With the festive season around the corner – and honestly, how much more festive can it get with Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year arriving one after another! – there’s something we dread more than the inevitable interrogation by relatives. Yes, I’m talking about the dreaded (but usually unavoidable) “festive flab”.

Here are some ways to keep the flab at bay while you celebrate the upcoming festive celebrations:

food-fruits-cereals-breakfast#1 Don’t skip breakfast
There are people who skip breakfast on normal days, and then there are people who skip breakfast on festive holidays to keep their stomachs empty in anticipation of a good lunch. Research shows that skipping breakfast will cause your metabolism to dip as you would have gone the whole night without eating anything. Plus, if you don’t eat breakfast, you will have a tendency to get overly hungry and more likely to overeat. That’s why breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You can have a light breakfast that’s high in fibre and proteins, such as oatmeal cooked in milk, wholegrain toast with cheese, or a vegetable omelette.

#2 Pick your priority foods
If you’re like me, you’ll probably save the best for last, especially when it comes to your favourite food. However, when it comes to the festive season, you might want to turn that around, and savour your favourite food and snacks first. Why? First of all, get them before somebody (or everybody) else does! 😛 #kiasu Secondly, why waste your time and ‘appetite quota’ on food that you don’t like? It’s so much better to enjoy the things you love instead of those that you don’t, and since it’s the festive season, there are sure to be food that you won’t get to eat on normal days, so don’t waste your calories on normal stuff. Priorities, people!

It gives the illusion of a fuller meal. (Photo from Wimberly Worldwide)

#3 Small portions are the way to go
A good way to control your food intake and combat the flab is to take small portions of whatever you’re eating. If you’re at a buffet, use the smaller plates instead of the bigger ones. This way, you’ll have to take less when filling your plate, and a small-but-full plate gives you the illusion of finishing a big meal. You can also move away from the food and mingle with people; if you’re busy chatting, you’ll have less time for food.

water-drink-glass-drinking#4 Just water, please
Too much carbonated, sugary drinks won’t do your health or waistline any good! It can be difficult to resist those packet drinks, so moderation is key when it comes to beverages served during festive occasions. If there’s no water available, try to dilute your drinks with ice cubes instead. If you’re visiting, do be considerate of your hosts and don’t insist on water if they are busy entertaining guests. On the other hand, if you’re the one hosting a party or have visitors at home, try to prepare plain water or tea in additon to the soft drinks; you’ll definitely earn brownie points from your elders. 😉

healthy-person-woman-sport#5 Move it, move it
The festive season is always a busy time, be it going for holidays, preparing for visitors and parties, or completing work-related things. Well, even if it’s the season to be busy, you should still make it a point to slot in some time for exercise, or at least a quick simple workout. Most people will forgo their usual exercise routine during the holidays, but it is actually a great way to relieve stress, not to mention keeping the flab at bay.

dog-ice-woman-purple#6 Wear something fitting
We all want to look good, especially during the festive season when you have to show up at gatherings, as well as have your photo taken in selfies and wefies. The dilemma between wearing a baggy, shapeless outfit to hide your food baby, versus wearing figure-flattering outfit that ensures you only drink water for the rest of the party is a struggle we know all too well. Nevertheless, if you’re determined to fight the flab during the festive season, wear something that is fitted when attending parties. It will make you more aware of your posture, tummy, and what you consume, all while looking fabulous. It’s a win-win situtation, I say.