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Festive special: Discipline and balance is served

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As the year-end holiday period fast approaches, many of us are starting to relax that much more from work and perhaps starting to indulge in the inevitable routine of binging on festive goodies. The fact that it rains almost every other day here in Singapore during this time also gives birth to the ripe old excuse for us to skip our regular runs and work outs at the gym.
It’s no wonder we put on the most weight during this time, unable to exercise due to the weather, while most people choose to stay home under the sheets taking an extra wink or 2 before getting up for work. Though there are a few determined souls that wake up early on a weekday morning to head down to the gym or sacrifice their lunch time for a yoga class, these people are few and far between.
But honestly, what’s the point of exercising? Because when the time comes the feasting begins, Shepherd’s Pie, Ham, Sherry and Wine, and how can we miss out the delicious dessert, doesn’t it just make you drool? Since discipline and balance are qualities that are the hardest to come by, I may just have the solution for you.
Shop till you drop
First of all, exercise comes in various forms. Instead of heading to the gym at ungodly hours, consider shopping for presents as your dose of exercise. Think about it, walking from one mall to another along the crowded orchard road finding the perfect gift for that special someone.
Even running to the nearest store with the highest discount and wrestling with the next girl who tries to steal those perfect shoes to complete your New Years outfit. Those are physical activities that could be just the right answer since a lack of time is the most common excuse we give for skipping our exercise routines. Researchers have shown that around three hours of shopping could help burn off the 495 calories in a Big Mac. ( Don’t you want in on the action now?
From cleaning to training
Shopping’s all good but not for everyone, you say? Or it’s an expensive option and not particularly appealing enough for the guys? It’s okay, because we have big plans for those who choose to stay home and the macho males that wish to remain fit and healthy looking for the festive season all the same.
Why not turn cleaning into a workout? Spring-cleaning the storeroom or putting up the Christmas tree may seem like boring and unfulfilling tasks but these burn sufficient amount of calories too. And as with any physical activity, housework can burn calories and tone muscles if done correctly.
According to this article “Turn Spring Cleaning into Spring Training”, doctors and fitness professionals now believe that short bouts of relatively mild exercise can help improve fitness levels for those who do little or no physical activity or just about got started on a fitness regime. Besides the unconventional methods of physical activity however, we can’t forget to eat healthy as well.
Eating smart
So what does it mean to eat healthy? Nah, I don’t mean dieting, because that would mean cutting out certain items from your diet, and that, that is just too sad. So, as long as everything is taken in moderation that’s fine. But we cannot forget to eat the important meals.
Starving and taking lesser meals would be redundant if your intake goes up during the times you actually eat, which defeats the purpose of healthy living. Stick to 6 meals a day, breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, supper.
Eating smart would mean to have some variation in your intake of food, starting with the most important meal of the day, breakfast. You would need a fuel packed breakfast. Breaking the fast between the last time you ate during the night and in the morning. Aim to have at least complex-carbs like whole grain bread and bagels for breakfast, as well as proteins, calcium, vegetables and fruits in all your meals.
Creative snacking
Snacking is a habit that everyone has, and it is fine if you do it correctly - in between meals such as morning tea and afternoon tea where you eat something in between the bigger meals to keep your mouth occupied. This also unknowingly could prevent overeating at bigger meals. Knowing what you can snack on could contribute as well: opt for things such as nuts, yogurt for calcium, fruit salad, carrot and dip.
And on occasion when the cravings hit, don’t be afraid to get creative. You can try strawberries dipped in a tablespoon of Nutella, or peanut butter coated apples, those are sure to fill the tummy without overeating.
So as the holiday season begins to sink in, just remember, some of your daily activities done regularly enough can be your unconventional forms of exercise to stay fit and that food is fuel.  It is what your body and mind needs to survive.
Stay healthy, and have fun while you’re at it!
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