Now that Christmas is almost here, have you planned ahead on how you are going to most enjoy the day?
Having been a little bit strict with what I eat and drink in December (just a little, not completely strict, that way it's do-able for the long term), I also plan to not let myself go completely on Christmas day. I have a plan for what I will consume, and while this sounds a bit Bah Humbug, I know I will be happier both during (looking chic) and after (feeling chic and slim).
Something as simple as deciding what you will do beforehand makes it surprisingly easy to resist temptation later on.
For example, I know that sugar makes me feel horrible after I have it and I often end up with a sinusitis headache (which lasts 2-3 days or even more) if I've eaten lots of sugar in one go. You’d think I would learn, and perhaps I am now.
I’m not talking about natural sugars here. I have fresh fruit every day for breakfast and am happy with that. But processed sugar is another thing altogether and I know I am happier with it not in my diet for the most part. But enjoyment of life is important, so I have some sweet treats most days (like two squares of 72% cocoa chocolate after dinner).
So on Christmas day my plan is to enjoy my meal and not pig out on the nibbles beforehand, and have a very small dessert after. Often the first taste is the nicest, and once you have tasted it then what do you need more for? At least that’s what I’m telling myself, and doesn’t it sound more chic than a piled up dessert bowl?
We have two ‘Christmas days’ coming up. I am doing desserts for both Christmas dinners. For the first one on Christmas day, I have been asked to make a Banoffi Pie. This dessert is decadent to the max, so my plan is to have the tiniest sliver after my dinner, so I can have a taste of it without making myself feel sick.
The next Christmas dinner one day later, my plan for dessert is to prepare fresh seasonal fruit and bring a gourmet ice cream to have with it. Doesn’t that sound refreshing after a big Christmas dinner? Remember it is summer here!
I have plans for drinks too. I will be taking along chilled bottles of Perrier and sparkling white grape juice and will sip these from a champagne flute. I don’t drink anymore (that’s a story for another day) but when I did, I would often have only one glass of champagne before dinner and maybe one glass of wine with dinner.
Drinking during the day makes you so tired, even one glass will. I still remember a champagne Christmas breakfast where I had a couple of glasses of bubbles in the morning and felt out of sorts all day.
And to finish off, you may also want to think about plans on how you are going to go about your Christmas day. What time you are going to wake up, how organised you will be, how relaxed and cheerful you are and how much time you will leave yourself to get to places. When I have a social occasion coming up that is a bit out of the ordinary I like to do this and it helps me be calmer, nicer and enjoy it more.
I also pledge to myself that I will have mystique and decorum when I am there, and always, always have a strategy to deal with those that I know may challenge my serenity. I don’t want to stoop to their level so I try to take the high road and don’t do much of the talking myself, that way I cannot be caught out by them. I am pleasant but detached around those I am wary of.
I realise my strategies outlined above may seem like overkill and a bit regimented but they aren’t supposed to be. I just like to think about things beforehand and go through likely scenarios and how I will react to them. I also like to play out dinners in my mind and think about what I will eat and drink. There is a quote about discipline setting you free, rather than holding you back like we think it does, and I try to remember that.
Deciding about things ahead of time really does help me be disciplined and do what I want to do, rather than be carried away by what’s available and what people offer me. You don’t need to make a big deal out of not having something either. If someone offers you something that you don’t want, you can simply say, ‘oh I couldn’t/won’t right now, but I might have some later when I have a bit more room’, or if it’s before dinner ‘oh I’m saving myself for dinner, I might have some later though’ (later may never come but no-one needs to know that!). And of course a simple and polite 'no thank you' with a smile always works too.
I always find it’s easier to resist the first taste of something you didn’t know you wanted until you saw it, than to try and stop that automatic arm shovelling snacks into your mouth.
Lastly, pull your shoulders back and remember to breathe. I have to constantly remind myself of that.
Wishing you a chic Christmas, see you next year!