The run up to Christmas

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!

So near and yet so far

If you go by my last weigh-in, I’m only 2 pounds away from my Club 10 award. And a two pound loss is easy, right? Apparently not this week!

I’ve managed to mislay my motivation. I know it’s around here somewhere, because saw it only a couple of weeks ago. But I put it down somewhere when I was so sick with my tooth thing, and now I can’t find it again. 

The up-shot is that I’ve been eating all manner of bad stuff this week. Around half my meals have been Slimming World recipes, but the other half have not. And the snacks? Don’t get me started on the thousands of calories of sweets I’ve been shovelling into my gob for the last few days.

I have weigh-in tomorrow morning, and unless all my limbs fall off overnight, then the chances of me losing this week are less than nil.

And so, the temptation is to not go to class. I’m sure we all understand that feeling. It’s easier, when we know we’ve been bad, to stay away – or to weigh and go – so that we don’t have to face the indignity of justifying our gain to the group.

I’m in that position right now. My rational brain is saying to me “Get along to group in the morning, and sort your shit out!”, while the irrational bit of the brain is saying “Sod that! Lie in and bacon sandwiches for brunch!”.

As of this second, I really don’t know if the rational or irrational side is going to win. But at least I haven’t cancelled my alarm for tomorrow morning, yet…

Event catering

Friday and Saturday were difficult for me this week. I went out straight out after work on Friday night until late, and then was out again all day and night on Saturday.

I wasn’t just eating away from home, but I was tired as well, and that’s not the best combination for making good decisions about what to eat.

I was involved in singing with my choir for a high-profile concert. The schedule meant that I had rehearsals from 5.45pm to 10.00pm on Friday, and then on Saturday I was rehearsing and performing for 13 hours from 9.00am until 10.00pm. 

It’s not impossible to plan ahead for these things, and bring your own syn-free food along to eat. Indeed one of the women in my choir is doing Slimming World as well and was very good and turned up with all her meals pre-prepared.

I did not!

I wasn’t prepared with my own food, and the meal breaks were limited, so I was pretty-much at the mercy of the event catering. And while they had provided different meal options for vegetarians and celiacs, there wasn’t a syn-free option in sight!

So I ended up eating what was provided by the caterers – which varied from limp sandwiches to a chilli con carne and rice. I can pretty much guarantee that they weren’t using Slimming World recipes, but it did help that they only dished out minuscule portions!

Thankfully on the Saturday my wife loaded my bag with loads of healthy snacks, so I was able to keep satisfied. I had boiled eggs, loads of fruit, and a oat bar for my Health Extra B. That stopped me resorting to bags of crisps and sweets from the corner shop to keep the energy levels up.

I suppose the lesson I learned is to think ahead and bring my own food when I’m away from home like this in the future. Ideally it needs to be something that doesn’t need to be cooked or heated, and can maybe be eaten straight out of the storage container, as I can’t rely on there being any kitchen/cooking facilities.

Eating in Slimming World Class

There’s a unwritten etiquette to eating in a Slimming World class.

If you’re having a Taster Night, then it’s expected for you to bring and eat something in class. But what about the rest of the time?

Depending on the time of day, and how much you have starved yourself prior to your weigh-in, may determine whether you feel compelled to eat in class. You may be fresh along from work, having skipped lunch, and starving hungry. You may have been out for a couple of hours of last-minute body magic, to try and burn off a couple of pounds. Or you might not have eaten at all for the last 3 days! And in those situations you may not have the energy to sit through a full hour of image therapy without some sustenance inside you. After all, all that clapping and encouraging other people is hard work!

But does that mean you can bring along your dinner, and munch your way through the entire class?

I go to a 5.30pm group, and pretty-much everyone is attending before having dinner. So it’s common to see people having a discrete snack – after weigh-in of course! Freshly purchased hi-fi bars seem to be a favourite, as well as fruit. Anything healthy, speedy or free seems to be fair game, although I’m not sure what reaction anyone would get if they started tucking into a big Tupperware dish of pasta.

I think it’s also fair to say that it may be frowned upon to try an order a Domino’s pizza or fish supper to be delivered to class! Whatever you indulge in a post-class blowout is between you and your maker, but it’s probably best not to be seen to be off-plan during the class itself – that is, unless you order enough pizza for everyone!

But that’s just my class. What’s your experience? Do people eat during your class?