Eat, drink and be merry. It's a Christmas mantra some of us comply with a little too enthusiastically, then when January rolls around the scales groan and we shriek at the extra pounds that have appeared.
So why wait until the New Year to take charge of your expanding waistline, when you can head the crisis off early? Jump-start your New Year's resolutions in December instead and start the New Year celebrating your success.
Beware of the booze
Christmas means party time and gatherings galore, and there is no escaping socializing during the season. Unfortunately the pitfall of all this schmoozing is the bar. While you don't have to abstain from drinking altogether, here is some advice to keep in mind:
• Choose lite beer or white wine mixed with soda for a lower calorie drink.
• Alternate alcoholic drinks with low-cal soft drinks or water.
• If you drink hard liquor, try low-cal mixers. For example, have a vodka and tonic instead of a vodka and coke.
• Pace yourself! Take small sips and remember you're out to mingle, not to wake up with a horrific hangover.
Don't forget to keep moving
During the festive season, it's easy to let your exercise regime slide. Yet it's even more important to be good to your body around the busy holidays. Taking the time to exercise will not only give you more energy, it will keep the scales steady, too. It needn't take up too much of your day -- a brisk walk, a quick swim, or a swift gym workout -- anything that gets your pulse racing and your body moving.
Safe snacking suggestions
You know it's Christmas when suddenly there's food everywhere. Instead of gorging at every social event you attend, try to follow these pointers:
• Don't fill up on calorie-packed canapés, delicious as they may be. Most parties have healthy options, such as salad, or crunchy vegetables with dips. Make these your mainstay and only choose one or two "naughty" treats.
• Don't go to a party hungry and don't attack the buffet after drinking. Both of these can mean suicide for your waistline.
• At home have healthy Christmas snacks: mandarin oranges, unsalted nuts and dried fruit. Only keep a few goodies on hand and then you can't over do it.
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Get a good night's rest
It's easy to push yourself to the limits until you reach burnout. Yet those dark rings under your eyes aren't the only downside to shirking your sleep time. Concentration levels dip and your immune system also weakens with every night's rest you neglect. So to make it through the party season fresh-faced and alert, make sure you get your full eight hours of sleep each night.
With so much to do it's easy to neglect the most important person on your Christmas list -- you. Be good to yourself. Enjoy a soak in the tub, a home manicure or pedicure, or an invigorating face mask. It just takes as little as a half an hour before bedtime, and by morning you'll be pleased you took the time for you.
With a little bit of effort, it's possible to enjoy Christmas without having to make a major life overhaul come January. Just remember it's all about moderation.
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