The holidays are a great time of the year! Everyone’s happy, spirited and positive. Laughter, cheer and a whole lot of commercialism. There is also food. Lots and lots of food and almost ALL of the foods are sugary, sweet and rich and just really very delicious. Here you are, working real hard to maintain discipline in eating and exercising and the next minute you are binge-eating soft chocolate cupcakes drizzled with honey and cheesecake and you know the rest.
Well, if you think this is your own personal torture, wrong.
It’s *everyone’s* personal nightmare. Some speak up, some murmur and then some just silently swallow it all, along with that above-mentioned sugar heavy evil cupcake. What hit me over the past few months was that it need not all be dreary and gloomy and that this can be controlled to a large extent.
Notice I said “control” – I am never in favor of complete withdrawal or denial. One must have that cookie and sugar and all things bad every now and then. What’s the point of living if we lived in denial? The more you deny your body (and mind) something, the more it would crave it. The idea is MODERATION and to be wise and smart about what you eat and when.
Here are some things that worked for me, with moderate success. Sharing it, so you may use some or all of it to help you tide through the season with as much less damage to your body as possible.
So if you do feel like exercising your will power, then here are some pointers:
Eat Before You Party
Am not even kidding! Don’t laugh.
Some of us moms know this all too well. Moms of toddlers have historically fed their tiny ones some usual easy food at home BEFORE they leave for the party/social event. Apart from the reason that the kid would or may not eat the very adult spicy food at the party and dinner’s invariably late anyway, the other untold secret reason is that the toddler is fed and happy and will go about entertaining themselves NOT hungry, and so the adults can enjoy their time in peace.
Same logic. Eat before you leave. Eat a little (or completely) so you don’t land at the place stark raving hungry and grab a fistful of nachos and cheese dip or those deep fried spring rolls. Eating ahead will help quell hunger and also keep your sugar levels stable, and that’s one way to avoid binge.
Fill With Protein And Fat
So, what should you be eating? A bowl of rice or a sandwich? Maybe. But is it the best food that will serve its purpose? Maybe not.
Protein or fat will sit longer in your tummy compared to carbs, and will also save you from those cravings that will send you straight to binge. So think snacks that will at least partially fill you. So if not for an 80% filling meal, at least something that will go halfway, like:
- Protein Shake
- Cheese cubes/slices and crackers
- Glass of milk in some form
Once you are at the gathering and are now at a point when you have to start nibbling,(I didn’t say binge) think green. Start from the least cooked to the most cooked. So, head to the salad bar and pick up vegetables and dip. Then the cheese. Then the fruits and then the rolls of canapes or spring rolls and such.
Fill at least half your plate with greens. They are full of fiber and will fill you plenty. Also, less sugar and so the crash isn’t that huge. Cheese is good for you, and so are the fruits. The tropical ones have more sugar(aka glucose), so do some studying. Here’s a handy searchable list – It’s not necessarily the calories as much as the glucose that’s the one you want to watch.
You’ve heard this before. Drink a glass of water before you start eating. Fills the space in your tummy to an extent at least. Water also will help with digestion and keep you more grounded when you do want to spirit 🙂
Of course, we want to have a drink or two (or more) – these are the holidays after all, and there is so much of it flowing all around us, AND we like it, so absolutely! Choose your drinks wisely. The higher the carbs, the harder the rebound from the party. Here’s an article/list with what are “good” alcohols and the “not so good” ones. No alcohol is bad 🙂
Vodka (whiskey, Gin, Rum) has no calories while Beer (and cocktails) has the most. Here’s a quick guide and calorie calculator for alcohols to figure out how much of what you can consume and if it will fit into your plan. ..and to think I could binge drink pina colada (490 calories thank you very much) at one point. Sigh.
Being Emotionally Stable:
The holidays play a number on our emotions. All the happiness, the gifting, the commercialism, the continuous visuals of family, cheer and hugs and kisses, it descends upon us like a thick fog, and sometimes they overflow tilting us into the other darker side. Makes us miss folks who once were part of our lives, yearn for things that may not be, and creates a vacuum we never knew existed.
Staying stable is simple.
As simple as working out as religious and as frequent as you can. There is enough research to prove that getting your heart rate up for 20 minutes thrice a week helps to keep the endorphin kicking and steadily streaming through your body and mind. Staying stable through exercise and even meditation has a positive effect on our habits is vastly underrated.
Do your bit, it’s the ground work for a stable firm base on which the need to binge (eat, drink, sleep) is built. Binging is really our body’s need to compensate for whatever else that we are lacking, and exercise and calming practices restore us back to a reset.
The Path Left Behind:
There’s some fair amount of prep work before we even land at the holidays to help you make wise choices in what you consume (and not binge eat). It’s about disciple and allowing your body and mind to grow to strengthen itself, and that strengthening happens over time. Regardless of how fit you are or what size you are, or not (no one really cares about us, our health or our size as much as we care about ourselves), being conscious and mindful of the effects of food and drink on our body will serve us well.
Yes, we will all die one day.
No, it isn’t meant to be morose, but it’s the unavoidable truth.
Being fit, making singular hard choices with respect to what you will not eat and what you will have in moderation is NOT about stalling death. It is about living well. It is about your everydays. It is about enjoying what the day brings you and you greeting each day with as much strength and positivity and happiness as you can.
Sometimes the best-laid plans go awry. So despite what you do and prep in your head and you still go completely berserk at the party, IT’S OKAY! Really. It’s one meal. Beat yourself up just a wee bit and stay positive, and get back on track the next morning.
It’s not whether you fell that matters, as long as you are able to climb back on and hold on, and this time a wee bit longer than the last.