The holiday season is notorious for indulging in sweet tweets and other foods we should typically stay away from. Eating too much of the foods that are considered bad for us (i.e. cookies, fruit cake and other baked goods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates) can cause us to gain a few extra pounds, but there are still ways that you can enjoy the holiday season without worrying about it impacting your waistline or your general health.

For whatever reason, we always tend to eat more food over the holidays. A friend or family member might bring over a tin of cookies, for example, and it’s hard to eat just one. It’s also not uncommon to go for second or third helpings of that Christmas dinner. (Not to mention the leftovers that many of us will have sitting in our fridge.) In fact, research has shown that on Christmas day alone, we consume as much as 3,000 calories in one sitting, which is more than the recommended intake (between 2,000 and 2,800 calories depending on age) for an adult male. Consuming a large holiday feast can also lead to increased fatigue, which also makes you less likely to burn any of it off. Because we tend to sit around more during the holiday season than any other time of year, this combined with a high intake of calories can be a rather unhealthy combination. So, instead of overfilling your plate and eating past the point of being full, I suggest making sure your plate doesn’t have more on it than what a normal meal would. After your first serving, I also suggest taking a short break before going for seconds to see whether or not you’re actually hungry, as it can take the brain some time to register whether or not you’re full. You should also be selective about the foods you eat. For example, do you really need to drench your ham, turkey or other items with gravy? If you don’t need it, don’t have it. The same goes for those box of chocolates and other holiday baked goods.

Alcohol is also common during the holiday season. While 1 or 2 glasses of wine (or other alcoholic beverage) is acceptable, you should never indulge in more than that – especially if weight is something you’re worried about. One 5-ounce glass of wine can have upwards of 160 calories, while things like beer and rum also contain around 100 calories. Some alcoholic beverages are also flavoured, or we mix things like soda and fruit juice with our alcohol, therefore also making them high in sugar. Sugar, as you may know, is considered a carbohydrate, which eventually turns to fat. Staying on the subject of alcohol, it’s also important to remind you that if you are going to be consuming any type of alcoholic beverage and happen to be doing so at a friend’s house, bar, or holiday party, always make sure you have a designated driver. There is often an increase in injuries due to falls, as well as motor vehicle accidents (either causing injury or death) during this time of year with alcohol being a direct cause.

If you think you’ve indulged in a bit too much of the bad stuff during the holidays, don’t worry, as there are things you can do to work it off! With friends and family coming together, getting everyone together to go for a walk after a Christmas meal can not only be a great start to helping you rid your body of those excess calories you’ve consumed, but can give you incentive to continue working out moving forward. As a matter of fact, weight loss is one of the top new year’s resolutions that people set. At the same time, it’s also one of the most common new year’s resolutions that people break. So, if you’re going to set a resolution that involves losing weight, it’s important to also come up with a plan at the same time rather than just writing it down on a list. For example, you should include how much weight you want to lose, when you want to lose it by, and how you intend on reaching those goals. By having a plan, you’ll be able to hold yourself accountable.