Christmas eating and drinking strategy

Eat and Drink Smart This Christmas

Do you start off with good intentions, then find yourself eating and drinking everything in sight ‘because it’s Christmas’ – and regret it as soon as you step on the scale in January?

December is no time for diets or deprivation – you deserve to enjoy yourself! But how can you find the happy balance between indulgence and self discipline?

It’s all about having a clear plan.

Your eat smart strategy

Decide what’s strictly off limits – bread, cakes, cheese, chocolate, liqueurs? Write it down and put it where you can see it. Tell your family and friends if you want added accountability.

Identify which treats you’ll allow yourself and in what quantity. Got a sweet tooth? Savour one really luscious mince pie, split dessert or just have a mouthful of someone else’s. Can’t resist the cheese board? Allow yourself a small taste of each one with a couple of crackers and don’t go back for more.

Fix your festive feeding days. Use the 80/20 rule – eat healthily 80% of the time and have pretty much what you like the other 20%. Or check your social calendar for the week – pick two days to tuck in, then eat sensibly the remaining five. (A couple of days of overeating isn’t a disaster – but daily pigging out will leave you with some real work to do in January.)

Watch out for portion distortion – you don’t need to pile your plate sky high. If you go back for seconds go heavy on the veg. While you’re at it, eat slowly and mindfully – you’ll be less likely to overeat. If you’re hosting, send leftovers home with friends or family.

Heading out to a cocktail party? Eat a healthy snack before you leave home and just say ‘no’ to canapés. Move away from the buffet table. Enjoy a calorie-free conversation with friends instead.

Your drink smart strategy

Tempting as it is to enjoy a glass of bubbly while you’re getting ready, resist. Better to nibble on a heart healthy fat and protein snack. It’ll stabilise your blood sugar and prevent the alcohol being absorbed into your bloodstream too quickly.

Try a handful of nuts, a few slices of chicken, an oatcake with humous washed down with a glass of water. It also means you won’t walk into the party parched and knocking back the first available drink.

Alcohol lowers resistance. A couple of  drinks and you’ll be tucking into those cocktail sausages like there’s no tomorrow. You don’t have to go all-out at every invitation. Decide which you want to be your BIG nights out and be the designated driver for the rest.

If it’s a drinking night, remember that alcohol is second to fat for high calories. See your tipple as a glass of liquid fat (which essentially it is) – it’ll help keep things under control.

The smartest choices are red or white wine, or a clear spirit (vodka is the cleanest) mixed with diet tonic, light cranberry juice or fresh lime and soda. Keep it simple and stay loyal to one type of drink. Pace yourself – one drink an hour max is a good rule of thumb. Do your best to alternate drinks with a glass of water. Channel Cinderella and stop drinking at midnight.

Mixing drinks is never smart and will make you want to puke the next day. Avoid flavoured syrups and full fat mixers like the plague. Use energy drinks as mixers at your peril. Never drink through a straw.

Repeat after me: I will not do shots. 

Drink a huge glass of water before bed and take a milk thistle supplement which helps shift the alcohol out of your body. Take another huge glass of water with you.

If it all went pear-shaped…

The reason for your hideous hangover symptoms is dehydration. And because alcohol makes you pee more, you also lose key vitamins and minerals – most notably vitamins B and C.

The bad news is that the hangover won’t stop till the alcohol is out of your system, but here’s a few suggestions to ease your suffering:

Berocca – will put back the lost vitamin B. You could also try taking this or a sachet of vitamin C before you start drinking.

Spriteproven to be the number one hangover cure (who knew?), the bubbles will help you feel less nauseous and the sugar/caffeine combo will give you a lift.  

Bananas – replace lost potassium and as a natural antacid can help settle a queasy stomach. If you can face it banana on brown toast with peanut butter (vitamin B again) for a double whammy.

A warm bath – helps sweat out the toxins.

And I know you won’t want to hear this, but exercise will boost your metabolism – helping your body detox quicker. Maybe not the Insanity Workout but perhaps you could manage a yoga class or a walk in the great outdoors?

Write down your eating and drinking goals and review them regularly.  If you fall off the wagon, don’t think ‘oh well, I’ve blown it anyway’ and carry on. It’s so much easier to put on weight than to take it off again. Start each day fresh with renewed motivation!

Here’s your go-to mantra in times of temptation: ‘Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.’

Want some accountability for your Christmas eating or drinking strategy? Come and join Project WE! We’ll hold you to it.   

Every year I send out this My Dream December 2-page worksheet to my lovely newsletter subscribers and every year I get so many heart-felt thank you’s. This tool helps you to identify what really matters to you over the holiday season. It’s my free gift to you!

Christmas planning

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  1. Yvonne Stahlie on December 10, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    I repeat after you.

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on December 11, 2013 at 9:17 PM

      ok Yvonne – you’ve publicly declared your intention! We’re holding you to it 😉

  2. Stacey on December 11, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    I like the 80/20 rule. I really try not to overdo it around the holidays because I absolutely hate how I feel when I eat too much sugar! But, I like to taste all the goodies, so I just try to keep it to a minimum! Great post!

    • Suzie Shpaizer on December 12, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      With you there Stacey! Let’s both be accountable for sticking to the 80:20 rule this Christmas!

  3. Pam on December 12, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    Chocolate is my downfall. I will try to remember the 80:20 rule next weekend when I’m at my friend’s Sweet Treat Exchange. What was it, again – 80% chocolate and 20% wine?

    • Suzie Shpaizer on December 13, 2013 at 11:18 AM

      Ha ha – I wish! I guess moderation in all things might need to kick in there instead Pam!

  4. Adi Maor Siso on December 12, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    I think the best part of this post is the mantra:
    ‘Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.’

    So true and something I can take with me all year long! Thanks for that!

    • Suzie Shpaizer on December 13, 2013 at 11:22 AM

      Thanks Adi – it’s a good one isn’t it? (Even though I say so myself

  5. Clare Greig on December 13, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    Ooh this is very good advice.
    I also love – I WILL NOT DO SHOTS. So funny…

    Everything in moderation is my big motto, however not SHOTS, not now, not at xmas, not ever.
    Great post. thanks so much for all your great content.

    • Jana on December 13, 2013 at 3:17 AM

      Love this girls!

      Okay so I don’t really drink, because I’m breast feeding. But I’m pretty hyperactive as it is so I’ve inadvertently given it up and enjoying the hangover less Sundays. Maybe ill have a champers on Xmas day.

      The 80:20 rule is my food motto too.

      I eat 100% well at home and when I’m out I don’t hold back. It gives me a full license to enjoy the festive feasts.

      I like how you have recovery suggestions in case everything goes pear shaped!!

      I like to drink water until I physically can not stomach anymore, I love the flushy feeling that gives me almost immediately 🙂

      Great tips as always.

      Lotsa love Jana xx

      • Suzie Shpaizer on December 13, 2013 at 11:28 AM

        Thanks Jana! The 80:20 is a keeper isn’t it? Having permission to go all out some days makes it much easier to stay on the straight and narrow the rest of the time. Enjoy a wonderful hangover free Christmas!

    • Suzie Shpaizer on December 13, 2013 at 11:25 AM

      You’re very welcome Clare. Agreed on the shots – NEVER a good idea (not even in moderation!)

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on December 13, 2013 at 9:38 PM

      Given I received a tequila belt complete with 8 shot glasses from Suzie, you kinda know where I stand on the shots….. ‘)

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