How to Stop Eating Too Much at Christmas

This article was originally written by Janice Elizabeth Small

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With all the tempting food available in December, it’s difficult to resist eating too much – yet if you don’t you’ll regret it later. One or two bouts of over-indulgence won’t make much difference but if you throw in the towel for the whole month you’ll end up quite a few pounds heavier in January.
But how do you resist when there is so much on offer? And without feeling that you’re missing out? Here are 10 tips to guide you through the holidays.
1. Have what you really want
When you’re faced with wall-to-wall goodies, don’t feel that you have to get your nutrition before you indulge. You’ll only end up with more calories than your body needs. In other words, if you know you’re going to have the apple pie, don’t fill up on meat and potatoes and then have it! One occasion is not going to make you malnourished.
2. Take three bites
If the chocolate cake looks good but you know 800 calories is not going to look great on your hips, have a tiny piece. Have three bites, eat them as slowly as you can and really taste what you’re eating. Satisfy your taste buds without wolfing down a huge portion.
3. Quality counts
Instead of buying cheap fattening treats at Christmas indulge yourself and your family with the best delicacies you can afford. Buy the best and treat yourself that way rather than picking your way through a mountain of unmemorable junk.
4. If you lapse
If you do over-indulge, don’t give up all semblance of watching what you eat for the whole festive period. It’s only one meal, one snack and you’re unlikely to have done much damage. Just go right back to eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full – right from your next meal.
5. Pace yourself
If you’re going to a party or dinner later don’t starve yourself or you’ll fall ravenously on the buffet table or bread basket. Do, however, eat moderately during the day with lower calorie but filling foods. Have soup and bread or salad and a baked potato for lunch and have a small snack such as an apple or some toast later in the afternoon so that you don’t arrive too hungry at the party.
6. Stay away
Whatever you do don’t position yourself near the buffet table – you’ll nibble all night. Put one or two things on a plate and get away from there – you can always go back if you’re still hungry. By the same token don’t leave snack foods lying around at home. Put them out of sight as much as you can.
7. Keep busy
The more you do the less time you’ll have to sit around eating, so get busy around the house (you can make it spick and span for Santa). Get all your preparations done early so that you’re less stressed and less likely to turn to food to soothe your frazzled state.
8. Plan ahead
No matter how much you have to do, make sure you take a few minutes out of your schedule to plan your meals each day. It would be even better if you could organise yourself to do this on a weekly basis. If you don’t plan your meals you’ll end up eating out or calling for take-away more than is good for you. Also if you know you’ve got big meals or parties on particular days plan some lighter meals (but not starvation rations) on the days before and after to help balance out the amount you are eating.
9. Low calorie options
If you are in charge of cooking use all the tricks you know to reduce the calories of the food you provide without reducing the flavour. Look up some low-calorie versions of the dishes you normally cook online and use these. Or try some new lighter recipes. They may be an improvement on what you usually cook. Your family and guests will think that you are serving them something special rather than something low-calorie. In any case provide alternatives for any particularly fattening dishes – fruit salad as well as Christmas pudding for example. Your health conscious guests will thank you.
10. Be Mindful
We put so much in our mouths without thinking about it, without even noticing it or enjoying it. This is easy to do with so much food available and lying out on display. Make sure that whatever you eat, you serve it properly. Put it on a plate or in a bowl, sit down and enjoy it. Even if you intend to do this, you’ll catch yourself nibbling from packets, standing up in the kitchen or whatever – but awareness is half the battle – just notice how much you do this so that you can gradually start to change this habit.