Saturday, 17 December 2011

If only for one day, let me try...

My absolute favourite Christmas song of all time is:

I think we all reach that stage in life when Christmas... just doesn't feel like Christmas anymore. It ceases to be that amazing, out-of-this-world, go-mad-with-excitement, best day of the year... and becomes more about praying all your relatives will be nice to each other and hoping to get the festivities done with the minimal amount of stress, tension and argument.

Nevertheless, I love Christmas. I love seeing my family, and the traditions, and, of course, the food.

Christmas food. Well, it's been weighing a lot on my mind since I discovered the calorie count of a mince pie. I think Christmas is a bit of a worry for anyone trying to lose weight, and I know a common fear is that one you 'fall off the wagon' over Christmas and New Year, you'll never get back on.

Bollocks to that.

Here are my Christmas plans:

1. Enjoy being with my family. This is the most important thing. No one will enjoy spending Christmas with the person who constantly refuses food and obsessively attempts to calculate calorie counts in their head. Family takes priority over weight-loss, any day.

2. Treat myself. This doesn't mean eat mince pies and brandy butter for a week. This doesn't mean eat a box of chocolates in an afternoon. This means, quite simply, if I fancy a mince pie, I can have one. If I'm offered a chocolate, I can have one. One. What I notice about treating myself is that after the first few bites of a food, you aren't really tasting it anymore, you're just eating it. So, treats! But, small treats.

3. Relax. Do not obsess or feel guilty about calories. I've already pre-logged what I'm likely to eat in my family's turkey dinner tomorrow (our biggest Christmas fest with all the family is a week early), and it's already come to about 1300 calories (blame the Christmas pudding!). Now, this is more than I would aim to eat on a normal day, and this is one meal. I also anticipate perhaps eating some fruit in the morning, and probably a couple of canapes (though I'm making them so I can control exactly what goes into them, as well as not feel obligated to eat them to be polite to the chef), and perhaps a chocolate or two and a drink in the evening. I will end up over my calorie goal. This is a fact. This is not something I am going to stress about.

4. Remember the maths. A pound of fat is 3500 calories. My BMR is 1500 calories. From daily activity, I probably burn no less than 1800 calories. I plan on brisk walking/jogging in the morning to burn at least 200 calories. So, any way I look at it, I can eat about 2000 calories and maintain. Hell, most people do that every day! 2000 calories is not masses. On the other hand, to gain even one pound of fat tomorrow, I would have to eat 5500 calories. I'm not sure I could do that even if I ate the whole damn Christmas pudding. I need to remember this. I'd be the first to admit that my thoughts about eating, food, and calories are not entirely without disorder. And to be honest, after aiming for and 99% of the time sticking to a goal of 1200 for three months... I've sort of got used to it. Anything more feels like over-eating. But it isn't. In fact, my body would probably quite like me to eat a bit over for one day. My body needs a break just as much as my mind does. I need to reassure my body that I'm not going to deny it food forever, and I need to reassure myself that I haven't got myself into such a mental state that I freak out about simply enjoying a special meal with my family.

So, that's it.

I read a lot of people saying things like "my goals don't take a break at Christmas, so neither does my diet", and "it's just a day like any other", and "I'm not going to undo all my work by eating like a pig for one day."

I say again, bollocks to that.

My goal is 'happy and healthy', and that includes enjoying Christmas with my family.

I hope you all enjoy your holidays, however you celebrate them. And remember that they're not something to be feared or dreaded or painstakingly overcome... they're something to be enjoyed, and celebrated, and spent having fun with the people you love.

"Give me one more chance to dream again,
One more chance to feel again
Through your young heart.
If only for one day, let me try...
I want to see Christmas through your eyes
I want everything to be
The way it used to be
Back to being a child again
Thinking the world was mine
I want to see Christmas
Christmas through your eyes."

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