How to Control Festival Food Cravings
The worst thing you can do is to have an ‘all or nothing’ attitude. Just because you are going out every night and you will nibble on a little bit of the extra sweet, extra rich and extra oily foods, does not mean you have to throw in the towel completely on being healthy whenever you can. Cravings are usually about ‘comfort foods’. Some of us have a sweet craving and others a salty one. We have cravings when we have a need to evoke a psychologically pleasurable state, which points out that it is the comfort, not the food itself, that we desire.
The festive season can be detrimental if you want to maintain your weight, if you are a diabetic, have high cholesterol or just simply know that you need to limit your intake of some kinds of food. The dangers are at home and when you go out, you almost cannot avoid it. Temptation is everywhere! So you have to arm yourself before it sucks you in. Here are a few easy ways to stay healthy throughout this festive season:
At Home: Prepare for the Season
Set aside the time and make the commitment of walking for 45 minutes every day. Start your day with the exercise, this way you limit the excuses and reasons for not going. And in case you really miss it, you have another chance in the evening to make up for it. Get into an exercise routine that you will commit to throughout the festive season.
It is not just what you indulge in on the celebratory days that causes the damage, it is the tendency to stop all exercise and indulge in everything on offer all month that adds up. Get into the habit of drinking a lot more water as well way before the season.
So when you feel a craving creeping up on you, take 5 to 6 deep breaths and often the craving goes away. Try drinking water or herbal tea and if it still lingers then you can raid your healthier options.
Outside: Go Shopping
Fill a trolley up with herbal teas, light veggies like cucumber, stock up on fruit and small nuts or seeds. Make ice-blocks out of fruit pulp (mango and strawberries, even watermelon make very tempting options. Ensure that your home is filled with healthy and easy to access options.
Choose Your Outfits for the Season
Select what you intend to wear in advance, make sure that they fit you perfectly. This will ensure that you plan to look great in them and you can’t overeat in them if they fit you perfectly.
When You Go Visiting: Say ‘No Thank You’ Often
Do not eat everything offered to you. Take a few moments and observe the crowd, you will notice that the ones who are overweight tend to stop all the trays being passed around and eat everything on offer. And if you look at the ones who are more picky, you will notice that they are the slimmer ones in the crowd.
Ask yourself if you think you will really like what is being offered, do you really want to eat it? Give yourself a few seconds to respond and never feel obliged. Practice saying ‘No thank you’ a few times without having to make up a long thesis to explain why you are refusing the particular food or second helping you are being offered. I have noticed that in India especially, we like to ask our guests to ‘eat, eat’. Often people will tease you that you are on a diet. Resist the temptation to push hard and smile and say “No thank you” to whatever you don’t really want.
Start by drinking a lot of water and if you do consume any aerated soft drinks or sweet juices at home during the course of the day, refrain and replace it with water and herbal teas. When you are at a party, ask for soda or sparkling water with a slice or two of lime or lemon in between your drinks.
With alcohol, If you must indulge in holiday cocktails, glasses of bubbly, or your regular spirit, consider diluting your drink with extra ice and water and remember to alternate each alcoholic beverage with a glass of water. It is not just the kilo-joules in the alcohol that is detrimental, not to mention the mixers that you choose, but the fact that when a little tipsy, you are at a risk of losing all discerning powers around how much and what you eat and how much more you drink.
It is great to celebrate and indulge a little, but you don’t have to stuff your face with celebratory foods and drinks, remember, those who indulge, bulge.
Malti Bhojwani is the founder of Multi Coaching International, a Life Coach, an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) practitioner, a workshop leader and an author. Her first published work is a Journal to encourage guided writing, Thankfulness, Appreciation, Gratitude – My Journal is available in all good book stores.