Following up on part one of our Christmas survival guide, I thought I should acknowledge the role food plays in the girth we all so easily acquire throughout the course of your average December. There is a cultural issue in play here, as I mentioned in the last post, “It’s Christmas,” seems to qualify as both powerful and compelling reasoning from late November onwards, and this is a culture we have all been brought up with. It is a time of excess, but this is only because that’s the way we think of it, and because we have always been taught to accept this argument in spite of the fact it contains no real logic (or notable content, come to that).
Anyways, here are the BEST strategies you MUST employ in order to keep on top of your waistline over this Christmas period:
- There are going to be a lot of meals. You’ll go out for a work party, you’ll go over to visit relatives, there’s Christmas day itself, there will be other parties where there’ll be an absurd array of food on the table for you to help yourself to. ‘Tis the season to over cater after all. Pick a few key meals that you’re going to indulge at, and then for the rest of them, just stick to the foods you might ordinarily eat. Sure, there’s a lot of gravy, stuffing and roast potatoes, but there’s also a lot of turkey and green vegetables.
- Go easy on the booze. For more on this, see the last post.
- Try to remember, it’s not just Christmas dinner that does this to us. Christmas lasts for one day, but it’s a season of overindulgence. It’s no good having a strategy for Christmas day itself if you’re going to spend the month leading up to it surrounded by cake, chips, pretzels, various dips, cheesy, bread snacks and all the other goodies that make everyone’s parties look like a supermarket advertisement without a way of limiting your intake.
- Try eating a good, healthy breakfast each day. Remember, you eat breakfast early. If you can get a bunch of lean protein and a balance of micronutrients into you before anything else happens, you are not only ensuring you feel fuller for longer and thus less vulnerable to temptation, you are also seeing to it that you have one well balanced meal before your good intentions get derailed.
- Stay hydrated. Thirst can be mistaken for hunger. As if Christmas didn’t come with enough risk, you don’t want to compound a table of salty snacks with a mistaken perception of your own hunger levels.
- Never show up to a party with a buffet on an empty stomach. Have something to eat before you go. Then, while you’re at the party, you might try one or two things, but you’ll be sampling for flavour, not trying to fill up.
- Just because you have a binge doesn’t mean you should give up on you exercise routine. I hear people apply this logic a lot, “Oh well, I might as well skip the gym, I’ve already blown it.” This is the time when you need the gym the most, not to erase your indulgences from history, but to help limit their impact. If your car ran out of petrol, would you smash it to pieces with a sledgehammer? No? Then don’t apply the same logic to your exercise routine.
- As famous as Christmas is for food, there are other activities you can indulge in. Family get togethers can sometimes be demanding, but while you’re arguing with Uncle Boris about Pauline Hanson, or disagreeing about whether to watch James Bond or the Queen’s Speech, your focus isn’t on food. Perhaps your nephew just unwrapped something he wants to play with and he needs a partner? That’s an even nicer way to pass the time. I never liked Uncle Boris anyway.
- Go steady on the trimmings like gravy and stuffing. Focus on the main body of the meal.
- Find a personal project that will require some time devoted to it. Build something, or learn a new skill. Again, there will be times when this can take the focus off of food.
- Make a goal for yourself. Aim to be able to physically do something you currently can’t, like an increased number of pushups in one minute, or buy a new item of clothing in November, with the intent of wearing it for New Year, then keep it in mind when you’re offered extra portions of food.
- If you’ve tried something once, don’t go back for more. Sure, it was tasty, but now you know that, you don’t need to eat another helping.
- Keep training. Make time to train during the holiday season like always whether you binged or not. Food is an important factor in your health and wellbeing, but what you ate shouldn’t factor into whether or not you go to the gym.
Have a great day guys!
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