I can read your mind, because my mind is saying the same thing: bugger it. It’s Christmas! I’ll worry about it next year.
Come on, don’t be a scrooge. Just eat all the food. All of it.
There’s a truth there, but if you’re health conscious or in the process of trying to lose weight, a two week period of eating all of the food ever has the potential to ruin progress you’ve made or worse, put you back at square one. Here are some tips to help avoid that worst case scenario.
Tip 1: Don’t Drink Calories
As someone who doesn’t drink alcohol, this is a good one for me.
It’s Christmas and the world is going to peer pressure you into consuming a shitload of calories. Some of this is going to be nigh on unavoidable. Also: food is great and it’s okay to indulge a little.
Where you can save is on the liquid. So my advice: drink water. Drink a lot of water.
Here’s my other piece of advice: don’t drink soft drinks. At all.
The water thing is works in a number of ways: to begin with, water is good for you. Water helps your liver metabolise body fat more efficiently. That’s one positive. The second positive: water helps dull your appetite. It will literally help you eat less.
My recommendation. Drink a tall glass of water (roughly 500ml) before every meal. Drink water after your meal too. Just to put a punctuation mark on it — to say, I’M FINISHED.
The real killer during Christmas are those second (or third) helpings. Drinking water can help reduce the damage here.
Tip 2: Learn Portion Control
This is obvious stuff. The temptation, especially when people are passing round the turkey or the lamb or whatever massive chunk of meat your family is munching on, is to stack that first plate high.
I say take it easy. Portion control is a psychological game one plays with oneself. Give yourself a reasonable first helping, but don’t go crazy.
Know your weaknesses, be aware of your limits. Are you the type of person that needs to eat when others are eating? Then chew your food carefully, take it slow. Are you the type that always goes for a second and third plate? Then make those plates progressively smaller. Otherwise you’re gonna leave your body with 2kgs of beef to digest and that’s bad news.
Tip 3: Choose Wisely
A large component of this game is the food you choose to eat. Family christmas dinners tend to have that mini buffet element. Someone’s made Turkey, someone’s made roast potatoes. There’s a big arse loaf of garlic bread somewhere and your sister made a massive salad.
You know what to do here. Choose the right stuff.
I’m lucky to an extent — my weakness is stupidly rich lamb and beef. I’m not really a potato guy. My general advice is to not fill up on the high carb, high calorie stuff that doesn’t make you feel full. By that I’m talking about garlic bread, chips, roast potatoes, gravy — take it easy on that stuff. Indulge a little if you must but don’t go nuts.
Try and pick the lean meats, get yourself a healthy chunk of the salad your sister made. Be careful though: some salads are a trap. If the salad features stuff like cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce and a balsamic dressing? You’re onto a winner. If it’s loaded with cheese and thick creamy dressings? It might not be the healthy option you think it is.
Tip 4: Eat A Big, Low GI Breakfast
Christmas isn’t just one single meal — it tends to be an all-day event punctuated by chocolate, wine, and other high calorie snacks. A large part of the Christmas battle is avoiding this need to snack constantly.
That’s why I always recommend eating some kind of decent sized, low GI breakfast — the type that is healthy, but keeps you feeling full for a sustained amount of time.
My recommendation (always) is oats. Rolled oats is always a good choice for breakfast, but during these perilous times it will enable you to manage cravings better, and allow you to pass on all the snackage you’ll be presented with en route to that stupendously large lunch/dinner you’ll be having.
Tip 5: Don’t Worry Too Much
It is Christmas, so it’s not necessarily a time to worry too much about what you’re eating. Don’t get to anxious about calorie counting, instead just follow a few general rules. Really — it’s about portion control and a touch of discipline. Make the right choices, take it easy on yourself and enjoy!
Any other tips? Let us know in the comments below.