Christmas dinners, Christmas parties, Christmas drinks, gifts of chocolates, wines, sweets, days of just lazing around...
You get the idea. Christmas, from a health point of view, is one of the most dangerous time of the year.
And no, you really aren't going to lose the extra weight later. Or possibly ever.
There are many suggestions in magazines to help you stop putting on weight: things you can swap, ways to try and be good. Sometimes they are okay, sometimes they are insane.
Having tried and either failed or been dissatisfied the whole season, I'm trying a new method.
The Zero-Tolerance Method.
Chocolate is just not an option.
I should explain that I am a recovering chocoholic, and I mean that more seriously than I used to.
I always knew I loved chocolate, and relied on it for emotional support, etc. which I knew, but I used to just laugh about it, because there was no way I could do anything else.
But a few months ago I realised two awful things:
1. I had fooled myself I was only eating 1/2 a family block of chocolate a day, until I realised on day that no, I had actually opened this block this morning, and now it was all gone by 3pm and I wanted more.
2. Stephen King was describing his (or someone else's, I can't quite remember) alcoholic period, and how he used to be asked 'how much do you drink' and he would look at the person as if they were crazy, 'all of it.' He replied. And I realised I knew that feeling.
I would eat chocolate from the moment I woke up until I went to sleep. I would eat it until it was all gone or I was unconscious. And just occasionally I woke up to find I had been eating it in my sleep. Seriously.
That was a few months ago now.
I went cold turkey. Completely. Absolutely. No chocolate.
Since then I've snuck in a few bits here and there, and the truth appears to be that having nothing is easier for me than to have just a little. Once I start, I cannot stop.
So this Christmas I'm not going to start.
Worked quite successfully today at my work Christmas party, even though there were maltesers (a big favourite), Lindt balls, chocolate biscuits, cakes, etc. (you get the picture). But I didn't touch any of them. This was partly helped by my second practical method: calorie counting.
This holidays I am going to keep track of ALL of my calories. It is very illuminating, and scary.
I've used Calorie King in the past, which worked really well for me and the forums are great. I'm actually currently using My Fitness Pal, largely because it was recommended to me and it has a bar code scanning function which makes it a lot easier.
Trying to track calories over Christmas is hard, but even just the attempt makes you think about everything that goes into your mouth. And you will be very surprised.
So those are my two methods I'm going to try and use. I have a plan, worked out my strategy, and am going in prepared.
And you can all hold me accountable.
Just to warn you, to make the Zero-Tolerance method work, you really do need to have your will power and motivation stocks up at full, and in the next few posts I'll look at how to do that.
But for now, think about whether you can just stop at one, and if not, don't even have one.