Christmas and the holidays are an exciting time for children.Why not tap into their natural enthusiasm at this time of year by getting really involved with them. Just as you can ask for presents that are ‘activity based’, so too can you get others, especially children, presents that encourage physical play.For example you can take your children, your nephews and nieces, or your friend’s and neighbor’s kids to the park on Christmas day to (these are dependent on your weather):
- Build a snow fort.
- Build a snowman.
- Go ice skating.
- Play a game of hockey.
- Have a snowball fight.
- Fly a kite.
- Play cricket, soccer, baseball or football.
- Throw a Frisbee around.
- Ride our bikes.
- Or just play on the swings and roundabouts.
Why not take the dog as well, they love being around us and are sure to get into the spirit of any activity we chose to do to have fun.
Drinking plenty of water will help keep sodium levels down and keep you feeling full longer along with keeping yourself properly hydrated. Believe it or not, vegetables will do the same thing. They provide your body with a fullness that helps you avoid overeating.Here are few specific tips to help us all in this regard:
- Don’t just eat to please others – eat only what and how much you want, not as an obligation to others for cooking our favorite foods.
- It’s not always a good idea to skip meals prior to a dinner out or a holiday feast. Being overly hungry before a meal can cause us to eat a lot more than we normally would once we do sit down at the table.
- Try not to pick at foods before or after a meal. The things we’re all likely to pick at are those things that will add the greatest amount to our waistlines. Try to eat only at the dinner table.
- As always, chew food slowly and enjoy it. Try putting your fork down and talking to others between bites.
- Stop eating as soon as you begin to feel physically full.
- Manage emotional eating. Christmas can be a time of high emotions, including stress, anxiety, unhappiness, joy and optimism, all of which can have strong associations with food. If you think or know you are likely to feel strong emotions during this period and you have a habit of turning to food in order to help you cope, have an action plan prepared.
- Before eating any meal or going out for a couple of drinks or to a party, simply drink a glass or two of cool, refreshing water.
Christmas and holidays are meant to be enjoyed; a happy time to spend with close friends and family.Part of that enjoyment comes from eating and drinking your favorite foods and drinks, then it would be a real shame to deny yourselves some of these simple pleasures.Having said that, balance is the key to really enjoying the festive season and this includes balancing out your meals each day while balancing your ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days each week.In most cases, the food is everywhere. And even if it’s not right in front of your face, you sure can smell it! Trying to just “stay away from it” is pretty unrealistic – and it can feel like torture for some. For most people: When you can’t have something, you want it even more. So trying to stay away from the food will most likely just make you overindulge worse than you would have otherwise.Instead allow yourself whatever you’d like. But with a catch… First: Take only half the amount you normally would. And take just one food item. Eat that and enjoy it without guilt. Then, wait a full 20-30 minutes before you get something else. Then repeat the process: One item, half the portion size as you normally would, enjoy it without guilt, then wait before getting something else.Allowing yourself to eat gets rid of the mentality of “I can’t have it (and thus I’m more determined to have it)” It lets you enjoy the good food and the holidays, without beating yourself up. This is healthy and can help tremendously with the way you view food and eating in general. Only taking half of it though, will help you not take in as much calories, fat, sugar or other bad stuff you usually avoid. And then waiting 20-30 minutes before you get something else will help your body realize when it’s had enough… or too much. So you’re much less likely to overdo things, and feel horrible physically later.Having one indulgent day per week is usually OK, even if we are trying to lose weight.So if we think that the whole of December is the most dangerous time for us, we can allocate days within that month where we can let our ‘hair down’ a little and enjoy the good stuff and still be on the right track.
Alcohol is high in calories. In fact 1g of alcohol contains around 7 calories. In addition, all of these calories are known as “empty” calories because they provide no real nutritional value to your body.One of the reasons many people put on weight during the Christmas season is because alcohol consumption ‘goes through the roof’ during this time. Drinking at office parties, get-togethers with friends, Christmas Eve, Christmas dinner and of course the big one, New Years Eve are all part of the festive season and at most, if not at all of these occasions, alcohol consumption is part of the social mix.You don’t have to be a party-pooper if you’re watching your weight. You just need a strategy to cope with the situations that you’ll be found in.For example you can try:
- Alternating alcoholic drinks with low calorie non-alcoholic drinks or water.
- Using or asking for low calorie/diet mixers with our spirits.
- Making wine Spritzers using mineral or soda water and your favorite wine.
- Substitute pre-prepared “alcoholic soft-drinks” with a shot of your favorite spirit and a low calorie mixer.
- Making allowances for alcohol in your daily diets (calorie quota) – without skipping meals to compensate, which is not a good idea.
- Remembering that moderation is the key.
Letting yourself go a little during December is one thing, developing unhealthy new habits or reinforcing unhealthy old habits is entirely another.Remember, if you are indulging in December, it will be on special treats, not everyday staple treats. You can help prevent treats from becoming staples during the holidays by trying some of the following:
- End each meal feeling comfortable and perhaps still a little hungry rather than bursting and having to loosen your belt or change into clothes with an elastic waist.
- Eat smaller portions of a larger variety of foods.
- Make the bulk of your eating healthy foods like turkey and vegetables, rather than on cakes, biscuits, chocolates, ice-cream and the like.
- Recycle or give-away any chocolates or sweets you receive as presents.
- Don’t over-purchase things like potato chips, biscuits, chocolate, lollies, puddings and ice-cream which you’ll still be eating in February.