13 December 2011
Well, I never was a boy scout (for some fairly self-evident anatomical reasons) but, these days, I do believe in 'being prepared'!
In the bad old days, this joyous season would begin and, well in advance of any actual event, my inner child would excitedly plan what she was going to be able eat, and drink, and treat herself with, and induldge in. She looked forward to all the foodie delights she could imagine (oooh - crisps, little savoury pies, sherry, mixed nuts and a whole tin of Quality Street to nibble - wheeee!). She'd also very carefully avoid even the slightest consideration of potential horrors to come in the New Year, when the scales reported just how enthusiastically she'd embraced the festivities. After all, this was Christmas!
Not any longer! I've finally learned that the 'moment on the lips, lifetime on the hips' statement can and does apply to me too, not just to a nebulous 'someone else'. I also keep reminding myself of just how hard I've had to work to claw my way down to my current weight from my previous unhappy obesity.
So, before the season gets fully under way, a Baldrick-style cunning plan is required, and it has to have several components...
First is that whole 'awareness' thing.
It's oh so important to really 'think' about what is on offer. Whatever it is, what might the benefits of consuming it be? They might be nutritional I guess, but more often they can be social - fitting in with a peer group, e.g. workmates, can be pretty important. But.... don't forget - 'social compliance' can still be achieved, you can just choose your own terms.
Benefits are only one thing though, The other side of the golden foil-wrapped chocolate coin is the downside. So, cultivating a keen awareness of just how many calories there can be in the usual Christmas offerings can really help. An example - that single 'small mince pie' can deliver a whopping 260 calories! (some of these derive from up to 40g of sugars.and nearly 9g of fat)... and that's before we even get to the brandy butter! And as to some of the other common seasonal specialities - be prepared ahead of time. Look 'em up.
Then there's excuses, excuses! With those downsides in mind, I also get my 'oh, no I couldn't' phrases off-pat and well practiced in advance. It's so much easier that way than getting caught on the hop, completely unprepared. The little excuses can vary, from 'oh how lovely, but I've only just eaten' to 'I'd love to join you in a glass, but I'm driving', to... well, I'm sure you can come up with a few more.
So you find that you can't avoid an event based around food? Well, another thing I try to do, when I know about it in advance, is to reduce the temptation to stuff by not arriving at Christmas 'do's hungry. An apple and a glass of water about half an hour before I set off can reap rewards!
Then, once I set eyes upon the tasty treats on offer at the inevitable buffet, I employ another little strategy. I try to pile up my plate with the veggie decorations (e.g. salad leaves) first, to leave less room for the calorific stuff. There's no need to refuse absolutely everything but, for keeping those portions well under control, this is a big, big help.
And if, like this week, it happens to be a sit down multi-course meal, I'll adjust what I eat for the rest of the day (or days either side). A smaller breakfast and minimalist lunch, and a brisk walk wherever possible, will all help a bit.
This one's not the easiest thing for me to do but... socialising a lot and engaging in witty conversation to keep my mouth and brain occupied, and to cut down the available time for indulging myself, is on the cards too. Dance, if there's a chance to do so, fat lass. Enjoy that party in a positive way. This is not a time to sit in the corner and act the wallflower.
Something I've been told but not consciously tried out yet (although this week will see the trial!), is to wear something which is just on the fringes of uncomfortably tight around the middle. That way you should be less inclined to fill your tummy with unnecessary food and drink and less likely to sit down and munch (keeping moving, even if just a little, is a good thing). To this end, I'll be wearing a velvet dress with a closely-fitting boned (not stretchy!) bodice later this week.
So the season will be jolly and I'll still enjoy it. I won't go mad and I will try to help myself wherever I can. This January (unlike some previous ones) may not see the screams and howls of absolute horror when I step onto the dreaded scale, but if I do still put on a pound or two, so be it. One thing I do know now - I'm quite determined that it won't stay there for long!