How are you feeling about your waistline and where it's going to be at the end of the next two weeks? Well let me tell you a story...
When I was about 12, I remember waking up on Christmas morning and there at the bottom of my bed was a pillowcase bulging with little nick nacks, stationary and the 12 packets of Golden Wonder Salt and Vinegar Crisps I’d asked Santa for. Every single one was eaten before breakfast! I was still like that until a few years ago. I’d eat the whole big bar of chocolate, the whole packet of biscuits or the whole bag of crisps. As you can imagine, I loved Christmas because I had an excuse to eat a lot of everything!
So what’s my point?
Well, the Christmas feasting frenzy is well and truly underway. Everywhere you look there are temptations for the sweet-toothed, the savoury snacker, the festive foodie - tubs of chocolates and mince pies at work, temptations beckoning you in the shops, Christmas parties and drinks, and that’s all before the big event itself, which can last up until New Year! For the people who struggle with excess weight that they don’t want, it can be a pretty tough time of year.
What do I mean?
In the last week, I’ve heard several people say they’re secretly dreading it and they know many others who feel the same. They’ll feel guilty saying ‘no’ to offers of food and drink because they don’t want to be seen as a party pooper, so they’ll likely give in and then feel guilty or bad because they’ve eaten and drunk too much. Then they feel like a failure for giving in and dread the New Year and so on. Does this sound like anyone you know?
Well, it doesn’t have to be so... Here are 8 ways to ENJOY IT and KEEP IT (your waistline) intact.
1. Plan it - Change the all or nothing approach to festive eating and drinking. Decide which days you'll over-indulge and then commit to making healthier choices on the others. Save the feasting for Christmas and Boxing Day. Or eat healthily for 2 of your 3 meals each day. If you decide to have chocolate for breakfast then make healthy choices for the rest of the day.
2. Vary it - If you overeat one day, eat less the next. You could even try intermittent fasting a couple of days a week. An easy version is where you fast between 6pm and 10am and only drink water and tea/coffee, eating your meals during the remaining 8 hours.
3. Think about it - Make conscious decisions - Why are you eating? Are you really hungry? Is it just because the food is there and you’re mindlessly grazing? Are you stressed, annoyed, bored and eating emotionally? Becoming conscious of what triggers mindless eating, puts you more in control. As you reach for that slice of cake, pause, step out of yourself and get another perspective on your decision.
4. Say it differently - Change the words you use when you make a choice. Saying ‘I can’t have that’, ‘I’m not allowed to eat that’ is likely to make you feel like you're missing out, want it more and just end up annoying others around you. Try saying ‘I don’t want it', instead. Own your decision and put yourself in control and remember, you don’t have to give a reason.
5. Slow it - Take smaller mouthfuls, chew your food properly and really taste it. Hoovering your food up like a Dyson Vacuum Cleaner means you’ll overeat. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to register fullness and digestion starts in the mouth. If you eat fast, you’re more likely to get indigestion and feel that overfull bloated, OMG I’m going to have a food baby, I can’t move off the sofa kind of feeling.
6. Shrink it - Decrease your portions by using a smaller plate or bowl for your food and no, that doesn’t mean piling it high or going back for seconds instead! Choose to eat the foods that are special to Christmas in place of, instead of in addition to the foods you have the rest of the year.
7. Drink it - I’m talking about water here! Drink a glass or two 30 mins before each meal. As well as preparing your stomach for digestion, it will help you eat less. If you do drink wine with your meal, sip it and really focus on the taste and how the flavour works with the food.
8. Move it - Get your body moving and fire up your metabolism by going for a brisk walk before you eat. If not before, then go after to help with digestion and balancing your blood sugar. Or get out and play with your kids or grandkids, put on some music and dance! It doesn't really matter what it is as long as you MOVE!
Making conscious positive choices and doing them most of the time is what will keep the pounds from piling on at this time of year. It’ll also take the pressure off, you'll feel more relaxed and be able to enjoy yourself more.
And if you do put a couple of pounds on, don’t beat yourself up, take action instead. Set a goal, devise a plan do the first step straight away.
Have a wonderful festive season and an fabulous New Year everyone! xx
If you're in danger of burnout and looking for pragmatic ways of getting more strength and energy for a healthier and happier 2018 and beyond, then drop me a line at email@example.com
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