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Count Your Christmas Calories

By PAOLA NAVARETTE

Illustration by ARIANA CAMILLE MARALIT

Holidays have a way of making you see optimism everywhere you look, including on your plate. Gingerbread cookies include ginger, which renders them health food. Stuffed potatoes? No problem: Baked potatoes are rich in fiber and vitamin C. Before you know it, you have excused away weeks of unhealthy eating. Trouble is, the extra weight you might have noticed isn’t going anywhere.

Holiday weight gain is a well-studied phenomenon, and studies have found that people gain about a pound from November to January. That might not sound like much, and it is certainly less than people think they gain. But that extra pound can linger. Researchers have also found that people don’t tend to shed weight by the next year. After a few sugary Christmas seasons, plus the year’s other indulgent holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries, those pounds may add up.

In the Philippines, the festive season is a non-stop food fest, and holiday staples such as ham, lechon, and puto bumbong are high in cholesterol, sugar, and saturated fats. Booze also flows freely during the holidays.

As celebrations are inevitable, eating consciously and mindfully is the key to being healthy. Study what is beneficial to eat and practice moderate consumption. Normal eating means being able to enjoy a variety of food, but not being so wary that you miss out on enjoyable ones.

Furthermore, it is also important to have strategies in place so you can balance the food blowouts. Knowing the rough amount of calories in your favorite indulgences and how much exercise it would take to burn off calories can be helpful.

Before you make the decision to cave into a craving, use this guide made by dietitian-nutritionist and Manila Bulletin Lifestyle columnist Cheshire Que as a reminder of how much physical activity it would take to offset the extra calories. Here’s how it all breaks down:

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Source: Manila Bulletin

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