Here we are, coming to the end of what I feel was the fastest year ever, and the silly season is just starting to warm up. It’s funny how summer is the time of the year you want to be looking and feeling your best, and yet the average Australian puts on between 0.8- 2 kg over the festive season. The 12 days of Christmas suddenly becomes the 30 days of mince pies and next thing you know, that button you undid under the table, won’t do up again. ‘Ho ho ho’ can quickly become ‘uh oh no!’.
While you may be thinking what’s one or two kilo’s in the name of a good time, and I would totally agree that there is always time to let your hair down, research also tells us that this little bit of weight is very often not lost after. It is because of this that it may bode well to take a few extra precautions over the summer.
Fear not, I am here to help. With a bit of planning, it’s possible to have you Christmas cake and eat it too. Here are some hints to get you through the festive season without having to add ‘lose weight’ to your new year’s resolution list.
Have a light meal before you go to parties
Like shopping, it’s best not to head out and about when you are starving as chances are you are going to make a beeline to the canapés, and at that point I’m afraid it’s all over, red rover!
Be a food snob
Ask yourself: is it worth the calories? For me, no food is off limits - that way I have the control of what I eat and am not driven to obsession by restrictions. The key here is not to waste your calories on crappy food! There is so much great food to be had at Christmas time, so if you’re faced with home brand fruit cake and stale samosas at an office morning tea, make the conscious decision to hold out for the good stuff.
Choose your hangovers wisely
It’s likely that you are going to have your fair share of events over the next few months, but the trick is to choose your battles ahead of time. Where do you really want to let your hair down and have a few drinks? Pick a few and leave the rest to be sober Steve. May sound boring, but in the end, you have to ask yourself, 'will the hangover be worth it?' If there are friends, good food and dancing it’s likely to be a tick, so enjoy it. But keep the meaningless glasses of wine to curb social anxiety to a minimum and just keep up to date with current affairs to fuel the small talk.
Make the decision to maintain your weight over summer
Deciding to lose weight this time of the year is likely to be a fruitless endeavour unfortunately and will only bruise your confidence to be able to do so. So the best way (or weigh, ha ha) is to commit to just maintaining where you are now, so come January 1, you won’t be on the back foot.
Stay Hydrated and keep healthy snacks in the fridge
It is possible to do damage control before a hangover sets in and avoid wiping out a whole day to nurse your head. The old alternate a drink with water trick is a start and keep your home free from junk food to avoid late night feasts.
It’s not all or nothing
Try to avoid the ‘so stuff it, I’ve already done the damage’ mind frame. You CAN do one and only one mince pie, but it has to be a part of the plan ahead of time to give yourself the chance to accept the fact.
Bring a nutritious option to the table
If it’s a bring a plate kind of party, be a trend setter an experiment with a new healthy recipe- there are thousands on line, so look one up and give it a go!
Get your steps in
Add in a few extra walks, runs or gym sessions, especially in the days before the office Christmas party. This will give you a little extra leeway come party time
Keep home the safe zone
You are likely to be pelted with lollies, chocolates, sausage rolls and candy cakes at the office, but don’t fall into the trap of having that stuff in the house, until you really feel you need to, e.g. stocking up before the relatives comes. Keep the junk food to the office and sit on your hands as often as possible, so you can enjoy the really good food when it’s on offer, without the guilt.
Don’t let Christmas time last until February
So while it is indeed the season to be jolly, if you want to avoid looking like good old Saint Nick coming into the new year, all it takes is a bit of conscious effort to avoid the kilo creep and really enjoy this time with family and friends.