With the last two years we’ve had, and the chance many of us will be having a ball with loved ones this Christmas, a Bedford personal trainer has said there’s no need to feel guilty if you have a splurge over the festive season.
Personal trainer, Suki Fhalora say at this time of year people do tend to write December off when it comes to managing their diet and will allow themselves to eat and drink whatever they want, leaving consequences until January.
However, Suki says It doesn’t have to be this way and you don’t need to overly restrict yourself, even if you are more conscious of your food choices.
Speaking to the Bedford Independent, Suki had these top tips for guilt-free festive food:
- Don’t wait until Christmas Eve to start enjoying those festive foods. Allow yourself to eat them as early as you like. Start eating the pates, selection of cheeses, mince pies and tins of quality street now, if you’re enjoying them regularly, you’re less likely to overeat on those foods because you haven’t saved them all up to have on or around Christmas.
- Honour your hunger and fullness signals, stop when you’re full and pause for 10 minutes before going for seconds. This gives your brain time to register your satiety levels. Eat slowly and really taste your food, put your fork and knife down after each mouthful, you’ll be more aware of the textures, flavours and smells and you’ll enjoy your meal so much more.
- You’ll always have people trying to push you to eat and drink, “it’s Christmas, go on”, “just have one more.” Set yourself some boundaries. You don’t have to say yes if you don’t want to. Don’t feel pressurised to overconsume just because everyone else is. By saying no to others, you’ll have more control over your own actions, and you’ll behave in a way that is better serving your needs.
- Alcohol calories can rack up pretty quickly and if you are choosing to drink, try and limit the Bailey’s and sugary cocktails and instead opt for lower-calorie options such as slimline/diet mixers for spirits, wine, or Prosecco/Champagne and lighter beers.
- Drink water in between alcoholic drinks too, not only will this slow down your consumption, but you’ll also keep yourself hydrated. Most of all, be careful of those extra nibbles we tend to consume when we have a drink in hand, those handful of nuts and crisps are such an easy way to overeat.
- If you have a special dinner planned, don’t skip meals throughout the day. The last thing you want to be doing is turn up to a restaurant ready to chew your hand off. You’re more likely to overeat and make poorer food choices. Instead, opt for a higher protein breakfast and lunch and include a small snack before you go out, a simple protein yoghurt with some berries will curb your hunger so when it is time to order, you won’t feel like diving in headfirst into the sharing board and then continuing with a starter, main and pudding.
- Don’t weigh yourself on Boxing Day and punish yourself for what you ate. Your scale weight fluctuates depending on everything from how much you’ve eaten the previous day, to more carbohydrates increasing water retention, from whether you’ve been to the toilet to your hormones/menstrual cycle. You won’t have put on 5lbs of fat, just because your scales say so, most would find it near enough impossible to consume the number of calories needed to gain that amount of fat in one day.
Suki says, most importantly, we should enjoy the festive period and don’t deprive ourselves of the foods we enjoy, but she says we need to change the narrative.
“You don’t need to feel so full you’re ready to burst,” she says. “You don’t need to drink alcohol every day to be sociable. You don’t need to feel ashamed because you’re saying no because you genuinely don’t want something.
“A sign of a good time isn’t about how much you ate and drank. It’s about the memories you made, and time spent with loved ones.
“Enjoy this time to celebrate with friends and family, just be more mindful and listen to your own body, and even if you do find come January you have gained a few pounds, it really isn’t the end of the world, fat gain is not fixed and is absolutely changeable.”