If you’ve done really well all year, it’s too easy to feel anxious about undoing your hard work over Christmas.
Likewise, if you haven’t done so well – it is also easy to feel anxious about increasing the height of the mountain you need to climb in January!
Reality check time.
Remember that months of hard work is not undone by two days of overeating. Of course it’ll put you back for a couple of days, but it will not undo what you have already achieved.
Really, Christmas Day and Boxing Day are going to involve a couple of big meals, a couple of puddings, probably a couple of glasses too many of something boozy, and a few extra chocolates. Yes. Too much food, but not enough to make you gain much more than water, and in fact (huge over simplification coming!), one days worth of overeating by 2000-3000 calories only equates to about half a pound of actual fat gain.
The truth is that the nice little things which appear during the whole of December are where the hard work is undone. Mince pies everywhere, tasty little Christmas-themed snacks and nibbles, friends being generous with the alcohol. And for me, a spoonful of brandy cream in my coffee for most of December! Thank goodness that isn’t in the shops yet!
A couple of hundred extra calories a few times a week for a month and THEN two (or more) days of over eating actually IS enough to undo months of hard work, so this is where your attention should be.
My advice is to keep this in mind and be aware of the ‘oh it’s only a little mince pie’ effect. If you can do this, you are likely to come out the other side of Christmas pretty unscathed.
As for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and the other days between Christmas and New Year when you’re sitting inside getting merrily sloshed while eating obscene amounts of food you wouldn’t consider the rest of the year, here are some things to keep in mind:
Drink water between boozy drinks to slow yourself down, and / or ‘water down’ your boozy drinks with more mixer. And when you DO have alcohol, choose something lower sugar, like a G&T, V&T or wine.
When you put food on your plate, start with protein first, then add veg. If you have a family who do not serve veg – take a nice healthy side dish with you to share! This leaves less physical space to add the less healthy things to your plate.
When you do put the less healthy foods on your plate, try to choose things which you just cannot survive without; things which provoke some kind of nice memory or something the chef makes a better version of than you can make yourself. It can be handy to think this through in advance. But don’t eat things to be polite.
Finally, try to plan in some kind of activity to at least sort-of offset the extra calorie intake. Maybe you’ll be the designated dog walker on Christmas morning; let’s face it, some time to yourself is only a bonus, and you’ll create a bit of space for some extra calories! Perhaps you’ll make a point of encouraging everyone to go for a proper walk in the afternoon too. And if you wanted to get really out-there, you could even try to persuade a couple of people to do a Christmas workout with you!
All of these things are logical and nothing you couldn’t think up yourself. To me, the most useful suggestions can be summed up under the umbrella of remaining conscious and making deliberate decisions. Never underestimate the power of this!