Wednesday, 14 December 2016

4 Tips To Enjoying Your Christmas Without Food Guilt!

With Christmas literally just around the corner it can be a daunting and stressful time for those of us trying our best not to go off the food rails. With all the festive cheer and boozy nights comes much temptation and trying to stay "healthy" is basically impossible. And do you know what? Why should we? I am a firm believer in enjoying yourself at Christmas, and after all if you can't enjoy this time of year without food guilt what is the point?!

However it could be easy to completely go off the rails and consume your body weight in chocolate over the holidays which definitely isn't a good idea either! Balance is key over this period and learning how to enjoy a few extra treats without going absolutely crazy is what I recommend.

But where to start!? Do not despair! Help is at hand! Here are my tips for keeping your Christmas as healthy as possible without putting a complete dampener on your festivities. 

1. Christmas Is Actually Just One Day! 
First things first - Christmas is not a month long blow out and excuse to eat everything in sight while murmuring "Feck it, its Christmas" between each mince pie filled mouthful. Whatever we may convince ourselves of, and no matter how much we are sucked into the marketing, Christmas itself is only one day! By keeping this in mind we can limit the damage we inflict on ourselves! Of course this is a time of a little more indulgence and treats - we all deserve a little bit of fun at Christmas time. The important thing is not to get sucked in too early or you could find yourself on a massive food binge with nothing to show for it except a larger muffin top and bad indigestion. 

Tip: Limit your indulgences to the weekends and adopt an 80/20 approach. Keep most of your food as healthy as you can with room for one or two treats thrown in too.  I like to try and keep my main meals as "on plan" as possible which allows me to then choose to have a treat or two in between. If you know you have a party approaching keep things as clean and good as possible in the run up to it, avoid the bread basket, keep your starter and main as healthy as possible and have a nice dessert as a treat. By keeping it mostly healthy at these events you will limit the damage while still enjoying yourself. I also limit alcohol to weekends (something I do year round anyway) so as to limit the alcohol indulgences too!

2. Fail To Prepare, and Yule Prepare To Fail 
If healthy eating is something you are passionate about you are aware that conventional food doesn't always meet our nutrition needs. Parties can be one area where we are forgotten about with little to choose from except maybe some salad options and cold meats (if we are lucky!) 

Tip: One way to avoid making a bee-line for the mince pies is to bring something along to the party that we can definitely eat. Pack a tray of roasted sweet potatoes or a pot of delicious curry and you will be fully prepared for the party food. Your host won't mind and it might even create a conversation starter to encourage others to our way of eating! 

3. Plan Where You Will Indulge And Stick To It
The worst thing you can do on Christmas day is approach it with a plan to eat all in sight without consequence. Sure we all want to enjoy our day. We all want to take part in the family traditions and feel that we can have the treats we always associate with Christmas. But we should not go overboard. Apart from anything else there is no need to go crazy binging on foods like we can never eat again. There will still be plenty of food left the next day and the next! Secondly, too much sugar will lead to a greater chance of developing a nasty cold as it weakens our immunity. 

Tip: Decide what areas you will indulgenge in. For example maybe your pancake breakfast is one area and tradition you are not willing to miss, but maybe you will choose to skip dessert after dinner. Who really has space for dessert anyway? Maybe you can't wait to have some stuffing with your turkey but you will skip the gravy and have butter on your vegetables instead. Choose wisely and you won't even feel like you are missing out! 

4. One Day Of Indulgence Wont Screw Up Your Goals 
One day of eating a little outside the healthy eating box is not going to destroy all of your goals (unless of course you are trying to cure your gut for health reasons, in which case it may set you back a little). 
As long as you do not go crazy for weeks at a time (see point above!) one day of eating a little off plan is not going to send you back to the beginning of your health journey (however long that may be). 

Tip: Enjoy the day itself without going too crazy and take up your healthy eating ways the following day. 

It goes without saying that you should enjoy your day with your family. Stressing too much about what you should and shouldn't eat will not a happy Christmas make! Whatever decisions you make with your eating, make your peace with it, do not have regrets and remember the New Year will be a great chance to kick start your health for the future.

And if you DO over react, remember you can reset and get back on track in the New Year by signing up to my 30 Day Paleo Challenge! Sign up here >>>>

Wishing you all a Happy and Peaceful Christmas,