PLANNING FOR CHRISTMAS: The average Brit eats a whopping button popping seven thousand calories on Christmas day alone and its not just this day itself. Thanks to office parties, drinks and neighbours, get together with friends and family the traditional twelve days of calorie cramming Christmas, now extends from early December right through to January. No wonder then, that for those of us trying to watch our weight the Christmas festivities can be ruined by a real fear of gaining weight. If you have struggled for months to fit into your little black party dress, the last thing you want is to have our self-control tested to the limit every single day. So what can we do? It’s easy to say, “Eat and drink in moderation” but its not quite so easy to carry out. To help get through this sometimes difficult time of year I thought the following may be helpful. Please read each section (out aloud if you like) and imagine yourself doing the “suggestion” If you don’t think it will help, that’s fine move on to the next one. If you can see a suggestion helping please tick yes. Suggestions 1. I will plan my Christmas eating. Failing to plan means planning to fail! If we actually have a plan of how we intend to eat over Christmas we are much more likely to succeed in keeping our weight stable, as opposed to just going with the flow and seeing what happens. Decide today what you plan to do over the festive period i.e. how many packs will you need and discussing what foods you will be eating. 2. I will see Christmas Dinner as just another meal. If you think you are supposed to overeat at Christmas you will because it’s what you are expecting even if your body doesn’t need the extra calories. So why not change those thoughts now? Start telling yourself you can enjoy your Xmas dinner, its is actually a good balanced meal, just that this year you don’t intend to go mad and over indulge. 3. I will follow the 80/20 % rule. As long as you are eating healthily 80 % of the time, its absolutely ok to have occasional treats 20% of the time. Christmas comes but once a year so relax and enjoy yourself and the festivities. What is the point of depriving yourself of something, which you would really enjoy but then feeling miserable about? It’s far better to indulge a little but savour every mouthful and then stop when you are satisfied. 4. I will eat sensible portions. Use a smaller plate! Your brain will register a full plate regardless of the size. Another tip is half fill your plate with vegetables first then a quarter of lean meat then lastly, the starchy food, the dreaded Carbs. i.e. potatoes, parsnips etc 5. I will eat slowly. We often eat faster and more when we are hungry, therefore, eat a wholesome breakfast or have a Cambridge pack to avoid over eating later in the day. 6. I will make a conscious choice to limit the high calorie foods.. You can eat anything you like but all you are doing is choosing to eat smaller amounts of certain foods. 7. I will stop when I am full. Listen to your body, it will tell you what it wants, stop when full, exercise when your body tells you to. Why should Christmas be any different? Eat and savour each mouthful slowly then stop when you are satisfied. Who wants to be either starving or suffering from an overfull tummy anyway? 8. I will drink a glass of water for every alcoholic drink or canned drink I have. Water fills you up, it has no calories or side effects, it is cheap and will help wash out any excesses or toxins, Calories from alcohol tend to be stored in the abdomen thus contributing to that bloated feeling. People also usually have less resolve about not overeating when they have had too much alcohol. 9. I will snack on lovely fresh fruits and nuts Snacking is actually a good thing; it keeps our blood sugar stable. We just need to be selective in what we choose to snack on. At this time of the year there is lovely selection of fresh fruit available such as Clementine’s, tangerines and Satsuma’s, all of which are rich in vitamin c, so make sure you have a big bowls of these around for everyone to help themselves to, bowls of grapes are good as well also a handful of unsalted nuts and dried fruit as a good sources of vitamins and minerals. These snacks are all low gi and they won’t raise your blood sugar rapidly. 10. I will enjoy the foods that I choose There really is no point in eating for the sake of it. What floats your boat? If you favourite food is chocolate desserts, cheese of anything that is seen as an indulgent food, buy yourself a small amount of the best quality you can afford and really enjoy every mouthful but please don’t feel guilty about it. 11. I won’t be too hard on myself Please don’t be hard on yourself if things don’t go quite according to plan and you eat more than you intended. Everyone has days when they eat too much. Just decide to focus on healthy foods the following day. 12. I will enjoy the company and concentrate on the true meaning of Christmas. See Christmas as a festive time for sharing and giving with friends and family. Enjoy the company and let the food enhance it and not the other way around. 13. I will get back to my usual routine as soon as possible If you do put a bit of weight on don’t panic! Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get going. Feeling sorry for yourself won’t help you and it certainly won’t get you to where you want to be. 14. I don’t need to eat up Lots of us will get boxes of chocolates and biscuits for Christmas. As lovely as these are they can be a hindrance to us getting back to our normal eating routine. Give them away! So... Enjoy Christmas everyone Hope this helps!