Rec Room: Eat too much at Christmas? Run for your presents

Dec. 18, 2011 at 6:18 a.m.

By Shane Simon

In anticipation of the second and third helpings that are all too familiar with the buffet-style feasts that often take place at many family gatherings during the holiday season, I did a Google search "Holiday Eating Tips" and found the search results totaled 49,500,000.

This tells me that I am not alone at trying to find the website with the least restrictive guidelines or a list of do's and don'ts that I can somewhat follow.

If they don't already have it, someone could make a pretty penny printing one of those yellow paperbacks titled "Healthy Holiday Eating for Dummies."

Many of us find ourselves with a high level of motivation to make this year's holiday calorie intake substantially less than last year, yet when it comes down to, it we often give in. We learn from our mistakes in every other aspect of our lives, so why should this be any different?

Just when we think all is lost because we cratered again this year and ate more than we should have, remember there is always the great equalizer that counteracts our food submission and is available to us 24/7 - exercise.

I know what you are thinking, the last thing people want to do is run wind sprints after large meals. So make exercise fun and a family activity.

Consider allowing the children to open gifts before the meal. After the meal, use the toys in creative and active games where the adults challenge the kids. If your family takes part in a growing tradition of a white elephant gift exchange where you are allowed to steal some ones gift if you like it better, consider requiring the "gift thief" to chase down the "gift owner" in order to take possession of the item.

If they cannot catch them within one minute, they have to open a new gift instead. If you own a game console, do yourself a favor and get one of the numerous dance games available.

These games are a blast, and when done correctly, will help you do away with some of the extra calories from dinner.

Don't forget about all the park areas that are great for using the new sports or recreational equipment family members were gifted.

I suggest you team up the family for a little friendly competition. By creating a unique, active game, your family will appreciate the added fun they had this Christmas and you will reap all the benefits of burning calories and creating a few laughs while bringing your family closer together.

Shane Simon is the recreation services manager for the Victoria Parks and Recreation Department. Contact him at 361-485-3200 or or follow us on Facebook at Victoria Parks Recreation.



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