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How to Stay Healthy and Avoid Extra Weight Gain over the Christmas Holiday Season

Updated on November 29, 2014

Better Christmas Health

Christmas is the most difficult time of the year to stay healthy and avoid weight gain. Many people start a diet before Christmas to fit into that special Christmas dress, only to put the weight back on during the Christmas season. It can be very difficult to stick to a healthy diet over Christmas, and sometimes it can also be very difficult to stay healthy. Christmas falls after all in the peak of the flu and cold season. We get together with friends, family and go to a lot of parties which can expose us to anything from the common cold to the Norovirus. Needless to say, many people also suffer from stress during Christmas which is often a combination of a hectic social life, over eating and over spending.

Eating too much at Christmas is not good for your health

Overindulging in good food at Christmas is easy to do.
Overindulging in good food at Christmas is easy to do. | Source

How to stay healthy and avoid putting on too much weight over Christmas

Most people do put on some weight during Christmas, some people put on a lot of weight as they associate over eating with having a good time. It is difficult to say no to that extra glass of wine or helping of turkey when sitting around the table, enjoying the company of your family and friends. Alcohol also makes us more relaxed, and it is easy to lose track on how much you eat when you drink.

How to avoid extra weight gain

Alcohol – this is one of the biggest enemies to maintaining your weight. The average glass of wine contains about 85 calories. Three glasses of wine with your meal with add 255 calories to your energy intake during your meal. Also let’s not forget about beer and cocktails, pre-dinner drinks such as gin and tonic can add another 200 calories to your calorie intake. A can of beer can add as much 150 calories. So if you enjoy your drinks you need to be careful if you are concerned about weight gain.

The good news is that there are some easy ways in which you can reduce your calorie intake from alcohol. If you enjoy your gin, make sure you enjoy with a slim line tonic.

There are light beers which are just as delicious, so check if your favorite beer brand offers a light option. Perhaps you can replace two of your glasses of wine with water, and enjoy one glass throughout the meal. You would have save yourself 170 calories.

Turkey dinner – turkey on its own is not very fattening but often the turkey has been basted with butter or oil. This can add a lot of calories to your meal but there are other ways of cooking your turkey with adding lots of extra calories. Try roasting your turkey with lemons and apples, it is a great way of adding both flavor and moisture.

Roast potatoes – roasting potatoes with olive oil or sunflower oil is not too bad, but often at Christmas goose fat is used to roast potatoes. 100 grams of goose fat contains 900 calories, whilst butter contains about 700 calories per 100 grams. Olive oil is a much healthier alternative as it is a liquid fat but it still contains about 800 calories per 100 grams. Consider having more vegetables and less potatoes with your meal.

Gravy and sauces – this can be a real deal breaker if you are concerned about weight. Sauces are often made with cream, and cream adds lots of calories to your meal. One cup of cream contains around 315 calories so when you make your sauce with cream you are entering a real risk zone. Consider replacing cream with tofu instead as this also gives the sauce a nice texture which is not that different from a sauce made with cream.

Desserts – Christmas desserts are packed with calories but we do love them. Consider making a fruit salad as a healthy alternative especially if you have guests who are concerned about their weight. There are also some excellent recipes available for low fat cheesecake.



How to look after your general health during this Christmas holiday season

Give yourself a present – why not consider buying yourself a present. Perhaps the best present that you can buy yourself is a pair of good trainers, or sneakers. We often forget about exercise during the Christmas season but walking is one of the best exercises.

Yes, we are all very busy but fitting a couple short walks per day will help you to burn extra calories. If you walk for one hour at 2.5 mph you will burn about 210 calories depending on your weight. Is there any reason you couldn’t fit in three half an hour walks per day? Your body will thank you for it, and you would have burned 315 calories.

Avoid bugs- wash your hands often. Bugs and viruses easily transfer from one person to another when we shake hands, or even kiss and hug.

Central heating - our centrally heated homes are great during the wintertime but they do keep viruses alive for longer. Turning the heating down will help to spread fewer germs, and many visitors will make your home warm anyway.

Echinacea – this is a great herbal supplement which might help to prevent respiratory infections. It is available in most pharmacies and health food store.

Stay hydrated – drinking plenty of fluids such as water and juice will make sure your bodies functions well. Your lymphatic system is vital when it comes to eliminating viruses and bugs.

Stay warm – if you are planning to spend a lot of time outside make sure you are dressed for the weather. Going out even for a short time may cause stress to your body, and you will become more susceptible to infections.



Stay healthy at Christmas

Are you concerned about how much food and alcohol you consume over the Christmas holiday season?

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How to burn 200 calories

Running for 15 minutes

Swimming for 20 minutes

Playing golf for 30 minutes – providing you don’t use a golf cart

Horse riding 25 minutes

Stress at Christmas

Stress is a common health problem during Christmas. It can be caused by family gatherings, taking on too much and financial problems. Christmas is an expensive time for most families, and the need to shop seem to have overtaken the message of Christmas. Recognizing that you are stressed is of vital importance

Common symptoms of stress

Sleepless episodes

Forgetting things

Skin rashes

Feeling overwhelmed

Aches and pains

Colds

Chest pain

Dizziness

Mouth ulcers

It is important to know and treat the symptoms of stress as they can easy lead to many other physical problems such as heart attacks and strokes. Best advice over the Christmas period is not to take on too much, and if you can’t afford to spend a fortune on Christmas try not to worry about it.

Don't drink too much this Christmas

Never drink and drive
Never drink and drive | Source

Alcohol Poisoning

Hospital Emergency departments see many cases of alcohol poising during Christmas and the New Year Period. Once again, recognizing symptoms and knowing what to do is important.

Is alcohol a poison?

Yes, alcohol is a poison and your body can only process a certain amount every hour. Your body will react to the alcohol and the physical side effects can be severe.

Here are some of the things you can expect to happen when you drink too much.

  • Alcohol slows down your brain function and can affect your balance.
  • It stops your gag reflex working, and when you vomit you risk inhaling the vomit into your lungs.
  • Alcohol even affects the nerves which control your heartbeat and breathing, and can stop both from working.
  • Alcohol lowers your body's body temperature which can lead to hypothermia.
  • Alcohol does contain sugar but it can still lower your body's sugar level which in turn can lead to seizures and loss of conscience.
  • Dehydration from alcohol can lead to brain damage.

Symptoms and signs of alcohol poisoning

If you suspect someone is suffering from alcohol poisoning they need help. They cannot look after themselves and urgent help is critical. Look out for the following signs.

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Falling asleep
  • Slow breathing
  • Seizures
  • Cold to the touch - hypothermia
  • Passing out
  • Pale skin color

If you notice any, or a combination, of these symptoms you need to take action quickly.

What to do

A person suffering from alcohol poisoning can deteriorate rapidly, and taken immediate can save someone's life. If you are unsure what to do you should always contact the emergency services, but here are some tips on how to handle the situation.

  • Keep the person awake
  • Try to keep them in a seated position
  • Give them water to rehydrate them
  • Keep them warm
  • Place them in the recovery position and so their airway is clear
  • Monitor their breathing

Knowing what not to do is just as important, and once again this could save somebody's life.

  • Never leave the person, or persons, alone
  • Do not give them coffee - this just make dehydration worse
  • Do not place them under a cold shower. This will further lower the body temperature.
  • Do not make them sick - the gag reflex is not working properly.
  • Do not allow them to drink anymore alcohol.
  • Do not walk them around to keep them awake. The person's balance has been affected and you could injure the person plus yourself.

Alcohol should always be taken seriously, and each person's tolerance to alcohol is different.



Consider helping out at an animal shelter at Christmas

Volunteer at your local animal shelter to take some dogs for walkies during Christmas.
Volunteer at your local animal shelter to take some dogs for walkies during Christmas. | Source

An alternative Christmas

Many people need extra help during Christmas, and if you feel like you would like to help some of the many great organizations you can contact your local office.

Organizations such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, local food banks and soup kitchens all appreciate the extra help. Collect blankets, make sandwiches and buy some extra food at Christmas if you don't feel you can personally help. Small local charities often rely on donations from private individuals rather than larger companies.

Animals also need help over Christmas. many animal shelter fill up during the holiday season, and regular helps make take a vacation. Why not sign up for some dog walking to burn off those Christmas calories, or help to pet or clean out the cats.

Don't forget about the local wildlife. After a heavy snow fall the birds may not be able to find food, and hedgehogs love a nice warm winter nest.

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    • Healthyannie profile image
      Author

      Healthyannie 3 years ago from Spain

      Thank you MsDora - health does not have to be complicated.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Healthyannie, these are some very practical ideas for both physical and mental health. The dog Santa picture is adorable. Thank you.

    • Healthyannie profile image
      Author

      Healthyannie 3 years ago from Spain

      Thank you.

    • dilipchandra12 profile image

      Dilip Chandra 3 years ago from India

      Good and useful info...