Last night we had our first Christmas Dinner! A little early I know, but as we are all dispersing for the actual holiday, this was the perfect date to celebrate.
As I was preparing for the big event, the cooking and baking, I started remembering the strategies that keep me on track for a healthy holiday. I came up with these which I hope will help you over the season of overindulgence as much as they help me every year.
- Plan for the change of routine – always start with a healthy, sustaining breakfast. This will set you up for the day and psychologically you are already winning! With a good start to the day, it becomes easier to make healthier choices for the remainder of the day wherever you are.
- No Thanks! – Practice the art of saying “NO” with grace. Tell your friends/colleagues/family how important your weight management is. Get them on board and you will have an amazing support system. Remember, those who don’t support, you even after you have asked for their understanding, usually have a different agenda – if you are “good” then they should be. Be strong, know your goal and stick with it.
- Follow the 80/20 rule. With soooo many delicious treats out there it is unrealistic to expect total abstinence. Stick with your plan 80% of the time, indulge mindfully and don’t beat yourself up for the little treats that are only around at Christmas.
- Alcohol – this is one of the harder ones. Christmas is so tied up with drinking – adverts everywhere, parties etc. We are totally brainwashed into believing that excessive alcohol makes for a better time. In my experience, it means talking rubbish, a horrendous headache the next day and half remembered embarrassing moments…. What’s not to love about it! Anyway, drink mindfully, after every alcoholic drink have a non-alcoholic one and if possible, stay well clear of the cream laden liqueurs.
- Eat a little protein before you go out. Protein keeps you full longer than carbohydrates or fats so have a little something. I often have a boiled egg before I go out (I am slightly odd at times).
- Where possible, make the little tweaks that make such a massive difference in your weight management. Opt for half fat crème fraiche instead of double cream with puddings. Pile up the vegetables. Have either a starter or a dessert – do you really need both? Keep a close eye on your bread consumption. Little changes, big results.
- How you eat. Eat slowly, savour every mouthful. The only place we have taste buds are on our tongue. From the minute the food is no longer in our mouths we cannot taste it, so chew slowly and get the most enjoyment out of the food.
- Incorporate movement into every day. A walk with the dog, round the park, to and from the shops, up and down the stairs. Anything. Just moving will aid digestion, keep you motivated and help with your weight management.
- Snacking – remember to ask yourself, “Am I hungry? How will the snack help me with my weight management goals? How will I feel about myself after I have eaten this snack? Will I feel guilty or happy with myself?” Be honest with yourself and the consequences of your choices and then decide.
- All responsibility for your choices is with you and only YOU. In every situation there is a healthier choice or portion size. It is up to you to decide what is important, not in the moment, but long term. Trust yourself.