The holidays are just a few days away. For many people, it’s a time of no-holds-barred excess: Non-stop eating and drinking, busy days and late nights. And, of course, several rounds of shopping-til-you-drop. All this can add up to a lot of unwanted waste, hangovers and extra pounds.

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to keep all this excess under control.

Drink lots of water: We can’t say it enough: Staying hydrated is the best way to wake up in better shape after a night of celebrating. Never wait until you’re thirsty to drink water because by that point, you’re already dehydrated. Drinking herbal teas and vegetable broths are other good ways to stay hydrated.

Keep moving: Cleaning the house, dancing at parties or even strolling the mall with your arms loaded with purchases will work your muscles and get your heart pumping. Playing outside in the fresh air with the kids will also do everyone lots of good.
Don’t skip meals: One of the worst things you can do is to avoid eating all day so that you have lots of extra space for a big supper. You’ll only arrive famished and end up devouring half of the buffet table! Instead, eat a light snack before leaving the house to keep your hunger under control.

Make to-do lists: Make a list of everything you need to do and buy. This will help you prioritize and avoid forgetting anything important. It will also save you time and a fair amount of stress, which will make the season all the more enjoyable.

Set aside time for yourself: What with all the family gatherings, visiting relatives, last-minute Christmas Eve preparations, brunches with friends and the other hundred or so traditions we feel a need to follow, finding five minutes of peace and calm can be a challenge. Pace yourself by making sure you get some time to relax, sleep, read and recharge your batteries each day. You’ll start off the New Year in a much better frame of mind.

Eat well: There are actually quite a few healthy “holiday foods,” such as clementines, oranges, cranberries and walnuts. Feel free to indulge!
Curbing excess doesn’t mean eliminating all pleasures. Just focus on quality rather than quantity (this applies to food, gifts and the people around you). Go and play outside in the fresh air and, most of all, enjoy this special time of year with the ones you love. Happy holidays to one and all!

Once the holidays are over?

We tend to eat larger, heavier meals over the holidays. Once the celebrations are over, try to eat healthy, balanced meals as often as possible. No need to go on a draconian diet or eliminate certain foods entirely; simply reduce things like fat, sugar and pastries.