I’m still in the process of putting right what I did around Christmas, eating-wise, that I usually advise everyone not to do. So here’s an opportunity for me to come clean, and use this to re-visit some important and simple principles related to how we eat.
Veering off track is normal when you’re in the process of changing eating habits, but I must say that doing it 6 years after starting to change old eating habits is pushing it. So why, so long after I “sorted out” my eating habits, did I find myself going off-piste?
Mistake #1 I bought what I didn’t need because of a half-price offer
My local supermarket held a half-price-boxed-sweets day in December. I found myself in the confectionery aisle surrounded by people who were literally filling their trolleys with the “bargain” sweets. Carried along with the festive mood, I bought 2 boxes of chocolates – positively restrained compared with my fellow shoppers – but nevertheless, not the chocolates I’d have chosen if I’d thought about it properly in advance and bought my very favourites.
Mistake #2 Having bought excess chocolates, they “needed” eating
Second was feeling that these chocolates now had to be eaten. They were in the cupboard, and they were Christmas sweets. For some reason this seemed to mean they had to be eaten by Twelfth Night. No rhyme or reason to that. Just a vague sense of urgency. Added to by the fact that no-one else was interested in eating them.
Mistake #3 I ate them when I was not definitely hungry
Thanks to the sense of urgency to get them eaten, I ate some each evening when I wasn’t hungry. So they didn’t taste as good as they would have done.
Mistake #4 When they didn’t hit the spot, I ate more rather than stopping
Third because the chocolates didn’t quite hit the spot, I found myself eating more and always thinking about the next one rather than this one. This is an old chestnut which many people recognise: that when a food is quite nice, but not fabulous, you can fall in to the trap of continuing to seek out the fabulous taste you hoped would be in it. So I had several chocolates in succession, hoping to find fabulousness in the next one which of course wasn’t there.
Having made this series of mistakes, here’s how I’m getting back on track:
Solution #1 Put the date to buy next Christmas’s chocolates in the diary for December 218 and on that day, choose the chocolates people will really want
I need to remind myself that it’s important to reject or avoid bargains when it comes to sweets and other junk foods. The money-saving promotion encourages you to buy more. And if you buy more it’s a good bet that you’ll eat more. When I got two £8 boxes of chocolates for £4 each, on the surface of it I made a saving of £8. But really it was a loss of the £8 I spent on chocolates I wouldn’t have had otherwise. That £8 could have bought me a single box of favourite chocolates which would have meant:
(1) less chocolate eaten
(2) more deliciousness
So now, it’s in the diary. I rather like the fact that “buy fabulous xmas chocolates” is now an entry for 16th December 2018!
Solution #2 Freeze the leftover chocolates
Thanks to a tweet by Personal Trainer Ophelia Hogan, which appeared at just the right time on twitter, I realised that the best thing to do with the chocolates not-yet-eaten is to freeze them. So that’s what I’ve done. The Twelfth Night pressure is off.
Solution #3 Have some vegetable-only meals
To counter the extra eating I did over Christmas, I’m having lots of vegetable-only meals now. These have become some of my very favourite meals. I’ve written about using veg-only meals to achieve balance at Christmas.
If like me you veered off course temporarily over the Christmas season, work out what simple steps will get you back on track. If you need help working out what these might be, email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try and help via my Ask the Appetite Doctor column on my website.