, take a walk with an old friend.

Christmas time offers so many awesome reasons to cheat on your diet without guilt. So enjoy yourself this period and don’t beat yourself up too much about it. After all, you worked hard before now, sticking to your diet and exercising as much as you can. Right?

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