Published on Byrdie.com
The best way to survive a holiday party is to know what you are walking into. How many times are you checking ingredients and menus before a work lunch? Being as prepared for your holiday parties allows you to make decisions ahead of time and stick to your guns. Be a detective, will there be a full meal or tray passed appetizers only? Will there be beer and wine or a full bar? Is a potluck? If so, you’re in luck! Bring a gilt free plate.
Commit to a game plan
Devising your plan allows you to relax and enjoy the company of friends. If you have a hard time committing, put your allowance into a food tracker before you go or let your work bestie know your plan out loud. Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, did a study on goal-setting with 267 participants. She found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down.
Earn your Alcohol
Make a pact with yourself that you will workout the day of the event and the day after. A little hangover can throw you off your game and get you out of your healthy routine. The perfect time to workout would be 2-3 hours before the event, followed by a protein based snack, then hair and makeup. If you don’t have time to work out right before the event, no sweat, before work or midday works too. It is all about staying active and making room in your muscles to suck up the extra holiday glucose.
Don’t go Hungry
Arrive feeling balanced by ingesting 15-20 g of protein before the party. Protein and fat help to balance blood sugar and make us feel satiated. This strategy helps you to not feel ravenous and grab the first tray passed appetizer without thinking. If you feel bloated when you eat or want to balance your blood sugar quickly without a full tummy, consider a packet of clean protein powder and a blender bottle. BeWELL clients affectionately coined this technique the “roadie” and enjoy a light protein shake on the way to their event. Arriving with balanced blood sugar allows you to feel calm avoiding the holiday party pitfalls or calorie laden desserts and appetizers.
The easiest way to hydrate and take a deep breath is to make your first drink alcohol free. Grab a soda water with lemon or flat water, this technique allows you to work through the first few party jitters without sucking down a cocktail too quickly. It is also nice to survey the party and recommit to your game plan, you might even decide that you don’t want to waste a boozy night at this party. Starting with water is also sometimes easier than trying to put the wine down. Find what works for you, a water intermission or double fisting (water and cocktail) are both great strategies as well.
Appetizers can quickly add up to a full meal and some fried options can be a real calorie bomb. If you know you are going to enjoy the main course politely decline the small morsels. However, if you are in need of a little sustenance grab for protein based appetizer. The best options include anything that belongs on a seafood tower, a mini lamb chop or chicken skewer. The veggie tray and hummus can be a great option unless you’re the gril who eats the whole bowl…you know who you are!? Avoid fried, quiche and flat bread options these appetizers spike blood sugar and contribute to insulin resistance, inflammation and weight gain. If the appetizers are set up on a table grab a small plate and fill it once, if you have come prepared and calm, grab your wine and float to the opposite side of the room. Remember: you are there to enjoy your friends and celebrate, enjoy a DMC (deep meaningful conversation) not a crab cake.
At beWELL, we encourage our clients to make a choice between alcohol and dessert. Many clients are also surprised when we suggest a small piece of dark chocolate over a fruit plate. Partygoers who choose fruit allow themselves a pretty large portion when one bite of chocolate would hit the spot without the added fructose. Unfortunately, 100% of fructose is metabolized in the liver and with alcohol and fructose both filtering primarily to the liver we are taxing the body with a heavy post party detox.
Do what’s right for you.
Many times we eat out of anxiety, habit or polite response. We end up swallowing foods that don’t agree with us, give us food gilt or worse, we eat foods we don’t even like! At beWELL, we teach are client to remember what they love and politely decline what doesn’t agree with them. This takes practice but it always helps to be the first to respond. Make eye contact with the server and politely decline so you don’t jump on the ban wagon with the group. Avoid making excuses why you aren’t eating the crab cake or cupcake, simply smile and engage back in conversation.
be WELL. be BEAUTIFUL. be YOU.