By Justinne Lou Go, RND
WE ARE finally in the last installment for the year, which means that Christmas is right around the corner and so is the feasting season. And when it’s feasting season, fitness goals tend to be placed on hold and New Year’s resolutions the last thing on people’s minds. However, we don’t have to give up on our fitness goals come December. In fact, we have to get our head in the game all the more and fix our eyes on the prize — no, not the lechon, but your fitness goals. Because really, starting on January is already a bit late if you’re aiming for a beach-ready body by summertime, especially with the additional pounds from all the feasting in the last season. Beginning the new year with extra pounds only makes it harder for you to get started or get back to your fitness goals.
To help give you some peace of mind, I’m not going to be all diet nazi on you and tell you to skip all the “good stuff.” Rather, I will share some hacks to help keep you (sane) on track and prevent you from wallowing in guilt and regret for all the things you ate. Most of it is really a mind game with yourself, a conditioning of the mind.
1. Stick to one (plate) We all know the feasting is inevitable. It’s not wrong to eat either. So, first things first, we have to accept these facts. Before anything, in every party or gathering, take a survey of the spread so you can plan what’s going to be on your plate. This will put you ahead of the game rather than going through the spread ignorantly and getting every single thing that seduces your senses. Before you know it, your plate is well on your way to driving you down the road of regret.
The first line of defense is actually right in your hand — your plate. Try to keep a principle of going through the buffet or spread only once, at least for the main dishes. Think of taking that second walk to the buffet as equivalent to a walk of shame in the gym with the extra pounds.
2. Load up on the goods. As you navigate through the gastronomic trail, also keep portion control in mind. You may have a little of everything, but load up on the “goods” — fresh salad, vegetables (not the buttered kind though), more white meat than red meat and more fresh fruits than sweet pastries for dessert. As I’ve been repeatedly featuring the Pinggang Pinoy in my previous articles, there is no exemption for the application of this guideline. Try to fill half of your plate with fresh salad or vegetables, and fill the rest of the plate with good sources of protein (white meat — fish, chicken — and beans). Of course, also be careful with how the food is prepared. You know that the deep-fried and creamy sauces are not your friends.
3. There’s always tomorrow.There’s always that moment when you’re faced with a luscious slice of cake or a smorgasbord of roast meats and you think to yourself that you should get as much as you can because you won’t get to try anything like it in other parties. Whatever it is, always remember that this is not the only party you’re attending for the month. There’s always another party, another day to meet the same mouth-watering lechon. And even if you don’t get to meet that same roast beef again, it’s not too much of a regret to skip the extra calories, is it? If you’re certain to have lechon, skip the deep-fried stuff. Keep both of these deadly treats at odds against each other. At least you get to choose one, right?
4. Keep your head in the game. No one is perfect so it’s okay to cut yourself some slack should you fail to follow any of the tips already mentioned. But, don’t give up altogether. If you’ve gone back for thirds or fifths because you couldn’t resist that beautiful paella, just give yourself a talk before the next party and commit to going back to the game plan. It’s okay to start over but be determined to be better each time. Balance it out in the next parties.
5/ Stay tuned in. The most important thing you can do most of all is to be aware of yourself. Tune in to your physical cues. Determine whether you are hungry or not. You probably hear this a lot (or not) but one should never go to a party hungry. Try to have a light snack — a small tuna or peanut butter sandwich or a bowl of fruits and yogurt — before heading to that party in contrast to most people skipping meals because they know they’re in for a feast. This way, you won’t go crazy at the spread.
So, with those five tips, I hope you are now ready to face the feasting season confidently knowing that you are and can be in control. Don’t let the season get the best of you. You know you can be better than that. Instead, have a fresh perspective of the season, thinking beyond instant gratification and looking ahead to the new year with determination. Finish the year strong!