In two minds/having guilt about celebratory Christmas food? My advice, is enjoy yourself, and try these tips:
No-guilt approach: The worst thing to do is ‘cheat’ often and then not enjoy it because you feel guilty! Instead, make a conscious decision whether you’re going to exercise restraint, or whether you’ll just enjoy the food and drink flow and deal with the consequences in the New Year.
Snacks: Savour your food (look, smell, chew properly – really taste it), don’t eat during screen time; buy nuts in shells so you have to make the effort to eat them; put snacks over the other side of the room; make and take your own to parties; put snacking off for ten minutes and allow yourself to get distracted by non-food things.
Parties: Eat before you go: if you arrive hungry at a party, you’ll hoover up snacks and drinks! Lowering your mouth to a tray to get a nibble really isn’t pretty, so grab a two trays and help serve other people. Alternatively, chat or dance with animation. If you are eating nibbles and sweet things, go for the most natural ones you can see (like nuts).
Shopping: Make a rule of no impulse buying; make a list and keep to it hand, especially at the till where mountains of sweet things are there to trap the unwary. If you’re tempted, read the ingredients – some are very gruesome – and just buy real food.
Drinks: Just be aware! ‘Seasonal drinks’ like mulled wine and coffees with spiced syrups have huge amounts of sugar – often even more than eating a few slices of cake!*
Timings: View Christmas as a set of separate, delicious events, not a month-long binge-fest – and, If you’re going to ‘cheat’, don’t do it too often, start later in the day, and enjoy treats straight after your meal and not as a snack.
Exercise: Go for walks before a big meal, rather than after – or do both! Without going into too much details here, the hormones generated with the walk will help balance your eating both physically and emotionally.
Whatever you choose to do, I wish you a tasty Christmas!
* See actiononsugar.org for their latest report on festive drinks .
This article was taken from my Jersey Evening Post column, 11 December 2019, but I have missed out some parts that were Jersey-centric stats.