by Christine Hunt
It is that time of year again.
In other words – it is PARTY TIME!
For some people each week brings party invitations and the anticipation of getting together with friends, family and co-workers and an opportunity to relax, let loose and laugh. These times combine great fun and great food.
Oh yeah, the food. For some of us this is terrifying because it means the inevitable result of putting on the pounds you have worked so hard to lose throughout the entire year.
But all is not lost. It is possible to enjoy the fun without gaining the weight. Below are some doable and sensible ideas as to how you can accomplish this.
1. Eat Before Celebrating
Instead of skipping a meal during the day to “save the calories” for the party, just eat a meal before you go. It doesn’t have to be huge, but make it something that will take the edge off of your hunger so that when you see the feast spread before you, you don’t go bonkers and fill up your plate. A combination of foods that are high in fiber, somewhat starchy and some protein and fat will satiate you and help to curb the cravings. If you don’t have time to stop at home before the party, stop by the deli section of the grocery store and choose something that is full of veggies or maybe a hearty, hot soup.
2. Drink Water First
Let’s face it. Water takes up space. It fills you up. When you get to the party, ask your host/hostess for a tall glass of water first. You can make it sparkling water and add a slice of lemon or lime (which will alkalize it). Drink this before going to the food table and you won’t be as inclined to eat as much. The only thing you will gain is peace of mind.
3. Chew Slowly
This will help give your body and mind the time to register that you are getting full. The food at parties is usually not your average, every day fare, so savor each bite because it might be another year before you can partake again. Oh, and while you are chewing, move away from the table so you are not tempted to reach for more right away.
4. Use The Small Plates
Have you ever heard the saying that people will fill the space that they have? If you have an empty garage, sooner or later it will be full of stuff. The same goes for your party plate. We tend to load it up to overflowing because, let’s face it, everything looks and tastes so good! Choose a small plate and when you have finished what is on it wait a bit and check in with how full you are. If you want more then you can go back for a little at a time. That way your eyes are never bigger than your stomach.
5. Fill Up On Fiber
Head for the raw fruit and vegetable trays first and hold the dips. Eating raw foods fills you with fiber and are the lowest calorie choices of the entire spread. You can eat more and feel fuller so that the other sweets and fat laden foods aren’t your main focus.
6. Bring Your Own
Some party hosts request that you bring a dish to share. If this is the case then bring something that you feel comfortable eating and that is healthier and more filling than the basic cheese and crackers. Your favorite flavor hummus or bean dip with veggies is a great option.
7. Eat Healthy Fats
Your body needs fats but make sure that what you indulge in during the festivities have the healthy ones. It’s okay to eat nuts, avocado, fish and other foods with healthy fats. Try dipping fresh veggies in guacamole for a satisfying treat.
That is bring your own beverage. You can bring a container of a lower calorie option than beer, wine or alcohol. Water infused with lemon, lime, cucumber or a fruit mixture is tasty and satisfying. Or bring along a batch of your favorite iced tea and share it with others who would like to keep the calories from alcohol at a minimum. Keeping a clear head also avoids losing your inhibitions around foods.
9. Indulge a Little
It is okay to have a little bit of something you know you shouldn’t – like a cookie, a bit of candy or that wonderful fruit cake that is only available during the Holidays. When we deny ourselves something that we want, we usually end up feeling deprived, which makes the desire for it even greater. So, satisfy your craving a little bit, chalk it up as a treat and feel good about it and yourself.
10. Keep It Positive
Even if you do overindulge, don’t beat yourself up about it. Changing dietary habits takes time. Focus on what you did right – the good foods you ate – and decide to do more of that the next time. Make a commitment to change one eating habit per week and before you know it you will be reaching for the healthy stuff first- and enjoying it more!
Enjoy spending time with friends and loved ones, but most of all, fill yourself up with laughter, love and the joy of the season.
Christine Hunt is a Wellness Coach and Consultant and Certified EFT Practitioner. To get help managing your weight and eliminating cravings, contact her for a free 15 minute consultation to learn how she can help you.