by Arinola Adeniyi
“It takes 21 days to make or break a habit.”
Yes, that is a very popular cliché this festive season! But I implore you not to encourage me along those lines this year!
Virtually every one you connect with this season will tell you ‘just this once does not matter’! Then you eventually realise that ‘just this once’ applies to and translates to every day of the holiday season (probably from December 20, 2012 or earlier till January 6, 2013). There are lots of events and festive occasions to partake of, viz:
• Office Christmas Party
• Regular Open House
• Christmas carols in different homes
• End of year thanksgiving gig
• Wine-carrying ceremonies
• Birthday parties
• Annual thanksgiving
• Annual family reunion
• Annual village reunion etc
The list is endless, but I’m sure you get the drift. Most of these events come with plenty of foods, desserts and drinks. These eventually result in weight gain, since you have followed the ‘just this once’ bandwagon.
Meanwhile, everything around you is also on holidays including your exercise and healthy eating habits. You have also conveniently forgotten that all throughout the year, you have allowed yourself so many ‘just this once’ on your birthday, on your spouses’ birthday, at your children’s’ birthday party (all four of them, ok, three!), wedding cake, giving in to some of your cravings, wedding cakes, sampling ice cream from the ice cream parlor that all kids and adults queue up to buy, the small chops at parties, name it. Have you not totally exhausted the permissible indulgences for the year before the holidays? Ok, let’s assume you have been good and your only ‘just this once’ will be during the festive period.
I am pondering, if it is worth undoing all the good you have engaged in, in the last few months to be on the healthy path. By the time you add all the calories over the 3-week period together, you are probably back to square one! Anything you do consistently for 21 days becomes a habit. We all know that once we go on that route, it takes so long to get back on course.
Is craving or will power the culprit for us being easily influenced to give in to the ‘just this once’ coaxing.
Tips for not being easily swayed to ‘just this once’ moments during the festive period:
• Moderation is the key. Ensure your indulgences are not overtly excessive.
• Portion control is key. Enjoy your favourite foods in controlled portion.
• Watch your alcohol intake. They pack on a lot of calories.
• Share your favourite desserts into 3 and eat only one portion.
• Do not arrive at the functions/parties hungry and starving.
• Picture yourself healthy. Always have a picture of a healthy self image of yourself.
• Dance at the parties/functions instead of focusing on the foods. You’d probably burn some calories dancing!
• Bring out your food diary and begin to record all you are eating. It would be a good reference point when you cannot button you skirt or pair of trousers in January as a result of your expanded waist line!
Please, do not get me wrong, I would probably have my ‘just this once’ moments as well, but I am determined not to let them run the full course of the whole festive period. I do not intend let it become my habit. I cannot afford to let ‘just this once’ ruin all the good works I have done throughout the year.