After a fantastic year you deserve to treat yourself, but don’t go undoing all that hard work because of ONE DAY! Here are some strategies to help you survive the holiday season and keep your waistline (relatively) unchanged.
Be a social butterfly:
Socialise. Don’t just park yourself next to the food table. If you have to get up to get to the food, you’re less likely to pick. Easy access leads to mindless picking.
Compensate during the rest of the day:
If you know you’re going to be having a big dinner and just can’t pass up a massive serving of pav, make sure you account for this during the day. Make careful choices earlier on but don’t starve yourself either. Eating little and often throughout the day, then having a small snack before you head out will help to stop you from pigging out when you get there.
A box of choccies in your Christmas stocking is a bit of a tradition in my family, but then so is diabetes, so opting to *gulp* re-gift any chocolates you receive will help mindless picking on boxing day. If you’re having a Christmas get-together at your place you can put them out for your guests, or offer them with coffee. Alternatively you could give them to Auckland City mission, or pop them in the food bins at the supermarket.
Beware of good intentions:
If you’re heading out to someones house for a meal try to avoid taking too many leftovers home with you. Just politely mention that you have a fridge full already and couldn’t possibly take anymore.
On the other hand:
If the meal is at your place, make sure you have plenty of various sized plastic containers available. Before all the guests start to leave pop into the kitchen and package up EVERYTHING (and I mean everything). Then as they head off you can hand them a couple of containers and mumble something like “Merry Christmas, this should feed you for the rest of the week”.
Make a plan:
I can’t stress this one enough. Prior planning prevents p&ss-poor performance. Whether it’s planning a menu for Christmas Day, planning where/how you’re going to exercise when you’re away, or just sussing out the buffet when you arrive at Christmas lunch, you MUST have an action plan. What are you going to eat or drink? How much are you going to have? Are you going to allow yourself one small piece of pav and one eclair or 2 eclairs? What looks like the best option on the buffet table? If you’re sitting down for a meal, wait until last to be served then as everyone’s tucking into their second helping you’ll still be eating your first.
If you’re throwing a party:
Offer plenty of healthy alternatives. Fruit and vegetable sticks with low fat dips instead of chippes and pretzels, plenty on non-alcoholic drinks including a pitcher of iced water, try not to over do it with the amount of food you offer. A few well prepared options are plenty, and there will be less to get rid of later.
I don’t mean go one-for-one with your husband, or your 20 year old cousin who’s up from Dunnas for the holidays. If you’re drinking alcohol, try alternating one alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic drink such as soda and lemon, cranberry or even, heaven forbid, diet soft drink.
This one follows on from making a plan. If you’re going to be eating out at all, not just at Christmas, call the restaurant ahead and ask for a copy of the menu. Most will be happy to email or fax it to you, some even have them online. You can sit down with a cup of coffee and decide what you’re going to order, and if there are any questions you need to ask your waitress when you get there. If you don’t feel comfortable asking in front of the group, call ahead and find out what you need to know and if any accommodations can be made for you. Having a meal served with salad and a baked potato instead of veggies in cheese sauce and fries for example. Don’t feel that it’s rude or that you don’t have the right to ask, because you do. The worst that could happen is they say no.
Beware of ‘healthy alternatives’:
A glass of orange juice has the same amount of sugar as a glass of Coke. Nuts are between 45% and 65% fat. Unsaturated fat, but fat all the same. 10 pretzels contain about 34% of your daily requirement for salt. Hummus also has a high fat content at 36%, although it’s much better than regular dip. Cranberry ‘juice’ is often not juice at all. More often than not it’s a ‘drink’ which means it only contains around 5% fruit.
Find excuses to exercise:
Any exercise is better than none. If the weather is good, get out and enjoy it!!
If you’re STILL struggling to get rid of that extra Christmas cuddliness perhaps you should seek some help. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org