This Christmas Eve, I am having the family over for dinner – and I love nothing more than to spoil them with delightful food which is also healthy (no surprise there!). This year, I’m taking inspiration from The Healthy Chef, Teresa Cutter. Cutter’s approach to creating recipes offers well balanced, healthy whole foods, which taste divine. My favourite? Gluten-free raw Christmas pudding - yum!
But what happens if you’re not in charge of the cooking? How will you survive the silly season? My advice – be smart, not silly. Here’s how to -
Step 1: aim to maintain
Let’s be honest, this time of the year is not ideal for losing weight; so instead, don’t aim to lose weight, aim to maintain your current weight. This way, you avoid feeling like you’re missing out, and you can still enjoy the celebrations.
Step 2: keep moving
It is important to start each day of the silly season with both mental and physical exercises. Skip the mentality of “my efforts will be ruined later by eating and drinking, so I might as well not exercise at all”- this approach is not healthy, nor is it balanced. Instead, at least four times a week, start the day with an affirmation and 30 minutes of exercise (such as walking, swimming, and going to the gym or to yoga).
Affirmations are sentences which are aimed at affecting the conscious and subconscious mind. When repeated, they can influence long standing patterns of behaviors, actions, habits and reactions; so they are a useful tool for bringing about what you wish to have and achieve in your life. Some affirmations for the silly season are:
- I select food which nourishes my body
- My body is functioning to its optimum, it functions perfectly
- The key is to make the affirmation in the present, as if it is already happening for you.
Step 3: plan
It is important to plan your meals in order to prevent you from over-indulging on calorie dense foods. For example, before heading out to an event, have a protein rich snack (such as a handful of mixed nuts, an omelet, or a protein smoothie). Furthermore, if a friend is hosting an event, offer to bring a healthy dish (such as salad), this way you ensure that there is a healthy alternative that you can eat.
Step 4: think smart, drink smart
The liver is the largest detoxifying organ in the human body, so it is important to support its function. Hence, moderation is key! My best tip of advice is – for every glass of alcohol, ensure you have one glass of water; I call it the ‘1-for-1’ method.
In regards to types of alcohol, opt for clear spirits (such as tequila, vodka or gin) and mix them with soda water and fresh citrus (lemon, lime, or orange) to avoid highly saturated sugar drinks (like pre-packaged drinks, light beers, cocktails and drinks with soda in them).
Step 5: wise selections
At events, there may not be great foods on offer, but there will always be better ones (such as vegetable based dishes, salads, greens, and lean meats). So, fill your plate with light options and have just a small tasting of more calorie-rich/nutrient poor foods (such as cream-based potato and pasta salads, or quiches) so you don’t feel deprived. Most importantly, eat slowly, with awareness and gratitude, enjoying each bite.
This is the season to challenge yourself; so instead of focusing on food and eating, focus on the social aspects of events.