If you’ve just started your ‘ditching the booze’ journey or it’s your first Christmas sober, the chances are this may be a stressful time. Expectations are high and most of us tend to be people pleasers! When you’re ditching the booze it’s important to make that non-negotiable, put yourself first. That doesn’t mean be selfish, it’s the season of goodwill to all men after all, but it does mean take good care of yourself!
We know that people often turn to sugar when they’ve ditched booze, it’s normal and usually after we’ve mainlined on jellybeans or whatever it is for a while, we can reign it in and develop a new equilibrium. The problem is when Christmas comes and brings with it a cacophony of sweets, chocolates, puddings, cake, and God knows what else…. you’ve worked hard to remove the alcohol, and the last thing you need is to be ‘beating yourself up’ about overdosing on sugar!
SO how do we ‘tame’ our ‘Christmas treat’ dragon? It’s all about mindset, just as we’ve had to re-learn all the pre-conceived ideas about alcohol. For too long we all thought it was glamorous and ‘fun’ and that it gives us confidence, and everyone’s doing it, but we are the enlightened ones now (or getting there) and we KNOW that actually it’s just a poison and being sober ROCKS! (Don’t you love the hashtag #wearetheluckiest).
We need to reframe how we think about sugar and so called ‘treats’. We’ve all been brainwashed into thinking that ‘junk’ and sugar is a ‘treat’. Most of us were given it to ‘soothe our pain’ as kids, every time we grazed our knee, we were given a biscuit (or was that just me?) and most of us have at some point in our lives turned to sugar (as well as booze) to cheer ourselves up.
So instead of ‘treats’ think of the sweets, puds et al over Christmas and New Year as ‘cheats’.
Of course, you will want some ‘cheats’ – you’re human, but set yourself some boundaries rather than going totally over the top and then feeling crap. Save your ‘cheats’ for the things you really like. I am not a fan of Christmas pudding or cake, I wouldn’t dream of eating it at any other time of the year, so I’m going to make my commitment that I won’t eat it. End of. Just like I won’t be drinking alcohol. Thinking about it, do I really like mince pies? No actually, so I won’t be eating those either. If unlike me, you do ‘crave’ all of the above then decide which one you want most and make that your ‘cheat’ (but be realistic and don’t have them all!).
If you find it hard to stop at one or two ‘cheats’ then you could also choose a better option, there are plenty of healthier sweet treats that don’t have the excess sugar in them, sure they still have sugar but there is a scale, and these are on the better end, and add in a few nutritious bits of protein and these will satisfy you more than empty calories:
Choose stuffed dates with walnuts, pecans, any nut you fancy. Also, if you pop dates in the freezer, they make a really delicious and satisfying sweet. Same as grapes and I also love frozen sweet cherries, buy them frozen and defrost a little before eating.
Make some snack balls! Also known as protein balls and the great thing about these is you can add in what you have. Usually made from nuts, seeds and a little dried fruit to bind together, also works well with a nut butter for binding and you could add in coconut, cacao powder or nibs, goji berries, a vanilla protein powder……you could also go super healthy and add a touch of spirulina! But it is Christmas! So, experiment, basically add all ingredients to a blender and get a fine consistency (ok to leave various textures and chunks in) just enough to form a ball. Then pop in the fridge or freezer for a short time to set. You can roll them in coconut, cacao, Matcha powder!
Chocolate bark – kind of like a Rocky Road but better! Just melt some good dark chocolate, 70% plus is the healthier option but go with what you enjoy. Melt and then pour it onto some baking paper and set on a flat surface, you want to create some kind of flat chocolate base, then add in some nuts, dried fruit, fresh berries, (raspberries work well), coconut flakes, the list is big, choose healthy options and the protein in the nuts will keep you satisfied much more so than devouring a tin of Quality Street!
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