Christmas Guide

Let’s face it – there is nothing festive about guilt when we over indulge over Christmas. With a little planning you can enjoy the feast and celebration but without an ounce of regret.

Wouldn’t you love to go through Christmas this year with a deep sense of contentment? “Yes!” I hear you say, “But how do I do it?” I hear you cry.

Imagine it is Christmas day and it is your turn to cook the dinner. Your family want the traditional meal and no corners cut. You are now in a panic, what if the meal turns out to be a flop because I burn the potatoes, or even worse forget to light the cooker. Then I have to eat all this food, the starter, and the turkey with all the trimmings, the Christmas pudding with flaming brandy and brandy sauce or butter. Then there are all the chocolates and nuts while watching television. Then we start again with a meal in the evening. Can you see yourself surrounded by all this food, everybody eating without a care in the world. They forget the hard work that you have put into it, and to make things worse you can see those 10 lbs going on that you have worked so hard to lose.

The secret to a great Christmas is to take the focus off the feast and celebrate the spirit of the season. For starters, stop fretting about the meal. You may say but I am going away and someone else is doing the cooking what if it is high in fat? Indulge it and enjoy without feeling guilty. Remember you are in control of what you eat.

The potatoes are swimming in fat, make a choice have one only. Fill up your plate with good healthy vegetables. Take the turkey but leave the skin behind. You eat a lot of vegetables, which have been boiled or steamed, so you are quite full. When the pudding comes around you are almost full. Tell your host it looks delicious but to really appreciate it I will only have a small portion because anything else will make me too full and that would spoil the taste of what you have made. Make sure you don’t sit watching television with your hands in the nuts or chocolates. If there is fruit around then say that looks good and have some to eat, you might be surprised at how many people will join you.

Another trick is if you have a coffee table where the chocolates or nuts are normally kept then move them into the kitchen or another place. Put attractive bowls of fruit in front of people instead. I have found that people will eat what is in front of them, but they will think twice about walking to another room for chocolates.

Christmas is a time for all the family and that includes you. Make sure you have some time on your own. It doesn’t matter if dinner is served 10 mins late. You will find your family will appreciate having you stress-free rather than snapping at everybody, because of the pressure of the day. Now you will do the following.

When you get up you will have 10 mins for yourself. Go and have a bath and lock the door. Use some wonderful fragrances and relax. If you can’t do this tell the family in advance. 10 mins for me and then you can have me for the rest of the day. Get a cup of tea or coffee and sit quietly, reflect on the wonderful things in your life. Take this time to ring a dear friend who you know you wont see on the day. Just chat and relax. If the family want to pamper you let them, and that includes breakfast. Under no circumstance are you allowed to skip this meal.

You might want to eat less so you can use your calories later in the day, but you must eat something. Let them bring you a boiled egg and toast, with a cup of tea or coffee, and some fresh fruit. It is Christmas buy some exotic fruits and make a fruit salad and squeeze a fresh orange over it. You have the perfect excuse for a light breakfast in that you will be having a large meal later.

You are about to make dinner and the last thing you want is to feel stress. You need to enjoy the day like the rest of the family. Put on some nice music, light a candle in the kitchen, even take a small glass of wine. Relax is the key. Get the turkey into the oven and do as much preparation as you dare. Timing is everything. If you are not sure when to eat, ask the family. If you need help then make sure you ask the family to give you a hand. If you eat in the evening, then make sure you have a light lunch, some soup, French bread and fresh fruit. Arrange exotic fruits on a platter so people can munch away.

Now you take control either before the meal or afterwards and you say it is time for a walk. Turn on the video so they don’t miss anything, wrap up warm and go for a walk. If you can get into the countryside then go. It is never too cold to walk, you just wrap up well. There is something wonderful about feeling that cool breeze on your face.

The table needs to be set and maybe someone is artistic in the family, get them to do it. Children love to help, don’t be concerned if they do it the wrong way, encourage them. If you have younger children and are having a house full. Let them write place settings, it doesn’t matter if the names are spelt wrong. Get one of the older children to answer the door and greet people. They will feel so proud to do this, and they can also make sure the person has something to drink.

Now is the time to sit and eat the meal that you have lovingly prepared. No you will not feel guilty about it, be thankful for everything that is before you. You have tried to make it as low-fat as possible. Yes you might eat more calories than you would have liked, but no you will not feel guilty. It is one day, tomorrow you are back on plan. If you plan carefully then you will not get it wrong. You will know what is on the menu, so you will shop accordingly. You will know what each meal is going to be.

Now I can feel some of you saying, my family always have a certain meal because it is the tradition of our home. They wouldn’t appreciate me doing something different.

My answer is that a tradition was always started by someone. It hasn’t been a tradition from eternity. Someone started it and it continued. Imagine you do something different this year and your family love it. Keep imagining that you are now sitting with your children and their children having Christmas in their home. How will you feel when one of your children says we do this because Mom did it for us. She started this tradition and we love it so much that we have continued it for the past 20 years. I broke our family traditions many years ago, but replace the old with tasty foods that nobody complained about. You can do the same. Take time to be bold this year and decide that Christmas is going to be healthy for all the family. They will thank you for it in the long run. How many of us blame our bad eating habits on our parents. By keeping to these traditions you are setting yourself up for your children to blame you for their bad eating habits. By starting new traditions of eating you are setting your children up to be healthy and not have a weight problem.

This is one Christmas gift you can all give to your family. Can you afford not to do it?

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