December 16, 2015

With just one week until Christmas, most of us are frantically finishing the work year, braving the shopping centre, surviving on too little sleep, and over-indulging at any number of social functions. Coping with the treats and temptations of the season can be hard, but you’re not doomed to fail.

With time being so over-committed, it is essential to be organised in all areas of your life. Just as all your social events will be in your diary and gifts on your list, use a similar system to plan your meals and grocery shopping. Stick to the guidelines you follow for the rest of the year and you’ll find that coming through to the other side after the silly season will be a lot less painful.

Part of your planning includes whether you’ll allow yourself an indulgence and, if so, how many or how often. Planning for indulgences includes planning for the consequences – and accepting them.

You might decide that you’re going to enjoy a slice of plum pudding with brandy custard on Christmas Day. This is perfectly fine if, and only if, you’re realistic about the results. Will it cause bloating? Will it stall your weight loss? Will you feel guilty? Will it de-rail the rest of your plan? Will it cause you to go “What the heck, I may as well eat the shortbread and lollies and everything else. I can never stick to a diet.”?

If the answer to any of these questions is Yes, how do you feel about that? You might be happy to put up with the bloat or the weight or the guilt simply because eating the pudding was worth it. If this is true, then go ahead and enjoy the pudding. There is nothing wrong with doing that.

If you’re not happy with the likely consequences, then of course your planning will need to be different. Knowing in advance that the negative outcomes will be upsetting means you can plan your food while still enjoying the event.

In place of plum pudding, perhaps you could go for a fresh fruit salad, or a raw cheesecake slice, or even try a gluten-free plum pudding recipe instead. Perhaps you could just plan on saying “No thanks, I’m full.” It depends on your taste preferences, family traditions, and how you feel about making a substitution.

There is no right or wrong answer. Plan ahead and do what seems right for you.

It may be that your plan is perfect and actually adds to the enjoyment of the event. If not, work out what went wrong and try a different plan for next time.

It’s Christmas, so relax and enjoy and do the best you can. Keep in mind that you make your own choices and so once Christmas is over, get back to making the choices that will help you achieve your goals.

Have a lovely festive season.