If you're trying to make your end of year celebrations a little healthier, then follow these three steps!
Step 1: Set realistic health goals
The key word in that sentence is ‘realistic’. You’re going to be seeing friends and family for breakfasts, lunches and dinners, which means more time spent away from your usual exercise routine and more time consuming calories.
Unfortunately, we can’t all be mountaintop-dwelling Buddhist monks free from desire, and there’s no shame in having a little extra helping of your favourite once-yearly foods.
But if you’re keen to keep as close to your health goals as possible, adapting your plans will lead to less stress and more readily achievable goals.
Step 2: Eat smarter
Working smarter is better than working harder, and the same principles apply to your food. You can always
Use a smaller plate
Our brains are both incredible and borderline useless, and a great example of this is with food portions compared to the size of the vessel carrying them. If, for example, you have a lot of a food on a plate that makes it look small, then you’re brain thinks that there is less there than a small amount of food on a plate that makes it look huge.
So when you’re in line, desperately eyeing the potato bake as it rapidly diminishes, grab for the smaller plate along with your cutlery to ensure that you’re loading up on what your brain thinks is a lot.
Bring healthier foods
Unless you’re sporting the powers of a Greek deity, chances are you can’t manipulate the people at your Christmas events to bring healthier foods to ensure you’re safe from temptation.
You can, however, help yourself by bringing along a healthier dish that you know you can enjoy. It might be something as simple as a salad, or a lean protein source like salmon or kangaroo. At the very least, you’ll be giving yourself the choice of a healthier option.
Bring your own booze
It’s easy to forget the calories hiding in a nice shiraz or a hearty pilsner, but they’re there, just waiting to be quaffed with joyous abandon.
On top of this, it’s extremely hard to refuse a drink that’s been offered. You might not want to appear rude or ungrateful, or it could be that they’re offering something foreign, aged, expensive and delicious.
Bringing your own drinks, in the amount you want and feel comfortable with, gives you the chance to take complete control over what and how much you consume.
Step 3: Set an end date
If you’ve been good all year, or think that you might not have the willpower this time around to resist grandma’s pudding, then one of the best things you can do is set an end date to your festivities.
How long this might be is completely up to you – there’s no point in forcing yourself to miss out on the things you enjoy because of an arbitrary date. Also, guilt and shame aren’t good motivating factors when it comes to reaching or maintaining health goals.
So why miss out or stress out?
What is important when setting an end date is that you stick to it on the day.
After a full Christmas, however, chances are you’ll be begging for it to come sooner than you expected!