Your social calendar is probably already lined up through the New Year. And you may already be dreading the weight creep and the guilt that accompanies it. The good news is that you can navigate the holidays without waist expansion and pinching belt-lines. Here’s how:
Eat a salad. Before you go to a party, take time to eat a salad. It may sound counter intuitive to eat more in order to eat less. But if you eat before the party begins you won’t arrive famished. You’ll be able to make better decisions about the food and drink you choose to imbibe. And, you’ll already have had some greens, so no matter what the feast food looks like, you’ll have already fed your body something healthy.
Drink water. When your body cries out for water, sometimes it feels like hunger pains rather than thirst. You should be drinking enough water every day to equal half your body weight in ounces. (You are doing this, right?) On the day of the party, drink water to ensure that you are well hydrated. You won’t overeat as much, and your body will be able to better handle the effects of alcohol.
Drink wine by the glass. When you are at a party, keep up with the amount you drink. If you are the designated driver, it’s the only safe thing to do. And, it saves embarrassment, hangovers and your waistline. A standard glass of wine is 5 ounces. Get one of your own wine glasses, and measure 5 ounces of liquid into it. This is what you are aiming for. Decide beforehand how many 5-ounce pours of wine you’ll be drinking and stick to it. I tell my clients who are trying to lose weight to drink one glass but not two. That way, they can indulge without over-indulging. Don’t let people “top off” your glass because you’ll have no idea how much you drink. If you have wine left over, don’t feel the need to polish it off. Vacu-Vin it and save it for another day.
Put your food on a plate. Visit the food buffet, decide what foods you want to eat, take a reasonable servings, and put them on a plate. Remember, you’ve already had a salad, so you shouldn’t be starving. Go for small servings of rich indulgences – a bite or two, and more of the healthier foods. Once you have filled your plate, move away from the buffet and plan not to go back. And whatever you do, don’t stand beside the potato chip bowl, munching while you are talking.
Take a bowl of greens. Have you ever noticed at a pot-luck dinner that all the foods are over-the-top? Everything has added stuff – cream sauces and glazes and icing and crunchy toppings. Simple dishes of greens are always welcome and get scooped up quickly. Green beans, or a salad or some other form of green vegetables are easy to make and take. Then you’ll know you have the option of putting something healthy on your plate because you brought it yourself.
The best reason to attend a holiday party is for the laughter, conversation, and companionship of people whose company you enjoy. Yes, holiday fare can be divine, and it’s OK to indulge a bit. Just keep your head and be thoughtful about what you eat and drink. Do it for yourself: your waist, your health, and your safety, and your happiness.
Camille Watson is a health educator, speaker and published author of the book Eight Steps to a Real-Foods Kitchen. Her passion is to give individuals and groups the knowledge and tools they need to take back their health. If you are interested in learning more about achieving health through delicious, whole foods and lifestyle transformations, email firstname.lastname@example.org to attend one of her cooking classes or to schedule your free consultation.