I don’t know about you, but my calendar is getting very busy on the run up to Christmas.
There are so many social events at this time of year, as every group, company and organisation decides that it wants to celebrate Christmas with a party or dinner.
For anyone doing Slimming World, the sheer number of social occasions can seem quite daunting. Many people wonder if it’s even possible to say on-plan at this time of year!
Start with a plan
For me, the very worst thing I can do is throw myself into the festive season without a plan. For instance, if I turn up at the work Christmas party in a couple of weeks time and haven’t thought about it beforehand, then the chances are that I’m going to eat and drink everything around me.
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.Benjamin Franklin
If I have a plan then I can at least mitigate some of the damage I might cause. I might not spend the whole night food optimising, but hopefully I won’t undo all of the good weight loss I’ve achieved throughout the year!
Of course the type of plan I need will depend very much on the type of gathering:
- For drinks, I need to plan ahead about what I’m going to drink – if indeed I am going to drink. One of the best ways to stay on-plan at a drinks party is to stay sober, which can be reinforced by deciding to drive that night. Of course, not drinking can be a bit boring, and in that case I like to remind myself of the number of syns in alcohol, and plan ahead what (and how much) I want to drink.
- For dinner out, I like to think ahead about what I will eat that night. It helps if I know where we’re going to be eating out in advance so that I can check out the menu online. Otherwise I’m likely to make some very bad decisions in the spur of the moment!
- For a house party, I like to engage with the host in advance. Most of the time they are very amenable to looking after all their guest’s needs. The chances are they are looking after all the vegetarians and those with food allergies, so why not those of us who are trying to lose weight. I like to offer to bring free or low-syn food and drink as a contribution to the party – then I know it’s safe to have as much as I want.
Think about before and afterwards
Once I have a plan sorted for the upcoming event, I need to also think about before and afterwards:
- Do I need to save up my syns from the proceeding week?
- Do I need to eat before the party, to reduce the amount I eat when I’m out?
- Do I need to take low-syn food or drink with me?
- Do I need to stock up on healthy snacks for when I come in drunk, so that I don’t get a late-night kebab?
- Do I need supplies for when I might be hungover the next day and not wanting to cook?
These (and countless others) are the questions I need to ask myself when I’m putting together my plan.
What if the plan falls apart?
Sometimes the best laid plans don’t quite work out. I may have planned a controlled night when I was only going to go out for three low-alcohol beers and then come home – but instead I end up staggering in the door at 3am completely hammered, and with the stains of a burger and chips down my front.
We’ve all been there, haven’t we?
And the temptation is to think that everything is ruined, and give up entirely on Slimming World and weight loss entirely. Or at least give up until next week. Besides, I’m going to be hungover tomorrow and craving cheesy puffs and sausage rolls – so there’s no point trying.
But I know that if I continue to eat off-plan for the rest of the week then I’ll regret it, because I’ll probably put on all the weight I lost in the last month!
So I know that I need to get back on to food optimising as soon as possible – ideally as soon as I get in the door after the party. After all, I’m now back home, and am fully back in control of what I eat and drink – so any damage from now onward is entirely my own doing!
Have a Happy Christmas
I suppose with all things, it’s about striking a balance. I don’t want to be overly restrictive and end up having a miserable time. But similarly I don’t want to go mental and regret it. I don’t want to step on those scales in January and find I’ve put on two stone!
Anyway I hope everyone that reads this also has a Happy (and well-planned) Christmas!