FIT&FAB: Beating the Christmas food 'temptation'

Wednesday December 20 2017

my grandparents have a way of ensuring everyone’s favourite dish gets to the table.

My grandparents have a way of ensuring everyone’s favourite dish gets to the table. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MARION MAINA
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It’s five days to Christmas and feelings of excitement abound.

This is the season of catching up with family which will most probably be over an elaborate meal of chapati, chicken, pilau, nyama choma, you name it.

And I hate to be the bearer of bad news but if you are starting on a new diet, this month is the least opportune time.

STUCK-UP GUEST

Buffet invitations will work against your resolve since you don’t want to be referred to as that “stuck-up” guest who only served lettuce and two pieces of lean meat on her plate.

But does that mean you have to indulge in reckless abandon this festive season? Certainly not!

Let me share with you my first experience of Christmas as a fitness advocate: I vividly remember how different my Christmas was in 2015.

I had begun shedding weight around September and within three months, I had lost close to 20 kilograms with a notable difference in my physical appearance.

I completed a detox diet about four days to Christmas which left me feeling fantastic inside out. I topped that feeling with a killer body-hugging dress and a slim fancy belt to highlight my newly acquired waistline.

On arrival at my grandparents home for the family get together, everyone was mesmerised by my new look and kept congratulating me for my effort and discipline.

Christmas Day begun with a church service in the morning followed by a sumptuous buffet; my grandparents have a way of ensuring everyone’s favourite dish gets to the table. I picked a plate, all set to indulge, not knowing this would be the beginning of my woes.

STOMACH NOT READY

I decided to serve a little bit of everything not only for my pleasure but also as a thankyou to the people who had slaved away all morning to prepare the meals.

Despite my noble intentions, my tummy was unforgiving and now as I look back, I can understand why; I had not prepared my stomach for the Christmas feast.

If anything, I had had a terrific 10 days of detoxing using green smoothies and my stomach had considerably shrunk. But then here I was shoving up greasy, spicy, high-carb food into my belly. Of course it would shock my system!

Halfway through the meal, I started getting queasy and my palms were all sweaty. I excused myself from the table and hastily made my way to the loo. It took about 30minutes for me to feel any sort of relief. That episode almost ruined my Christmas.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES

Our bodies have a self-regulation mechanism which works perfectly if we abide by rules we set for it. If you have made some lifestyle changes this year, your body must have already adapted.

If you try to defy this new system like I did, your body will revolt. You need to find a way to be in sync with your self-regulation mechanism. Here are three tips that can work for you this Christmas season:

1. Get an involved in physical activities
You may not be up early thanks to the merry making this season but when you do get out of bed, take a walk; go sight seeing or or help out in the shamba (garden). Just make sure to avoid sitting down all day.

2. Space your meals, don't eat everything in one sitting
Breakdown the meals into frequent snacks with lots of activities in between. I remember last Christmas I ate from 8:00am to 6:00pm with a two-hour break between each snack. I ended up tasting everything without suffering a bloated belly.

3. Have a good laugh
I have noticed that am hardly hungry when happy. Laughter and great conversations have been my one method of keeping hunger pangs at bay. Give the phone a break and indulge in conversation with your loved ones. I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

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Fit&Fab is a blog series by Marion Maina who lost 30kg during her weight loss journey that started two years ago and is now in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. Do you have feedback on this story? E-mail: [email protected]