10 Ways To Control The Carnage Of Christmas
How to mitigate festive weight gain and alcohol-related embarrassment.
Getting in a horrendous “festive” season mess is not compulsory or inevitable – it’s entirely up to you. The traditional temptations will be as strong as ever this year, but the following tips will help you outclass the chaos, should you want to. Good luck!
1. Pace, Don’t Race
The bar is not going to run out – don’t drink like it is. A pint of beer has 200 calories, a mojito has 240, a vodka/gin and tonic has 110 calories, so be aware of what you’re putting away. The morning after, take an ibuprofen for a throbbing head, rehydration sachets to replace the depleted salts and minerals and eat fatty acids to break down the alcohol. For breakfast try eggs fried in coconut oil.
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2. Beware The Buffet
Avoid anything in pastry or deep fried and be cautious with dips, which can be hugely calorific. Go for things like smoked salmon, prawns, chicken and veg crudités. On the big day, bacon-wrapped chipolatas, pre-meal nibbles, nuts and liqueurs add hundreds of extra calories. Mince pies aren’t too bad, but adding brandy butter or cream doubles calories.
3. Switch Hands And Eat Less
The key to avoiding mindless eating is switching from ‘autopilot’ to ‘manual’. Eating with the opposite hand for an evening disrupts routine of eating and sharpens awareness. Sneaky!
4. Don’t Dodge The Party, But Leave Early
People notice absence, not that you didn’t stay late. Make an effort to go to work events – even just for 30 minutes. Someone has gone to a lot of effort to organise it and it’s a thank you for your hard work. Socialise, smile and exit by saying you’ve really enjoyed it and wish them a good night – not excusing or explaining your early departure emits confidence.
5. Don’t Give In To A “Pusher”
When you reach your comfortable limit and a friend offers you another drink, simply say, ‘No thank you, I’ve noticed more than X drinks makes me feel Y (jittery/anxious/paranoid) the next day. Smile and move the conversation along. Also, most people don’t question abstinence that’s related to mental health.
6. Run This Town
On Christmas Day you’re either hungover or about to over-eat. Either way, a slow and steady 5km run is the perfect tonic. If you want to stay inside, do some strength work, such as three sets of as many press ups as you can – it’s a great way to perk you up.
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7. Hone In On Festive Fitness
A great way to motivate yourself to get out there and keep training is to sign up to Christmas or winter-themed events. Think Santa Run, The Reindeer 10K or Santa Dash. If you’re brave, hit one of London’s lidos on Boxing Day or New Year’s Day, too.
8. Lining Your Stomach Is A Thing
Scottish scientists gave people vodka and orange on three occasions. The first time they’d been fasting for six hours, the next they ate a bag of crisps before drinking and the third time they had a chicken sandwich and chips. Eating crisps didn’t make a huge difference, but after a proper meal, their blood alcohol content was only about 65 to 70% of what it was after fasting.
9. Pace Yourself With The Slowest Eater
The quicker you shovel in the grub, the less time you give your body to register fullness. It takes about 20 minutes for those messages to get through, so pace yourself in line with the slowest person there (drunk Uncle Brian, a small child). That way you won’t overtake your body’s fullness signals.
10. Set A Drinks Limit
You know yourself best: just two drinks may be one too many, so set yourself a limit. A free bar isn’t a green light to drink yourself to oblivion.