“…four mince pies, three double gins, two kilos on and a tight skirt that won’t do up at all“….

I’m sitting here like a lemon chanting that to make sure the syllables fit.  But it’s a song we’re all in danger of singing. Here, my lovely friends, are the 5 golden traps of Christmas and how to avoid them.

Weighing yourself.  Not something I’m an advocate of generally and certainly not as a gauge of fat-loss or gain.  Picture this: As is perfectly normal over the festive period, you’ve quaffed and scoffed your way through numerous social events and now you’re stripped to your undies, staring the scales in the face.  A rise of 2kg (4.4 lbs). Fret ye not.  Most is it is likely to be fluid rather than fat.  You’ve overdone the carbs and any over-supply is stored in the body with water, so that’s why you feel a bit soft. Spend a couple of days eating minimally on protein and vegetables and water.  Your bloated tummy will settle, your ankles will deflate and you’ll be ready for another round of margaritas before you know it.

Abandoning your exercise regime.  It’s a time when you will most need the vitality, energy and mental benefit of a puff and a sweat, never mind getting credit in the calorie bank.  And just because you’ve missed all your gym sessions last week, it doesn’t justify a “b@llocks, I’ll start back in January” attitude.  Don’t let a lapse become a landslide.  Drag house guests to the park for a hearty hike or jog or, if it’s chucking it down, suggest a Joe Wicks or an Annie Deadman short 15 minute online workout (youtube.com/anniedeadman). It’ll raise your spirits, your heart-rate and your credibility.   Movement and exertion mean a happy mind and a decent night’s sleep.

Existing on a diet of alcohol. It’s what Christmas is all about, right? Every reunion, catch-up, chance meeting (depending on your tier level ) means another little snifter and a treat-y snack. Alcohol is a prime driver of weight gain (1 x 250ml glass of white wine is about 220 calories…and who stops at one?) but it also has a wonderful dumbing effect on your resolve and resistance .Those tasty little bags of …hic…sugary/salty/carby thingys which you …hic…never eat because you’re a saint but which now taste …hic…like heaven.  If an evening of table dancing with your bubble is planned, then stick to low carbohydrate drinks like vodka and gin with a pint-of-water-chaser.(“God, you’re dull Deadman”).

Eating for another reason other than hunger. And we can drum up any number of these, can’t we? Trivial or insignificant, they will seem monumental at the time especially given the amount of booze and sugar in your blood 1) Your mum won’t wear a hearing aid.  2) You’ve just found out your daughter’s boyfriend is vegan. 3) You didn’t get the end-of-year bonus.  4) Your (male) colleague did. 5) Your husband has done the Boxing Day quiz and the questions are all football and fishing.  Stress…delight…agitation…panic…fatigue…there are any number of reasons why we reach for comfort foods and a nutritionally balanced portion of walnuts and pumpkin seeds doesn’t quite cut it. Food doesn’t cure a problem and the knack is knowing that.  So if you’re trying to find a solution in the fridge, walk away head held high.  If you have to have those treat foods in the house, then try hiding the leftovers. A family bag of Minstrels doesn’t feel quite so tempting in the loft.

Letting it get the better of you. Don’t be caught on the hoof with your good intentions being crushed. Instead, you could denounce your usual regular worship at the health and wellness altar for a couple of weeks and simply go with the festive flow.  Cutting yourself some well-earned slack is more likely to mean that by the time you arrive at January, your mental health is in decent shape and your motivation high.  Sisters, we have an amazing year ahead of us.


(Originally written for Woman & Home magazine, appearing in the December 2020 issue)

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