surviving christmas with diabetes

How to survive the silly season

We share our friend Ashleigh Fenton's article on how to survive the silly season. Enjoy!

It’s almost that time of year again when Christmas carols fill the supermarkets and you will hear at least once in a day Maria Kerry’s ‘All I Want for Christmas’. This is also the time of year when you will be receiving one or more invitations to a work or group Christmas Party. It is called the silly season for many reasons and one includes the choices that are made by many at the one or more Christmas parties and celebrations leading up to Christmas.

The parties will most likely include many 'sometimes' foods and drinks and may feel like a good idea to enjoy in excess at the time but once the silly season is over the addition to your waistline may say otherwise. So, what can you do to still enjoy yourself over this time but leave Christmas without too much weight gain to have to address in the new year?

1. Eat Before You Go.

This may seem anti intuitive as you are going to be provided delicious food and drinks at the party. However, these foods and drinks are likely to be energy dense, not very filling and can trick your brain into feeling like it wants more when it really doesn't.

Starting with alcohol which is calorie dense and wreaks havoc on your metabolism by switching your body’s ability to digest food so the alcohol takes priority, meaning you store most of the food you eat as fat. Alcohol also stops the part of your brain which makes you tells you when you are full from working properly.

On top of this the party foods tend to be sweets and savoury treats which are high in fat, salt and added sugars which keep you going back for more. Now that you can see why it is a good idea to eat and be moderately satisfied before you arrive at the party, some good choices of a pre-party meal or snack can be:

1. A tin of tuna in spring water with half a cup of brown rice and a cup of your favourite frozen vegetables. Microwave and add some chilli and herbs and spices for taste.
2. A whole grain sandwich with ½ an avocado and a handful of sliced mushrooms. Add some chilli and pepper for extra flavour.
3. A 200g tub of low fat yogurt with 2 tablespoons of oats and a cup of frozen vegetables.
4. 2-3 whole grain crackers with hummus to dip and some carrot and celery sticks to munch on the side.
5. 2 Weetabix with some low or no fat milk and a banana.

2. Take every second drink.

There can be pressure at a party to always have a glass in your hand. This glass does not need to be alcohol. Try swapping every glass of alcohol for something like mineral water or a diet soft drink.

3. Be someone’s hero and put your hand up as the designated driver.

Being the designated driver can seem like a drag, but you can potentially not only save your friend’s life but your waistline too!

4. Pick 2-3 treats you really want.

There is likely to be many options of foods to enjoy at a Christmas party. Take your time to select 2-3 maximum you really want to try and take the time to mindfully eat these choices. Being mindful can help you enjoy the food in front of you, will prevent the regret and potential sickness from over indulging on all the choices at the party and will prevent you feeling deprived.

5. Offer to bring a plate.

If the occasion is appropriate why not offer to bring a plate of more healthy alternatives, some of my favourite party plates are:
1. Freshly cut fruit with low fat Greek yogurt as dipping sauce
2. Cut vegetables like carrots, celery, capsicum and roasted vegetables skewers with hummus to dip.

Take home message:

You can still enjoy the silly season without leaving a waistline to regret at the start of next year. Remember to keep moving your body, exercise helps to keep your metabolism firing especially weight or resistance training type. If you take these 5 tips into action you can still enjoy Christmas while looking after your health at the same time, which can be a Christmas present to your body.

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