The countdown is on with only 2 more sleeps until New Year’s Eve, which means being surrounded by family, friends and an abundance of food, glorious food! With all the delicious eats and treats looming on the horizon, let’s get onto the right start; start as you mean to go on, so let’s not put tradition before nutrition!
Avoid foods that have minimal nutritional value, such as sugar and fat laden cakes and biscuits. You might look at festive celebrations as its only once a year and I might be sounding like scrooge, however more often than not more people tend to overindulge over Christmas eve/day and boxing day. Then it’s the few days after Christmas that people tend to say ‘watching what I eat will be my New Year resolution’.
From oversized portions to repeated visits to the buffet table, alcohol overindulgence to dessert overload, mindful eating needs to take over, you need to be conscious what you put on your plate.
Take time to ingest what you’re eating, eat slowly and be aware of chewing slowly. Take note of the slow eaters around the table and instead of quizzing why they take their time to eat, try their pace. Trust me the slower you eat, the quicker you will become pleasantly full, which will last for longer than someone who rushes their meal, eats twice as much and then is hungry a couple of hours later. Also choose to eat carbs and veggies together or protein and veggies, but avoid combining carbs and protein at one sitting. Then save a bit of whichever group you skipped for later. You’ll still get to sample everything, but organizing your food intake will help your digestive system work most effectively and stop you from falling asleep on the sofa like a stuffed turkey!
If you are doing the Christmas rounds to family and friends, don’t feel you have to eat everything in sight, pace yourself and think wisely about where you’re eating next. Make sure you hydrate throughout the day. Often when we are thirsty we can confuse this feeling with hunger. So keep hydrated by drinking water, flavoured with fruits or vegetables make it more exciting and thirst quenching.
One of the key concepts you must get in touch with is mindful eating. Over time we have lost the sense to allow our bodies natural cues to tell us when to start and stop eating. Stress, life and time all factor in. I challenge you this holiday season to get back in touch with your childlike state, allowing your body to guide you on your holiday food choices, not your emotions. Research shows those who are able to eat mindfully have the most success at weight maintenance and receive the most enjoyment from eating.
With time off work, start your day off with some movement, whether it’s a brisk walk or a 5k run. Most of us are much less likely to overeat if we’ve done some sort of exercise (and if you do overindulge, you’ll have already burned some calories anyway).
Have a wonderful, happy and healthy festive time. The holidays can be a time for transforming our lives rather than our waistlines, so think before you indulge.