Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Chic

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!


  1. Such an interesting post Fiona. I know what you mean about the sugar thing, daily I eat fruit, a few times a week good ice-cream but rarely rich desserts. When I have the latter I feel awful in an hour or two then I get a big crash of sleepiness. Tish Jett mentions in "Forever Chic" a friend raving about a passing chocolate cake and then having one small mouthful. It makes sense.

    Have you tried strawberries in your sparkling water? Just lovely at this time of year.

    Happy Christmas.

  2. You really "nailed it" here! "...deciding what you will do beforehand makes it surprisingly easy to resist temptation later on" is DEFINITELY true!

    Merry Christmas!

  3. What a great article, Fiona. We are having a quiet Christmas à deux this year, and I am making a roasted turkey breast, mashed cauliflower, sautéed green beans, and buche de noel for dessert. Processed sugar kills me, too, so I use wild honey to lightly sweeten our dessert - and I also make a tiny version so there are only four servings.

    The discipline you describe on Christmas or any other event involving unpleasant people is key to survival - especially when those unpleasant people are family! Sometimes I've gone so far as to keep something in my pocket, like a small marble or cotton ball dipped in lavender oil, to remind me of the person I want to be, that this moment will pass, and I will not allow their negativity to dictate the person I am.

    As for champagne for breakfast…this is for 20-year olds. In my 40's, I have at most two glasses of wine with dinner maybe twice a week. That's all my body and mind can take!

  4. Merry Christmas Fiona! I agree completely about processed sugar.

  5. Dear Fiona, I get migraines every month (around that time of the month) that last up to 4 days sometimes, and I noticed that the migraines come if I don't eat properly too. I just have such a sweet tooth, it's terrible! But I am inspired by your words and will try to cut down on the sugar as well. As for keeping relaxed during the holidays, well, that may be a bit more challenging! I've already experienced some family drama - it always seems to come from the same person. I try to keep my distance emotionally from this relative, it is her issue - not mine, I try to stay out of it. I don't like it when her 'toxicity' spreads to other family members. Your Christmas decorations are gorgeous. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!
    Warm Regards, D.

  6. I admire your planning in advance. What a great idea to have your beverages of choice on hand instead of alcohol. Rebekah's comment above reminds me I have a small vial of stress relief oil from Aveda. I'm bringing it with me that day and plan on inhaling deeply many times!

  7. I'm with you about the sugar. I try to keep sweet treats out of my house and indulge a little occasionally at dinner parties and such.
    It would be interesting to me if you decide to tell us your story about not drinking alcohol--I, and probably others, could use more inspiration and motivation.
    I'm amazed at how your posts always resonate with me. Looking forward to reading more in 2014!
    Happy Holidays!

  8. Thank you so much Fiona for some really great insight and tips for a more peaceful Christmas. I particularly like the idea on how to politely pass on food being offered, after reading this I am feeling prepared now for the onslaught of appy's and desserts.

    Merry Christmas!

    Rita from Victoria, Canada

  9. Also a quote I love is "self discipline = self love" and I think that's what you're saying here. Love it! MJ

  10. Great article and great comments!
    "Cakes are healthy too, you just eat a thin slice". -Mary Berry
    Moderation is chic :)

    Merry Christmas!

  11. Happy holidays, Fiona! I am so happy that you are back to blogging--I missed your blog terribly. Have a wonderful new year, and I am looking forward to reading many more lovely posts in 2014!

  12. Such great comments, thank you! I love the quotes too - 'self-love' and Mary Berry's one. The photos I have seen of Mary show that she is very slim and elegant, and a chicly dressed lady of a certain age.

    We are one Christmas dinner down and one to go here, and I did well. Before dinner I did not touch any potato chips, nuts or lollies, but had a few cheese and crackers. Then dinner, which was roast chicken and loads of veges (just a small amount was the starchy type) and some gravy. Dessert, well, dessert, there were so many different ones that even though I only had the tiniest portion of each, I still felt not well afterwards. A valuable lesson, but it's not like I'll be faced with six desserts every day is it. Drinkwise, I had 2/3 Perrier, 1/3 sparkling grape juice in a flute and it was delicious and refreshing.

  13. I had Christmas on my own, so it was all my choice. I had a fruit smoothie and toast for breakfast, homemade chicken soup, a little bread and a pear for lunch and will have scrambled eggs with smoked salmon for dinner, along with a salad and some spiked eggnog for dessert- yummy!

    I also bought two bottles of flavored water to drink instead of booze or sugary drinks. I decided to declare it a spa day, so I worked out and did a sugar scrub, facial and hair treatment in the morning. I'm about to sip my flavored water and do a pedicure while watching a movie.

  14. Aurora, your Christmas sounds just delightful. You are an inspiration.

  15. Hi Fiona just discovered your blog for the first time! I have read all your posts now and love every one of them as they have special meaning for me! Had our Christmas with my family. Two engagements to celebrate and my sister in law had not even owned one champagne glass! I looked for the silver lining all day with my family and it did work. Today is with my husband's family but just in the morning thank goodness! How you had a lovely day yesterday, catherine x

  16. I wish I had read this before Christmas! I did indulge more than I intended to, but thankfully did not overdo it too much. A plan in advance is always helpful.

    I like your idea about being pleasant but detached around those toxic people. So much chic-er than getting dragged into drama or raising your blood pressure.

  17. So excited to stumble upon your blog - have missed you so much. What a bonus I now have to go back and read since you started back up again. Thank you!
    Cindy F

  18. Fiona,

    I was ecstatic to see that you are back writing this blog! I'm only sorry that I did not catch updates sooner, as I also took an unannounced hiatus from writing. I am looking forward to reading your posts. I am currently re-working my own site but please stop by anytime =) I hope you had a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Years. All the best in 2014

    ~ Lenna/Aspen


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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