Side note: First, I know that using the word “Christmas” may offend some people. And I did hum and haa about changing it to “Holidays”, but I decided not to and I refuse to apologize. You know why? Because I’m Christian and the holiday we’re celebrating revolves around the birth of Christ. Now I know some of you will be like, “What an ignorant jerk. Doesn’t she know I’m Jewish and this holiday is Hanukkah?” or “Boy, she really needs to give her head a shake. As a Jehovah’s Witness we don’t carry-on with any such celebrating. Ever. Now stop bothering me with such nonsense because I have doors to knock on.”
But for any of us that are celebrating over the next few weeks, it can be a true test of willpower. Yes. I say this as I’ve made four batches of chocolate fudge totalling somewhere around 25,000 calories. And I’ve already snuck a couple pieces. I’ve made snacks and treats to be shared among family and friends (I’ve also helped myself to those to) But I believe this time of year is really about spending time with your family and good friends, enjoying great food (and spirits) and honouring the true meaning of the season. So this is not meant to be a lecture on how to stay skinny or get skinny through the holidays, but it’s more of an acknowledgement that we’ll all cheat a bit more on our regular lifestyles over the next few weeks.
We know the typical goodies we’ll consume over a relatively short period of time: chips, crackers, cheeses, dips, cookies, tarts, rich desserts, candy canes, chocolate, donuts, eggnog, booze and not to mention all of the turkey fixings. For a lot of us, we won’t eat all day (saving our calories for the evening) and binge all night. And forget drinking water. Drink pop, juice, wine, punch or beer. Since I’m probably the most guilty of all Christmas bad habits, that I thought I would share some ideas on how to curb them and stay on track. Plus, I feel like I’ve worked so hard over the last few months that I don’t want to throw it totally away over a few days (but that doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy myself either).
(1) Eat regular meals. Try not to disrupt your routine too much. If you usually have three square meals a day + snacks, continue to do so. If you’re a forager and snacker like me (eating smaller snacks every few hours) do that! But in case you need some explanation, let me set the scene: Okay. So you have a Christmas party tonight. There will undoubtedly be loads of food and copious amounts of booze, but, this doesn’t mean it’s smart to starve yourself during the day and save those calories! This is purely experience-based as I’m speaking from the perspective of someone they call the “hover snacker” (the person who enters the party, finds the most savoury dips and crackers and hovers around the spot for hours.) Now, I realized I only did this when I hadn’t eaten my normal meals throughout the day thinking that it would be good-to-go come party time. I was wrong. Not eating throughout the day (or not eating enough) makes you consume more of those crackers and dips. And hey, we all know that dips are freaking amazing (especially my moms onion, spinach and artichoke dips) but you don’t need to make a meal of it (plus it will make you really gassy… ew!) I’m not a calorie counter (and bless you people who keep track) but I’m confident when I say I’d probably consume the entire days calories in C & D!
(2) Get active. If you’re usually on the go whether it be at the gym or outside running around (or maybe not that active at all), try to fit in some activities to get your heart going. Go for a walk after dinner. Or if you’re lucky enough to have snow (we have had it for months now) go on a snowshoe excursion. If you don’t have snow (too bad) go for a bike ride (I hate biking, but you may like it.) The point is, you don’t have to go out and sweat incessantly and smash out personal bests, just get moving. I can speak from experience too. This is what our Christmas usually looks like: Dec 24 – prepare meals (snack on prep food); have everyone over (eat and drink to the point of food coma); Dec 25 – have an amazing mid-morning brunch with all the goodies (bacon, eggs, croissants, hash browns, sausages); laze around; then eat Turkey dinner. Dec 26 – continue to eat leftovers and sweets, until you can no longer move. So you see, it’s been a while since I’ve fit being active into our schedule. I plan to this year. I’ll post and keep myself honest.
(3) Smaller portions. I’m going to be honest with you here. I am a glutton when it comes to mashed potatoes, moms stuffing, cheesy cauliflower and gravy. These are my favourite parts of dinner. However, I’ve also noticed that I not only FEEL BETTER when I eat smaller amounts but I take more time to savour it. I know everyone says “take a smaller plate” and I’m not going to lie, I would usually roll my eyes. BUT, they were right. I’ve used smaller plates and I end up taking less food but taking more time to eat it (and enjoy it). If you’re a calorie-counter and are on a weight-loss journey, I’d urge you to try this. Truthfully, after all the hard work you’ve put in do you really want to jeopardize your progress?
(4) Add Veggies. Now this is something I would triple-roll my eyes at. But honestly, I love raw veggies and dip. For every meal it seems I’m adding raw veggies. The good thing is that they’re jam-packed full of nutrition, they fill you up too so that you don’t fill up on crackers and cheese (which I would… and probably still will this season). It’s also a nice change. When I eat too much junk my mouth gets sore (can anyone else relate?)
(5) Have fun. Don’t agonize or feel guilty if you indulge. The spirit of the season is to truly celebrate. Remember why you’re getting together. Have fun. Enjoy the great company. And be thankful.