Ohhhhhhh jingle bells, jingle bells. Christmas is upon us and while we all want to have a jolly ole’ time we don’t want to end up with a tummy like Santa Clause when all is said and done. How cruel is it that Christmas falls right before New Years. We eat, eat, eat, (or deny, deny, deny) and promise ourselves that, like, omg, this is going to be the year I get in shape and by February failure has already planted its dirty seeds into our ambitious hearts. Then there are the “get in shape by summer” articles and by summer we’re still sucking in a little at the beach wondering how this happened AGAIN for the fourth year straight. We are such cyclical beings, but let’s ignore the bikinis and ponder the task at hand: how do we successfully navigate holiday eating.
Every magazine and YouTube Guru (and me, I suppose) is trying to say they have the best tips and tricks for minimizing holiday gain & guilt, but at the same time you need to look inside your heart, stomach, and personality to see what is right for you. If you are someone who feels emotionally stable enough to not have a break down the next day after eating more than usual then you are free to nosh. If you find that you tend to beat yourself up and slip into unhealthy acts ranging from working out too abusively the next day, dangerously limiting your calories, and falling down an emotional hole (which will probably lead to emotional eating), then be mindful of how you approach the snack table. Don’t feel bad if you fall into the latter category. It isn’t the best place to be, but realizing is half the battle. Keep reading my blog, reading other people’s blogs, and watching informational YouTube videos, and maybe next year the holiday season will be a less stressful time.
First consider how many parties you will be going to. At 20 I understand that I’m not going to the amount of massive soirees my 28 and 30 year old siblings are. If you are going to be attending multiple parties, then you really do need to consider how much you are going to eat. One night of eating won’t have a negative outcome; After a week of holiday eating and the scale might start to creep. Try to fill up at the veggie and fruit platter. Walk around and mingle, but try to keep that separate from your eating. When you watch TV, write e-mails, or have conversations during meals you have a tendency to not realize how much food you’re taking in. Wait awhile before going back for seconds; it takes about 20 minutes for your body to register being full. Ask around to see what your friends will be serving and figure out what houses have the better food. I find ham to be lackluster, so if I were a situation where ham was being served for dinner I’d be more liberal with my other choices. Here’s another trick you can try. Bring a small blue plate with you and use that instead of the paper plates being offered (of course, only do this at the house of a close friend.) Studies have shown that eating off of blue plates makes you consume less. Aside from blueberries, many blue things in nature used to make us sick, so they believe it might be part of a primal instinct we still have. I also think it isn’t the most appealing color to eat off of. I was at my Uncles this summer and was having my usual breakfast of eggs with toast & jam. I couldn’t’ figure out why I was eating so slowly and everything felt bizarre until I realized he had see- through blue plates!
Aside from how many parties you go too, you also need to consider the significance certain foods hold. At my house Christmas means Filet Mignon and Shrimp. I adore shrimp, more so than Reese’s, and Christmas is the one time of the year I can eat a lot of it for free; Thank you daddy-o! Taking that into consideration I have no qualms about eating an ungodly amount of shrimp. Shrimp isn’t the unhealthiest food cluttering the table, but let’s say Christmas is the one time your aunt from across the country comes and makes her blueberry pie that you never get to have except on the 25th. Pssh, have 2 slices if you want. Be naughty: have three. It’s not like it’s something you have access to it on a regular basis. If you are an average person with no severe health issues (aside from being a slave to the Standard American Diet, which is a health issue in it of itself, but I digress) then don’t feel bad about splurging. But if the item at hand is run of the mill apple pie from Shaw’s, well, I think we know that that means. I’m by no means saying to force food into the belly for the sake of the holiday, but if after an hour you’re thinking a second slice is looking good then have it. Another thing to watch out for is alcoholic beverages. Eat your calories, don’t drink them! And for the sake of whatever dear lord you pray to, do not get behind the wheel of car if you even have an inkling of hesitation. Cops are out, I imagine DUI’s suck, and tragedy and/or vehicular manslaughter is no way anyone wants to remember the holidays.
The Morning After (you don’t think I’d end on a dour note, do you?)
It begins with the walk of shame past the bathroom mirror. Perhaps the food baby has already taken root. If you ate a bunch of food, well duh! You might even feel like a rumbling pile of intestinal crud. Hey, I didn’t say trudging down the path of over indulgence would be consequence free. How you approach these next few days is what truly matters. For one, don’t starve yourself the next day. A day of eating a little more than usual is not going to do long term harm. Just eat simply. Fill yourself with fruits, berries, veggies, water, tea, and try to stay away from heavy things like bread and meat. If you are already a lover of the flax seed then add an extra tablespoon to your daily regiment, as it is a very mild, natural laxative. Go about your life as usual. If you normally work out then maybe throw in 20 more crunches or an sprint or two if you’re a runner. There’s no need to go overboard. I guarantee you that within a day or two your body will be fine and you’ll be proud of yourself for smoothly navigating the holiday season.