We are now in party mode and December just seems to be a time when we all lose our marbles when it comes to food, drinking, presents and expectations.
Research shows that adults tend to put on up to 2kg of weight between November and the New Year, for many it can take up to 6 months to lose it for others they never lose it and every year it just compounds. The only thing that stopped weight gain was self-monitoring i.e. awareness!
Here are my top tips for surviving the ‘silly season’ and hopefully getting through the summer break with the same sized butt as we started with, still talking to our friends and relatives and our santity still in tact.
1. Plan, Plan, Plan – menus, shopping lists, cooking, chores..When we create a plan, we feel more in control. the key is to stick to that plan – buy what is on our shopping list, only eat what we buy and get prepared. Plan what needs to be done before Christmas and on the day. Give yourself plenty of time. Then let it go. Being flexible and adapting the plan as you go is also key to staying calm. Be realistic about what you can do, what you need to do, what you can say goodbye to.
2. Mindful Shopping – use that shopping list when you go to the supermarket. if you don’t buy it, you can’t eat it! Remember to shop the periphery as this is where the wholefoods tend to be. If you need to go down the aisles then only buy what you need. Remember shops spend a fortune on marketing and know how to entice you like a spider in a web. If you can do your food shopping (and present shopping online) then even better. You are less likely to buy what you don’t need and you won’t blow the budget either.
3. Mindful Eating – Know why you are eating. Are you truly hungry or are you eating for the sake of it? Is it habit, boredom, fear of upsetting someone? What are you hungry for?
Slow down, use your senses – before you take you first bite – look at your food – be aware of colours, textures and scents. When you put it in your mouth focus on textures, temperatures and tastes. CHEW! CHEW! CHEW! Take a moment to check in with yourself and see how that made you feel. Was it yum? Was it ok? Did your body like it? Are you full?
Use an app to track your eating. Research shows that self-monitoring prevents overeating and aids weight loss. I use the app ‘Easy Diet Diary’ which I can also link to my nutritional analysis software.
Put motivational quotes on your cupboards and fridges. Remind yourself that when you say NO to seconds of pavlova or another glass of sherry, you are saying YES to a pain free, non-bloated, vibrant, long-lived and hot and sexy you.
4. Set Goals – How many drinks will you have? What treats will you eat? Is there something that wouldn’t normally eat that you will enjoy this time but in moderation?
5. Share Desserts and Treats. When you share these you are also sharing calories.
6. Don’t go to a party hungry. Have a protein rich snack or small protein and veggie smoothie before you go. You will be less likely indulge in food you don’t need that are probably nutrient deficient but calorie full. Make sure you drink enough water too. it will stop you getting hungry and eating food you don’t need. For every glass of alcohol or coffee have a matching glass of water. Your liver has a threshold for how much alcohol it can detoxify in any given time. Stick to one standard drink every 90 minutes and try not to drink more than two a night.
7. Make a budget and stick to it. A lot of stress comes from spending money on shit we don’t need. Experiences matter far more than things. We will remember how we felt not what we got as a present or even what we ate.
8. Manage your expectations – be flexible and let go of the notion that Christmas has to be perfect. We get stressed because we didn’t get the presents we wanted, we didn’t get the reaction to the gifts we gave, the day didn’t go the way we had envisaged etc. As the song goes ‘Let it Go, let it Go’.
9. Get a good sleep – when we have poor quality or not enough sleep – we don’t always make the best food choices and we can be grumpy and emotional. Sleep is critical for our body to repair, our apetite hormones to be produced and is also fat busting (melatonin, the sleep hormone burns fat whilst we sleep). Get to bed by 10pm (magic happens between 10pm and midnight).
10. Start Christmas Day off well – have a healthy breakfast, carve out some quiet time for yourself. Plan a walk during the day. Create meaningful moments and experiences. Set an intention of how you want to feel.
11. Respect your boundaries – delegate and say no! You don’t have to do everything yourself.
12. Make a plan for what to do if someone pisses you off – where can you go for a walk? Get a ‘meltdown journal’ and write in it how you feel and what you would like to do to that person and then let it go; Breathe! Don’t drink alcohol to deal with your stress or anger.
13. Make the day matter – Its all about the experiences not the stuff. If this was your last Christmas how would you spend it?
14. Move your body – don’t stop exercising just because you are on holiday. Do something physical everyday. Its good for our mood, our bones, our gut – everything. This is free medicine.
15. Stick to your routines as much as possible – get up the same time, eat at the same times and go to bed at the same time. Our body thrives on routine and it has its own clock. When we muck about with the clock our body doesn’t like it and we will feel crap in the long run.
16. Keep a gratitude journal – the holiday period is a perfect time to connect with others but even more so to connect with ourselves. This is an opportunity to reflect on the positives in your life and consider new goals for the coming year. Practice self compassion and find time for joy!
Have a very Merry Christmas and a fantabulous 2021! I can’t wait xxx