So Christmas looms and yet again you ponder how to survive those mounds of food along with all the added calories of alcohol. Every year seems to be the same – if it isn’t the pickled pork that you over-indulge on, it’s the brandy butter Christmas pudding or Quality street sweets. And as if that isn’t enough there are all those special drinks to contend with as well like um… the ka-zillion-caloried-eggnog!
And we exit Christmas despairing as the New Year looms dangerously ahead with it’s hot summer pool days and the bikini body becoming something to dread. What to do?
In the words of Swami Beyondananda (in Duck Soup for the Soul): “I am often asked to explain the suffering of the people on the planet who do not have enough to eat. Actually, that is easy to explain. What is harder to explain is the suffering of those who have too much to eat.”
Isn’t that the truth? And here are three possible explanations for why it’s so difficult to survive Christmas without guilt and shame, not to mention the extra kilos we squeeze into our jeans at the end of it all.
- We are such a nation of dieters that we are constantly restricting and depriving ourselves of the ‘good things in life.’
- We often diet leading up to Christmas just so that we can reward ourselves for ‘being good’ and because our mentality is that this is a good time to ‘let it all hang out.’
- In addition, come Christmas there are certain foods that we know we’re unlikely to see for another year. This set’s up a scarcity mentality and we respond to that by eating as much as possible now in order to make up for the future deprivation we’re already imagining.
Our Tips to Survive Christmas Eating;
Tip 1: Enjoy!
Don’t diet or be hard on yourself during Christmas. Christmas is a time to relax, be jolly and enjoy everything that is part of Christmas, including the food. Can’t resist that mouth-watering, full of refined sugars, artificial colors and flavorings cake? Go for it! If you occasionally allow yourself something that doesn’t fit into your diet, you don’t have to be afraid that you will suddenly have gained 6 pounds the day after or get sick (unless we’re talking about a coeliac diet i.e.).
Tip 2: Make healthy variants
Are you the one preparing Christmas dinner? Make healthy variants! For most dishes counts that you can rebuild the recipe to a healthy variant. Does a recipe include refined sugar? Use honey or maple syrup instead of sugar.
Tip 3: Red wine
Most alcoholic drinks are packed with sugar. Therefore, choose red wine. Most red wines only have 3 grams of sugar per glass. In addition, red wine contains resveratrol, which has antioxidant properties. But don’t let it be your reason to drink red wine: you’ll need to drink gallons of it to be effective. Don’t to forget to drink plenty of water if you’re drinking wine.
Tip 4: Portion control
Too many indulgencies on the table to resist? Allow yourself to try everything, controlling your portion size.
Tip 5: Get active the morning after
As soon as you are feeling remotely human, and your chances of throwing up have lessened, then think about doing some exercise. A brisk walk, light jog or swim will help work off those extra roast potatoes and all those second helpings you may have had. Getting active will also help you feel normal again, dispel any festive cabin fever and help repair some of the damage you have done to yourself.