The Christmas food is all gone and you sit on the couch, stomach protesting, no energy, panic rising. What was supposed to be a great holiday, a really nice time spent with your family, now feels like your own personal hell. Even though you really haven’t moved much the whole day, you feel like you could sleep for days.

What went wrong? Does it have to be like this? Christmas itself can put a lot of pressure on people, and ending up in Christmas coma definitely doesn’t help. The good news is that there are simple ways of avoiding this situation and they are easier than you might expect.

The reason you end up in Christmas coma is basically a combination of not enough movement, and too much food. D’ohh, I guess you knew that already, but simply knowing this is not enough—you still end up bloated and apathetic. The attraction of all the food and the temptation of the couch after dinner is just too powerful unless you take action to combat it.

What you want to do is find ways to slow down your food intake, use opportunities for movement, and choose food and beverages wisely. That doesn’t sound too bad, right? You don’t have to make a lot of sacrifices, and a little bit of care will go a long way.

1. Start the day with activity

If you know you’re going to be spending a lot of the day sitting, take the chance to get some light to moderate exercise in early. If your area regularly gets snow for Christmas, shoveling it is a good exercise option: you could volunteer to help some of the neighbors shovel theirs—a guaranteed way to  increase your popularity. Another good option is to go for a walk after breakfast. Choose the activity that works best for you and fits into your schedule.

Starting the day with a little exercise wakes you up and prepares your body for the day. By getting the blood pumping a bit, your body is more prone to taking care of the food you eat later.

2. Go for protein

Focusing on eating high-protein foods will make you feel satisfied earlier. All in all, you’ll eat fewer calories and won’t feel so bloated.

3. Drink water

Drinking water keeps you properly hydrated, whereas drinking alcohol, coffee or tea will make you lose more fluids than you take in. It’s also very easy to consume way too many calories drinking, wine, beer or soft drinks. Firstly, start the day with a large glass of water. During the day, if you don’t want to switch to water only, have a sip of water in between sips of your other drink.

4. Talk during lunch and dinner

Since we want to seize the opportunity to get closer to our family and friends, don’t pass up the opportunity to talk to them during lunch and dinner. Not only will you bond more, you will also slow down your eating, which is a good way of avoiding the post-meal drowsiness. If you slow down your food intake, your body will have time to signal to your brain when you’ve had enough before it’s too late.

5. Don’t forget the veggies

This one is a given, and the reasons are basically the same as why you should go for protein—they will satisfy your appetite earlier. Reach for as many green and leafy options as you find on the Christmas table to give you good carbohydrates, and avoid the starchy stuff like potatoes, corn, parsnips, and pumpkin.

6. Go for a walk

A great way to interact with people more is to ask them to go for a walk with you before you park yourself on the couch. Not only will you get some exercise and fresh air while your food is digesting, you can also continue the conversation you started earlier during lunch or dinner. Who knows—maybe you solve a big global problem. You can also use  your walk as an opportunity to take some great pictures.

What’s your strategy for avoiding Christmas Coma?

Featured photo credit:  Black and white image of pretty woman sleeping peacefully via Shutterstock

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