Egads. It has already begun. The Holiday decoration have been up for almost a month in Macy's (maybe more), there is a bitter wind blowing through Manhattan, and there are tons of crowds piling onto the B and D trains just so they can get to Rockefeller Center. It is Christmas time in the city, ring-a-ling, hear them ring....
One sure fire was you can tel it is Christmas is that all of a sudden there are piles of candy cropping up all over my office. First I saw a bowl on someone's desk inside a neat office. Later in the week that bowl made it's way out to sit right on top of the storage closet next to my cube. Then in the mailroom I saw half empty gift mugs filled with various chocolates. Next it will be the gift baskets coming in from the accounts that still buy us gifts (as opposed to the other way around) and after that it will be the sugary Christmas gifts between co-workers. And then finally, around the 21st of December, it will be homemade cookies. It tends to always happen in that order in my office. Is it slightly different for you?
I still maintain that I have beaten the Sugar Monster, but this is the first Christmas that I have been trying to eat mostly real food. On previous years, Christmas was a 4-5 week period fraught with tummy aches and sugar shock. I don't typically gain weight during the holiday season, as my indulging is limited to three or four days (and that's not going to kill anyone). But now that I have cleaned myself up and know a little more about what sugar is and what it does to your body, well, I am really noticing how much of it is around me all the time.
So here are a few ideas to limit the sugar in your Christmas, while still enjoying yourself and being able to participate.
* Look at your breakfast. This is usually where sugar sneaks in first for me. Instead of sweetened yogurt, try plain. I also recommend the whole or full fat yogurt, which will keep you more satiated. If you are eating flour/ gluten, breakfast is probably the best place to do it because you have ample time to burn off all that energy. Recently, a dear Eastern European friend told me that some traditional Eastern Europeans typically would have flour foods (even pasta!) only in the morning, for that very reason. I have to respect several generations of culture after all! I would definitely balance out any flour foods with some protein or fat though. This will help you to stay full until lunch and ward off the snackies which usually lead straight to a box of Harry and David's Lemon Shortbread Cookies.
* Be sure to get some protein (and fat) with your lunch. I eat a raw salad almost every day (almost). But if I don't have some fat component, like avacado, and some protein component, like chicken, I find that the salad never lasts me all day. It is that 3-4pm time period when I need a little sugary pick me up.
* Be prepared with some protein snacks. I like to keep nuts around just in case I really need a pick me up. A glass of good quality milk is also a great afternoon snack. Cheese would be good too.
* Don't eat crappy treats. Here is where I am the most passionate. I absolutely think that you should have some refined sugar this year unless you have some real serious aversion to it, or your food religion condones only strict abstinence (my food religion embraces a smidge of sin). However, why on earth would you want to eat the lousy stuff? You have put in so much work making sure that you are filled with filling fats and healthy proteins and nutrient rich veggies, why would you go and eat some crappy Hersey's bar. You should have Teucsher! The whole point about limiting sugar is really about purposeful eating. There is no auto-pilot setting. If food makes you happy, enjoy it, love it, relish it. But don't get into the mind set that you have to eat everything in sight. The space in your tummy (and there is only so much) is valuable real estate. And all those sugary treats should be dolling themselves up to vie for which one is going to get in your tummy. Only choose the best.
* Don't be the sugar pusher. Just because you don't want to be the one to eat the lovingly gifted Whitman Sampler does not mean you should be pushing it on every unsuspecting lady in your office or family. She might not be in possession of your strong will! I see absolutely nothing wrong with pitching unwanted sugar. Wait until January 2nd if you feel you must. But why on earth do you feel that someone must consume something, just because it exists. I consider this slightly irrational thinking. It doesn't matter if it goes to waste.
* Get enough sleep. Since I am currently up way too late blogging about this, I sense the irony of suggesting this. Just make sure you get 8 hours of sleep. You know the drill, hunger hormones, sleep deprivations triggers them..yada yada yada
* Lastly, NO regrets. Now that you have had two helpings of Office-Christmas-Party-Catering-Cupcakes, let it go. I have found that most weight put on in a month will come off in a month if you make the right choices in losing the weight. You know the most brilliant thing I have discovered since I started eating real food? Usually when my clothes start to feel a little tight it is because I have been overeating. So cutting back slightly for a week or two makes that overly full feeling go away as well as making my pants fit better.
No go out there and enjoy Christmas for Christ's sake!