How to: Enjoy Christmas without Guilt
The Christmas period is just around the corner! Some people hate it, some can’t live without, yet we all take part in some Christmas-related activities and gatherings and so it’s important that we come prepared! Here are some strategies to take you through the festive season with pleasure.
During the festive season, do your best to keep a regular meal pattern.
Start your day with good breakfast, followed by hearty lunch. Drink plenty of water/herbal tea and have your meals prepared for the next day. If it helps, keep writing a general food and observations diary to stay on track.
Avoid eating late at night.
Christmas gatherings usually start late in the evening and before you get to sit down there are pre-dinner drinks and canapés… If that’s the case, then have dinner and skip the nibbling and snacking afterwards. You may also like to move your breakfast to a later time the next day to allow for a longer period of fasting – stick to warm water and herbal teas and start eating when you feel hungry again.
If you’re heading off to a dinner party, try to have a meal before leaving the house.
Even if it’s just a bowl of soup, so that you don’t arrive starving! It is also worth deciding on what you’re going to eat and drink before you even arrive to a party so check out the menu if you can – and once you’re there – stick to your plan!
Choose a main course over sharing platters and nibbles.
You’ll know how much you ate and you will feel full and satisfied. Also, your body will thank you for not having to process 50 different ingredients at a time as each one of them requires different enzymes.
Stop eating when you’re full.
Finishing all you have on your plate will make the host happy but you won’t do yourself a favour. Listen to your body and don’t force it too much.
Treat desserts and cheeses as a meal
Plate them out with all crackers/chutneys you fancy and avoid second helpings. When possible, have a dessert 30-60min after your main meal rather than directly after – this will help you avoid the bloating and feeling of heaviness. And, how about sharing a pub with a friend or partner?
Above all, learn to say ‘no’.
Learn to prioritize and stick to your guns. Do you have to attend every Christmas gathering or can you choose the ones that are most important to you? Learn to refuse another helping of food, another drink, another piece of cake, another coffee etc. You know how much is enough and how you may feel afterwards.
Re-think how much alcohol is needed to keep you in the festive mood.
Alcohol delivers pure calories in a glass and it always increases the appetite – not to mention how you may end up feeling the next day. This is one of many areas where you can prove to yourself that you are in charge of your own body!
Remember the 80/20 approach to healthy eating.
In the normal workdays do the best you can – eat regular meals and cook, that is your 80% of the time. In the remaining 20% it is okay to do things differently without beating yourself up – in the end of the day the festive season only lasts for 4 weeks a year! Write your events in the calendar and come prepared.
Christmas is not all about food and drink, hopefully it’s also about being surrounded by people you love and feel comfortable with. Use the time off from work to do things you don’t usually have time for – go for a long walk, play board games, read a bookor watch a movie. Be kind to yourself and slow down.
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