We all do it - in the run up to Christmas, we buy more than enough goodies (or baddies depending on how you view them) for the holiday season. Sweets chocolates, cakes, biscuits all supposedly needed for the Christmas celebrations. A tin of quality street isn't enough in our house, I have to buy Cadbury's Roses too as half the family prefer them! After dinner mints, mince pies and Christmas Puddings all seem to pile into the shopping trolley with such ease!
But now the decorations are back in the attic and we embark on our new year and new healthier lifestyle, how do you navigate the temptations that are still lurking in your cupboards?
You can't just throw them away as that goes against everything you were brought up with - not to waste. It's all very well trying to double the size of your portions or have a blow out binge to 'just get rid of it' but that isn't going to help you in you plight to lose a few pounds.
Well maybe the following method can help you to keep the balance. It's not the perfect answer to this dilemma but it does offers an alternative which may prevent you sabotaging your new healthy eating regime before it has even started.
It involves setting some mini targets and using the junk food as rewards for achieving them.
4 Steps that might help you to achieve the impossible!
Put all said temptations out of sight
You still know they are there and they still have that innate power to draw you to the cupboard where they are hiding but we are going to cover strategies on how to deal with that later. But for now just ensure they are not looking at you the moment you walk into the kitchen!
Ensure you have some healthy alternatives available
Say to yourself that reaching for the junk IS allowed AFTER you have had a healthy alternative first. This step can be a really effective deterrent, slowing down your hell-bent desire to go gorge on the first bad thing you find. Make a list of some healthier alternatives and stick it on the 'naughty cupboard' to help you in your moment of weakness.
Foods like Nut Butter and sliced apple, a couple Satsumas, a handful of nuts and raisins or a couple squares of dark chocolate can all keep you out of the Christmas feasts long enough not to spoil your hard efforts. Make it an event. If you are going to eat an alternative, make a fruit tea and go and sit at the table to enjoy them. Don't walk around the kitchen whilst you're shovelling the food into your mouth. It is important to make everything you eat memorable.
Use the weekends as your treat days
Allow yourself one portion of any junk food of your liking on both Saturday and Sunday. Treat it as a reward for doing so well throughout the week. Don't save up Saturday's treat to have double on Sunday or Save one weekends treats to add to the next weekends treats as this defeats your ability to keep control.
By planning when you are going to enjoy your junk you maintain order and are able to look forward to it as it becomes an event. When you are enjoying the naughty treats, really savour them. Take time to enjoy them and really take note of the flavours and sweetness which should be more noticeable if you haven't eaten them all week or at every meal!
Pledge something each time you eat junk when you're not meant to
If you do fall off the rails, pledge to do something as payment. Things like marching for 500 steps in the next hour, or taking the dog for a walk an extra walk. The pledge isn't intended to reduce the calories you may have just eaten (although moving our bodies will certainly help) it is meant to encourage a connection between eating bad foods and the consequences that arise for doing that.
It's so easy to toss a chocolate into your mouth and be seduced by the soft and perfectly melted centre and not consider that just 10 chocolates is the equivalent to a quarter of the recommended calories for the day. Not only that, the energy, nutrients, minerals and water the body uses to dispose of the toxic ingredients found in the chocolates which give very little nutritional benefit to the body.
Pledging to do something helps us to be responsible whilst getting into the habit of remembering there is a consequence. So as we think about making poor eating choices we also remember the consequences of making those poor choices.
As I said before, this isn't the answers to all our problems but it will definitely give us more focus and consciousness when around food we know we shouldn't eat.