Most of us are aware of all the food dangers throughout this long weekend. We know that stuffing, whipped potatoes and pie should be enjoyed in a mindful fashion, or avoided if this is impossible! Hopefully we can navigate around the worst of the culinary culprits.
What most of us do forget, however, is to MOVE. It might be difficult to force oneself to do something if you have lots of guests, but it is possible. Innovation is key. Part of the reason I encourage this, is that it will heighten your awareness to be careful with the food. It may also have a gentle effect on the impulse control centre. Assume you have been asked to cut some vegetables, or are willing to clean the dishes after the meal. You could do some simple toe raises. How about 25 toe raises as you cut carrots or some other food? No one will really notice or comment, but if they do, just say you are stretching out a cramp.
Prior to going to your in-laws or friend’s house, you could fit in a 20 minute walk. What about a 10 minute higher intensity routine at home, such as a rotation of air squats, knee (or full) push-ups, a plank or something to get the heart rate up? No longer than 10 minutes. Just rotate though each exercise until you hit the 10 minute mark.
One simple thing I do is to be the one who gathers up the plates after the dinner. This gets me moving and away from looking at all the inviting remnants of food on the table. For the same reason, I love to wash the dishes; I’m standing and my hands are soapy, keeping those pesky fingers from grabbing a treat. The more you can stand and help, both prior to the dinner and after, the better.
Ideally, when you arrive back home, no matter how ‘tired’ you feel, go for a little walk. Don’t go into your house or apartment, just get out of the car, and walk around the block.
I know of one man, who is well recognized in the podcast world, who would do 50 air squats when he ‘pretended’ to be going to the bathroom. You don’t have to be this committed, but fitting movement into any aspect of our daily lives isn’t that hard.
My suspicion, or hope, is that if you commit to doing some extra movement, it will increase your mindfulness about food and you will eat less. My best exercise in these gatherings is looking after my grandson. I always willingly offer to chase after him. Getting involved in his self-made games has to be the best high intensity workout I could ask for!
Lastly, when it comes to the food, purposely eat very very slowly! With the variety of food that is available, if we eat too quickly, we overeat. Force yourself to take a bite or two, and put down your fork and talk to someone, then take another bite. Make a conscious effort to eat much more slowly than you normally would. Your satiety centre will bring you to a halt much faster and you will be much less likely to take second helpings.
Be inventive. Be mindful. Make up extra time spent moving, and don’t eat till you’re ‘stuffed’. Just eat to where you are satisfied. It’s not easy, but you can do it.
Never give up. Keep on trying. Move more, eat slowly!