Thanks again for everyone’s amazing nutrition questions-if I haven’t got to your questions yet, don’t worry, I’m still making my way through the list over the next few weeks. That being said, we’re knee deep into the holiday party season, so I figured I’d send out this tip from last year about some great ways to get through the season, without being a scrooge-enjoy!
When it comes to holiday parties, and all of the great dishes, sweets and drinks (both alcoholic and non), it’s no wonder why so many of us have setbacks this time of year. There’s many approaches you can take when it comes to holiday parties-you can:
- Throw up the white flag, have a great 3-4 weeks, and just get back after your fitness goals on January 1st along with the rest of the country.
- Roll into a party with your nose up, water bottle in hand, along with your own little sack of carrots and hummus, refusing to eat or drink anything offered at the party (if you go this route, you really need to ensure that you are vocal about not partaking and that everyone within 10 feet of you knows that you are judging anyone who would sully their body with all this “bad” holiday food)
The Real Rules
In case you can’t tell, I am obviously being sarcastic, although many people do try one of these 2 extremes over the holidays (although most people use a modified form of #2 either not going to parties, or still avoiding the foods, but being low-key about it). Of course there is a better option and it’s all about balance. Here are some of my go to tips so that you can enjoy the holidays, without sabotaging all your fat loss and performance efforts.
- Never go to a party on an empty stomach. It should be obvious why, but the last thing you want to do is load up on a bunch of calorie dense foods and drinks because you’re famished. I recommend eating a big snack/small meal 1-2 hours before your party-making sure you get some healthy fats and lean protein so that you stay satiated longer. This will help you select party foods that you actually want to eat and will help you select smaller portions.
- Take a small amount of everything you want-don’t deprive yourself. It’s all about balance and portion control. If you don’t actually enjoy yourself at a holiday party, eventually you’re going to become resentful, burn out, and the pendulum will come swinging back with a vengeance, setting you back even further. So take what you want! However, you do want to be aware of your portions, so keep them smaller. Having a plate with variety on it also keeps other party goers off your back. It’s a cold, hard fact-people that aren’t working on their fitness goals resent those who are. If people can tell you’re trying to avoid certain foods, they’ll give you a hard time. So put what you want on your plate and they won’t bug you, making it easier to hit your long term goals.
- Make your drink last at least 30 minutes and have a water between each one. Alcohol not only has a lot of empty calories, but it also leads us to make poor food choices (have you ever taken a late night trip to Dee’s?). Non-alcoholic drinks are just as bad, since they’re loaded with sugars that wreak havoc on our blood sugar, also leading us to crave sub-optimal foods. Be smart and make your drink enjoyable for a longer time-leading to less overall drinks. This method also keeps friends off your case as we discussed in #2-they aren’t counting your drinks, they are just noticing if you have one or not. Mixing water in between each drink not only keeps you hydrated, but also helps you limit the total number of drinks you’re craving.
- Commit to the 80/20 Rule. If you eat right 80% of the time, and enjoy yourself the other 20%, you’ll still make progress towards your goals. The key over the holidays is making sure you save your 20% for the times it counts. For example, if you have a company party on Thursday, you don’t want to eat 2 pieces of pie after dinner on Tuesday. If you’re planning on a family Christmas dinner, don’t go through a pint of haagen-dazs while you watch “Love Actually” on the 22nd.
And speaking of holiday parties, I’d like to personally invite all of you to my annual “Rock Your Socks Musical Christmas Celebration”. Mike Ballif and I will be kicking off the Christmas season next Tuesday night, December 19th at 7:30PM at 212 with an hour of Christmas carols. Last year’s event was awesome, and we’d love to have you join us this year. Feel free to come and go as you would like, we’ll have some light refreshments, and anyone and everyone of all ages are welcome. We’ll also be collecting socks to donate to local charities. We hope to see you there!