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It’s a week until Christmas Day, all your Christmas shopping is done AND wrapped and sitting neatly under your tree. Your Christmas food shopping is all pre-ordered from Marks and Spencer, the kids outfits for Christmas Day are all bought, ironed and neatly stacked away in their wardrobes (in their rooms, which they have kept tidy and clean as instructed). Your mother-in-law has called a few times to check everything is in order for the big day, your husband has written a list of his jobs for the next week and double checked it with you to make sure it’s correct.

^^ ERRRMMM…. Sorry to burst your bubble but we all know that’s fantasy…
So…you’ve just had a massive argument with a complete stranger in Argos over an Xbox game, after shouting at the shop assistant for no real reason other than you’ve not eaten for 8 hours, whilst your mother-in-law is on the phone asking you if you’ve managed to make the cranberry sauce yet.

Meanwhile, the cat has just torn the other half of the Christmas tree down (you know, the half that the dog HASN’T ripped apart yet) which landed on a candle and nearly set your house on fire. Your husband then asks you where the dinner is!!??!

So, after losing the rag with him again because he hasn’t wrapped the presents that were in the bedroom cupboard that you ASKED him to wrap while you had the kids out, you swiftly grab some “mystery dinner” from the freezer and fling it at him shouting “5 minutes on HIGH (you f***ing idiot)”.

The kids have just added ANOTHER thing to Santa’s list and you’re already in your overdraft… you have a list of things to do longer than your entire BODY, with presents still to buy and the Asda shop still to do. How the hell are you going to get all this stuff done done before next Thursday? (or, Wednesday, …because let’s be honest – nothing gets done on Christmas Eve except eating)?

Well girls,

Fear not… because my gift to you comes in the form of this blog…

“The Ditch the Diet Survival Guide for Women (who are stressed out their tits) 2015”

I’m going to break it down into bullet points for you, under the headings of “Family, Food, Fitness and Miscellaneous Practical Crap”

Starting with family, because they’re the most annoying…

Family

- Keep children occupied in the week leading up to Christmas. They’re hyper already, they finish school soon and then you’re going to be DEMENTED with them under your feet. They have LOTS of energy – you need to tire them out so you can get other stuff done. Take them places, take them to THE MOST HORRENDOUS place on Earth – the soft play. Let them burn off all their excitement whilst you sit and have an overpriced VILE tasting cup of tea. Do something productive in the meantime like last minute online shopping on your phone, or writing lists of what still needs done.

- Your husband or partner is going to get in the way, if you let them. You can stop this by giving them a SPECIFIC list of what he needs to do (or she). This list needs to be extremely specific otherwise they won’t do it right, or they just won’t do it at all. For example, instead of just writing “wrap the presents that are in the bedroom cupboard” – you must write “wrap the 4 presents that are in the bedroom cupboard. The wrapping paper is in the hall cupboard, the scissors are in the kitchen drawer. The sellotape is also in the kitchen drawer next to the scissors. You can wrap them on the bedroom floor, make sure there is lots of room. Once you have wrapped them, put them BACK in the cupboard and put the paper, scissors and sellotape BACK where you got them from”. Hoover bedroom carpet.

- Reward your husband with food and/or sex when he does something perfect from his list. Husbands and partners (male OR female) should be treated like puppies. Reward them when they are good. Ignore them when they are bad.

- If you have a crap husband, or partner (trying to keep myself equality correct here) – buy YOURSELF a really good present, wrap it, write the tag on it as if they bought it for you…and unwrap it on Christmas Day. It saves him the bother and it saves you the heartache of getting a new kettle or a steam mop on Christmas morning (because apparently that is what you REALLY NEEEEEEEEED).

- Enough about men. The kids are going to have jobs too – make them fun, so that they feel involved in the Christmas planning. You could give them jobs like fixing the tree from when the cat ripped all the bobbles off… or ask them to draw Father Christmas a nice picture to give to him on Christmas Eve. Or something like that. Do not allow them to get bored. Because that is when YOU will get pissed off. Plan activities for each day. Do it now.

Food

- As well as all the festive food – make sure you have a store of GOOD food in the house too. You’re going to sicken yourself of chocolate at some point and you must have decent, real food in the house too. Otherwise you’re going to feel sick, bloated and rank for a week (maybe two) and complain when your jeans don’t fit you in January.

- Buy NORMAL food when you do your Christmas shop. Buy foods that you usually get in your weekly shop, because nobody wants to eat mince pies and pigs in blankets for a week. And you’re going to get fed up of turkey at some point. Normality. Make sure it is restorable. Plan for this.

- Use your slow cooker. It is PERFECT for busy days like these. Shove all your ingredients in it in the morning, get all your stuff done during the day… don’t panic about dinner. Easy.

- Batch cook some soup, some chilli or stew and FREEZE it. ^^ See *eating normal food when you’re fed up with turkey* It’s always good to have emergency dinners in the freezer, but particularly at this time of year when you get a case of the “can’t be arsed”.

- Plan when you’re going to have indulgence foods. Don’t just have them lying around the house for weeks. You WILL open the tin, and you WILL have “just one more” strawberry cream from the tin of Quality Street. Before you know it you will feel sick again. And probably guilty. Control yourself, plan when you’re going to have little indulgences, and stick to plan the rest of the time.

- Have lots of yummy fruit around, it kills the sugar cravings just as good as Lindor – and it has nutrients. Double bonus. It’ll stop you from getting those horrible sugar highs and crashes too.

Fitness

- Believe it or not, gyms don’t actually close down for 2 weeks over Christmas. I know… SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM… I have just removed all your excuses for not exercising! In fact, most fitness centres have (albeit reduced) class timetables in between Christmas and New Year. PLAN YOUR WORKOUTS ahead of time. Organise for pain in the arse (husband or partner) to be available to look after the children and get a workout in. Something you enjoy. Anything
– No gym? No problem. See those stairs in your house? Run up and down them 10 times, 3 times a day. OR, dig out your Davina DVD that you got for Christmas LAST year and actually do it. Her DVDs aren’t actually too bad – plus you get to see Davina in lycra. Double bonus yet again.

- Make time for yourself and DO NOT FEEL SELFISH because you want to exercise. You need this. You time.

- Plan. I’m saying this again. Pick up your local centres’ Christmas fitness timetable and plan the classes that you can get to in between Christmas and New Year. Not only will it keep you sane, it will keep you motivated come January so you don’t need to join all that New Year, New Me rubbish. And get them booked too, no excuses then.

Miscellaneous Random Practical stuff

- You have lots of Christmas nights out coming up, or family get-togethers and you want to feel really GOOD in your outfits. So here’s a tip – get your outfit/s and hang them up in your bedroom where they are in FULL VIEW every time you walk in. You want to feel nice in that frock, and seeing it will remind you not to open the biscuit tin but to have something decent instead… yes?

- Wear your BEST clothes, your BEST jewellery and your BEST perfume at all times. Don’t wait for special days or occasions. Break em out now and get glammed up as much as possible. Makes you feel good!

- Make time for yourself. You have organised all this – presents, dinner, children, other half, wrapping, cooking… the list is endless. You need to be a little bit selfish and make sure you take AT LEAST 10-15 minutes to yourself. Go lie down, get a glass of wine, chill.

- Give yourself a DEADLINE – for example, 6pm on the 23rd where everything that’s not done, won’t get done now anyway. Once it goes 6pm, that’s IT. What’s not done – doesn’t matter. Now you can relax.

- EMERGENCY PRESENTS: Have a reserve of presents in your house, wrapped. Things like boxes of chocs, bottles of wine and a couple of kid things… just in case someone pops over with a gift but you haven’t got them anything. Problem solved. Nobody likes to be in that squirmy position, do they? Here, have a bottle of wine – shut up.

- Make sure your husband knows your “CODE WORD” (this can be any word at all – ANYTHING). This is an emergency word to be used on Christmas Day when you are with all your family – especially the really annoying ones. When you say this word, your husband knows that they must take over control of the house whilst you get a small glass of wine and go lie down for half an hour. Or an hour. Or however long it takes you to stop wanting to hang your mother in law from the staircase with some curling ribbon leftover from her present. You must not be disturbed, and that is okay.

- Buy lots of toilet paper. You’ll all be in the house a lot more than usual, eating a lot more than usual. Stockpile the toilet roll. Trust me.

- While we’re on that subject, get a decent stock of Imodium, Pepto Bismol, Gaviscon and peppermint tea. You’re going to need it at some point. A decent air freshener for the bog might be a good plan too (Febreeze). Oh and Alka Seltzer.

- Fill up with petrol / diesel a few days before Christmas.

And finally,

Be prepared NOT to feel good in your clothes after Christmas and New Year and have an ACTION PLAN for what you’re going to do about it.

Let’s face it, I can sit here and write about how you need to NOT eat this and NOT eat that, and not drink any alcohol – but – I am not that type of coach. I want you to ENJOY the festive season, within reason, and limit damage as much as possible.

But, you WILL feel a bit bloated, tired, sluggish and generally exhausted (if you don’t already). So make sure you have an action plan in place for the New Year to combat that.

Christmas is a time to tell the people you love, that you love them. So tell them. It is a time to be grateful for all the little things. We get so caught up in the material things at this time of year that we forget what it is really all about. And I’m not talking religion here, because I’m not religious. Enjoy the time you have with your family, even though they piss you off a bit. It’s special. It doesn’t happen often.

So..

Eat (whole foods)

Drink (water)

and

Be Merry

And if you’re looking for an action plan to follow after the festive season is over? You don’t need to look any further….

Join Rachael’s next Ditch the Diet group in Leigh, Lancashire with her free information evening on Wednesday 6th January at 7pm at Higher Folds Community Centre. Find out more here: www.ditchthedietuk.com/rachael-watson-leigh-manchester


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