Guilt-free holiday eating survival guide
The holiday season is fast approaching; in the US, this is likely already underway. The season has been getting progressively longer as it seems to start earlier each year. Nowadays it starts with Halloween candy, then ramps up with Thanksgiving, and for the most part does not stop till National Hangover Day, also known as New Year’s Day – the first of January! This means TWO solid months of overeating! That’s almost 17% of the year of excess calorie consumption. If you eat only as little as 150 calories (the equivalent of a small snack) extra each day in those two months you are likely to put on almost a kilo and a half or 3 pounds! You are probably also skipping regular exercise during the holiday season because of social opportunities, because you need to get presents, because it’s dark and cloudy outside… which compounds your problem.
In the UK, Halloween is not quite such a big deal and there’s no Thanksgiving, but by the end of November it’s difficult to go anywhere without being accosted by mince pies and stollen in addition to the usual biscuits and such. At any rate, serious opportunistic overeating and over-drinking is underway through the whole month of December.
No matter which side of the Atlantic you find yourself on, you do not have to partake in the annual fattening ritual! You do not need to put yourself through the ordeal of annual yo-yo dieting. You deserve to treat yourself with respect and kindness!
Things to do:
(To be clear, half of these helpful suggestions are directed at my husband.)
- Practice mindfulness – ask yourself if you are hungry or eating out of boredom (Jim)… it’s better to leave a boring party than to stuff yourself with crisps and hors d’oeuvres – that’s just self-harm!
- On days where you expect to have a social gathering involving large feasts – make the rest of your meals smaller that day
- Consider having a small snack high in protein before you head out to dinner so that you do not arrive famished and demolish half the buffet before you are able to stop yourself
- If it’s an option, have a small salad or a clear consommé as a starter – this will help you fill up on smaller amount of calories
- Load up your plate on vegetables and turkey, but go easy on potatoes, stuffing or gravy
- During a meal, eat slowly, chew your food properly (Jim), put your fork down often, participate in the conversation
- Sharing is caring – especially if we are talking about your desserts
- If you are having a sweet dessert you’d best forego the cheese course
- You do not have to eat just because it’s there (Jim)
- Wine and cheese parties are lovely and EXTREMELY caloric so go slow – enjoy slowly
- Alcohol is a great place cut calories – it’s very energy dense – if you are out for the night, alternate a small alcoholic drink with a glass of mineral water – this will also help with the morning after
- Consider drinking a spritzer – half white wine / half sparkling water
- A small gin and tonic is one of the less caloric options – as opposed to ale
- Try to be economical with figuring out how much to cook, not only will it save money, but may save calories! If you end up with too many leftovers you are more likely to overeat. You are not a garbage can – do not treat yourself as such!
- Things to do with leftovers: give away to your guests or put away in the freezer – won’t it be nice to have a reminder of Christmas in March?
- Make all efforts not to skip exercise activities, in fact seek out additional exercise opportunities!
- Remember Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Thanksgiving, your office holiday party are only on those specific days – there is no reason to stretch them out for two months whatsoever.
- Most importantly enjoy everything in moderation – treat your body with the kindness and respect it deserves!
Give yourself the gift of feeling proud in January – you deserve it! After all, January has the best deals on flying to exotic holiday destinations and you will want to feel good in your bikini.