It is holiday party time! What does that bring to mind for you? Lots of fun seeing friends? Neighborhood cookie swaps? Dreading your spouse’s office party? “OMG, how much weight will I gain THIS year?”
Holiday parties generally involve lots of food, and for some people, weight gain. But you don’t have to gain weight to enjoy the holiday party season, holidays dinners, cookie swaps and the like.
You can actually enjoy holiday parties more if you don’t come away from them with indigestion or a hangover. Imagine that! How and how much we eat have a much bigger impact on our weight than do our food choices.
Here are some tips to help you make the most of the holiday party season:
Arrive hungry but not ravenous. So many “diet mentality” articles advise you to eat before you go to a party. This is a very bad idea unless you know that the host doesn’t serve foods you like or can eat. Seriously, do you really want to rely upon willpower at a party? The last thing you want to do is to walk into a house wafting with delicious smells, have already eaten, and either white-knuckle it the whole time (how miserable is that?) or eat when you’re not hungry.
Scope out what is being served, and eat your favorite foods first. Yes, eat the foods you love! Try to eat a balance of healthy foods and purely pleasure ones. Don’t place any food off-limits unless you have food allergies or other similar reasons for not eating it. Loving it is not one of those reasons! Don’t deprive yourself. That just makes you want the food that much more.
Pause before you decide what to eat. Are you still hungry? Is this really worth eating? Don’t eat foods just because they’re there. Make sure they’re worthy of going into your body either for nutritional or pleasure reasons.
Eat slowly and savor each bite. Avoid the urge to quickly pop a canapé in your mouth or toss back a handful of chips all at once. This is holiday food, and it is probably more calorie-dense and less healthy than your normal diet. Enjoy every delicious mouthful.
Stop eating before you’re stuffed. It feels crappy being stuffed to the gills, and can cause heartburn and indigestion. Plus if you eat too much, your body will definitely store some of what you ate as fat. If you pay attention to what you’re eating and savor each bite, you should be satisfied with less. So stop when your body is satisfied, when it has had enough.
Go easy on the booze. Eggnog, wassail, beer, and the like are very filling, so treat alcoholic beverages (and nonalcoholic punch and eggnog) like other foods. Enjoy them, but do so mindfully and in moderation.
Enjoy the people at the party as much as the food and drink. Isn’t the reason for most social events to have fun interactions and connections with people we care about? Focus on that aspect of the party as much as the eating. Yes, I realize that some parties are obligatory, but set an intention to find someone interesting to engage in conversation.
You can do this! You can enjoy holiday parties and eat your favorite foods without overeating. You’ll feel better if you do!
For additional information about how to eat what you love while you melt down to your naturally healthy weight, grab my free guide, 8 Secrets for Permanent Weight Loss.