We are fast approaching the Party Season, where it’s really easy to undo all the hard work we have done over the last 11 months, but it doesn’t have to be that way; with a little planning, it is possible to enjoy yourself and maintain everything that you have achieved to date. What is key to understand is that it is important to enjoy yourself; if you stop yourself from doing everything you enjoy, you won’t sustain it long term and are more likely to end up bingeing. You are not aiming to improve where ever you are in your journey over the festive season; you are aiming to maintain where you are currently.
Here are a few tips which can help you.
- Stay active. Even if you can’t get to your classes, hit your usual average steps over the week, or if possible, increase your average weekly steps to help counteract any extra calories. Think of family walks after a meal, playing physical games with the children, dancing at parties etc. (You are aiming for a minimum of 10,000 per day average.)
- Alternate alcoholic drinks with a large glass of water. This is one of my favourites; I always order water when I go out to eat, whether or not I have alcohol. It’s an easy way to reduce alcohol consumption.
- If you enjoy a range of alcoholic drinks, then try to choose those with fewer calories. Alcohol is unfortunately “empty calories”, calories with no nutritional benefit, so you still need to eat nutritionally dense food as well. But there’s no point in drinking something you don’t enjoy just because it is lower calorie; you are better to have less of what you enjoy!
- Plan your week, so that you eat slightly less some days during the week, to allow for extra calories on days where you are going out. And fill up on vegetables!!!!
- Don’t starve yourself before you go out, as you are more likely to end up bingeing at the party, just make wise choices during the day, lots of vegetables and protein, so that you aren’t too hungry. And don’t drink calories during the day (think how many calories are in those milky coffees and save them for drinks and food at the party!)
- If you are eating out, then try and choose from the menu beforehand; think protein and vegetables, and avoid sauces (ask for them on the side, so you can have a little if you fancy, but are in control of portion size).
- At buffets, don’t over fill your plate, and again, choose wisely; nuts are a source of healthy fat, but remember your portion size, and only have a few. Sit down to eat, chew your food, eat slowly, and wait a while after finishing your plate before deciding if you really need seconds! It takes a while for our body to recognise we are full!
- Choose your treats! Do you love all the sweet things available during the party season? If so, then I would suggest trying to limit alcohol, to enable you to eat more sweet stuff! Another option is, if you are going to several parties, choose one sweet item to have at each one, so for example, mince pie one day, stollen the next party, and Christmas Cake the following, and so on, so you get to eat everything you enjoy, but not all on one day!
- Don’t over shop before Christmas; this is so easy to do…. And there really is no need these days, with shops hardly closing over the festive season. Think about how many days you are going to be together as a family, and who will be visiting, and think about when you will need snacks and treats, and shop accordingly! The shops are full of things we don’t “need” and they are designed to make us spend our money, so be strong, and only buy your favourite items, and only enough for the few days everyone will be around!
- If you have things left over after the festive season, think about whether you really want to eat them, or whether you can give them away! Even sharing them with work colleagues will help you as you will eat less, or take round to elderly neighbours; think of who would appreciate them. If you get lots of food gifts, then see if you know anyone who needs raffle prizes for a good cause in January.