Locals as well as Expats have booked something concerning travel and/ or food. Restaurants roll out their seemingly decadent Holiday packages with more courses than one hand has digits or offer buffets which for some reason usually include a lot of gold foil on desserts. And although it does not really snow in Hong Kong, the weather gets dry and at times nippy.
With that comes the higher demand for warm beverages, comfort food and comfort in general (see Snuggies, electric blankets, hotpot, staying in with Netflix). Things are slowing down towards the end of the year but it should not mean that one should stop taking care of oneself. Who wants to be part of the masses of poor sods who try to compensate a surplus of calories from holiday bingeing with overly ambitious gym related New Year's resolutions?
- Beware of buffets
Buffets are generally mindfucks. If you and your loved ones decide to celebrate at a restaurant choose a course menu over a buffet menu. A course menu does the portioning for you. The portions can still be too big but the selection is more limited and easier to manage and resist.
- Cruise control off, portion control on
No matter if courses or a a buffet are served still mind portion control. If you end up at an event that is buffet style just heap on a few spoonfuls of the dishes which tickle your fancy on your plate. Arrange those small heaps on your plate clearly like the colour palette of a painter. Stop putting food on your plate once it starts looking less orderly and cluttered. That way you can satisfy your inner 5-year-old but eat like a grown-up.
- Do not leave the house hungry
Exposing yourself to tempting delicious food and not inhaling it all is a matter of impulse control. Hunger is potent impulse driver. A common misguided strategy is for people to skip meals when they know that there is a feast ahead so they have a bit of leeway when calorie transgression starts happening. Instead fo supplying some wiggle room and basically an excuse to eat more, give yourself an edge by already by lining your stomach with a little bit of healthy food beforehand to prevent yourself from overdosing on the decadent stuff.
- Harness the power of fibre
Speaking of healthy food. If there are veggies and healthy tubers on the menu load up on them. A holiday feast should not lack nutrients and healthy fibres. Having those in the system will allow you to keep the sinful stuff at a minimum without missing out on them.
- A little bit of fitness goes a long way
As Andy Williams sang: "It's the most wonderful time of the year." Yeah, people are getting comfy and everything is slowing down, nevertheless remember you are still human and humans do not hibernate. So keep moving. It's ok to slow down but don't stop entirely. If you can squeeze in a 15 minute walk or do a mild workout here and then, for the sake of your future well-being and mindset, do it.
- Be mindful
Although it's every year this is still a special occasion. It is not necessary to go full on Christian mode especially if you are not one but be aware of what you have, the people who want to spend time with you and the food you have been blessed with. That should get your mind and your gob off auto-pilot.
- Easy on the booze
View alcohol as liquid dessert. It is easy to forget that alcoholic drinks have calories at all. So here's a reminder: a pint of beer has the same amount of calories as a bag of crisps (or chips as Americans would say), a martini same as a coke, and a glass of wine equals 3 Oreo cookies calorie-wise.
- Socialize and be merry
If you can move about the room or around the table and get talking. More talking, less eating. It's part of the celebration itself: Connecting with friends and family, and not just the food.
- Outside of festivities stay junk free
So you have survived the companies Christmas dinner but there's already a brunch looming on Christmas Day. During those days in between try to be good. Keep your pantry free of eggnog, cookies, sweets or other gingerbread atrocities. As with alcohol those items shall only be partaken of in company.
- Enjoy yourself
Even if you do not care much that it's the birthday of little divine Jewish kid, that this millennium turns 17 or that a rooster is taking over from a monkey, it is an opportunity to celebrate and share some joy. So eat, drink and be merry.