5 Practical Tips to Survive the Holiday Party Season (without gaining weight)
You've been working hard to make healthy changes in our diet and you've added exercise to your daily schedule! You are feeling great, seeing some progress with your weight loss, but then...DUN DUN DUUUUN! Thanksgiving hits and healthy living has never been so hard! The average American gains 7-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas! Truth be told...sometimes I think I can gain that over the Thanksgiving weekend alone! So what can we do? Try out these 5 practical tips to help you navigate through the holiday party season without gaining 10 extra pounds!
Offer to Bring Something
There is nothing worse than arriving at a party and realizing there is not a single healthy option available. Once you start eating the unhealthy options, it usually begins with eating one chip and quickly escalates to half of the bowl. Offer to bring one or two healthy appetizers that are low in calories. Keeping the calories low, will allow you to mindlessly eat without completely wrecking your weight loss. Greek yogurt dips served with veggies or whole wheat pretzels are always a great option. (check out our Buffalo Chicken Dip or our Mediterranean Olive and Sun Dried Tomato Dip)
Eat BEFORE You Go
I know this may be the opposite of what you do and sound like a bad idea, but it's really one of the most helpful tips. Most people tend to starve themselves all day, knowing they will be eating and drinking that evening, but stepping foot inside a Holiday Party when you are famished is a recipe for disaster! When we are hungry, we make really bad food choices and we tend to over eat!
Before heading to the party, eat a filling meal with complex carbs, healthy fats and lots of protein. This will keep you feeling full longer with healthy foods, so that you won't be tempted to go crazy with the food at the party. I always eat a big meal before I go to parties and I am usually so full, I rarely eat anything at the party. You have to remember that most appetizers and holiday party foods are high in sugar and fat - both of which can wreck havoc with a healthy eating program.
The second reason to eat before you go is that it is never a good idea to drink alcohol on an empty stomach. Do not underestimate the amount of bad food choices you can make when alcohol is involved. If you haven't eaten all day, any alcohol you drink is going to move pretty fast through your system and all of your self control will be lost. Remember, eat a heathy meal before you go!
Watch Your Alcohol Intake
The last point leads me directly into this one. Alcohol has a lot of calories and it is usually paired with high sugar mixers such as simple syrup and high calorie juices. I always tell my ladies at the gym, there is a reason that they call it a "beer belly," and to be completely honest, the "freshman 15" is is not because it's the first time your college students have eaten french fries or mac and cheese...hummmmm (I know you moms of college kids just had a light bulb go off).
Well, what can you do then? Limit your drinks to low sugar options, be wise with the amount you consume during the party, and drink lots of water! I can't emphasize enough the importance of drinking lots of water while you are at your holiday parties. Alcohol acts as a diuretic, which causes dehydration and that wonderful hangover the next morning. Web Md suggests drinking at least 8 ounces of water for every beverage containing alcohol.
Here are some more practical tips:
- The website Get Drunk Not Fat (GDNF) that has an app you can download on your phone and it gives you the calories, alcohol content and grades a variety of drinks so you can eliminate the guess work.
- Vodka, tequila, gin, rum and whiskey all have 96 calories per 1.5 ounces. Try mixing these with low sugar options, like a vodka seltzer with lime.
- Fit Vine makes wine that has less sugar, calories, carbs and sulfates than other wines. A 5 ounce glass is less than 100 calories!
- Remember seltzers, diet sodas, crystal light, and fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice are all good low calorie options to use as mixers in drinks.
- Ask for your mixed drinks with no added sugar and you can add a packet of stevia to taste.
- Here are some recipes for mixed drink options all under 150 calories.
Don't Derail Your Fitness Routine
The holiday season gets crazy, and when time becomes precious, we tend to drop exercise from our to-do list. Make sure you carve out time to keep exercising, Not only will it help you burn calories and boost your metabolism, it will help you feel better mentally as well. Exercise is a great stress reliever - and we all know stress can steal the joy right out of the holiday season! Make a commitment to yourself that you will continue to exercise through the month of December. Your January body will thank you for it!
Make Good Choices Throughout the Week
Eating healthy Monday through Friday will help keep you on track! On the other hand, if you are eating Christmas cookies all week, you are really going to be in trouble once the weekend rolls around and you have holiday parties. Try to control what you CAN control...which means, during the week keep your house stocked with healthy food and get rid of the sugary temptations that can destroy your weight loss gains. Remember that you will eat what is in your house, so stock it full of good stuff!
The holiday season is one short month, but a lot of damage can be done in that short time! Try to stay focused! Think about what your goal is for the new year! You can do this!