Celll-e-brate! Good times! C’mon!
The excitement builds, yesterday’s plans don’t seem so important. After all, it’s only one day.
Dum dum dummmm. You just fell into an old story. It’s only one day.
Except you don’t like the ending of your story. You wanted to make different choices today.
There is no freedom when you are in bondage to old habits.
Celebrate your occasion not only feeling good about yourself but building healthy habits along the way. What you feed, grows.
In part 1, you found your ‘why’, made plans and promises, sought accountability, and did what you could beforehand to make this party a healthy success story.
Today, you are going to learn tips and tricks to use to reset your habits and enjoy the party while making healthy choices.
1 Connect for Weight Loss During Holidays
Remember why this is a special occasion. Connecting with the people you love is usually the most important part of the day. When special events become all about the food, you lose focus. Dig deep, the real reason you are there is to love and connect.
Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D. of Psychology Today says, Satisfying relationships not only make us happy, but they also influence our long-term health and longevity. This effect is not limited to romantic relationships; close friendships and social connections with family and members of your community can also help your health.”
Focusing on connection is a win-win.
2 Be in Control with a Light Snack
You’ve thought about what will be on the menu and maybe decided to bring some sides with you. Remember from part 1, not to skip meals the day of the event. To avoid hitting an appetizer layout ravenous, a light snack beforehand is a good idea.
3 B.Y.O.F. – Bring Your Own Food Tips
For many occasions, family gatherings, potlucks, dinner at friend’s homes it is acceptable and appreciated to bring a dish. A healthy side or main dish + dessert can carry you through an entire meal.
Meals often benefit from a salad. It’s an easy way to make any meal healthy. Pile your plate with your veggie-filled salad and add some protein. Do some of the sides look extra good? A small spoonful of one or two high-calorie, not so healthy side dishes isn’t going to ruin your health. But remember it’s okay to just have the salad and protein too.
If your host is making a salad, ask if it will already have a dressing on it. If so, ask if she can keep a portion aside for you, before adding the dressing. Then bring one of your own dressings, or a squeeze of fresh lemon with salt is delicious.
I particularly like to furnish a healthy dessert. Most meals will have a fairly healthy meat dish and some veggies, but the desserts are rarely healthy.
This way you don’t feel deprived. If you are the only one bringing dessert, bring a healthy dessert and a crowd-pleaser that has no temptation for you or at least not as much as your healthy dessert.
For example, I would bring a plate of paleo cookies and a lemon meringue pie. I can say no to lemon meringue all day long, but if I were to bring chocolate pudding pie, that would make my choice harder. I would probably end up using the paleo cookies to scope up the pie!
4 Evaluate Healthy Choices
When you arrive start looking at your choices. Fill up on veggies and protein that are packed with nutrients and are more filling. It is easier to make healthy choices when you aren’t hungry.
Look for whole foods as opposed to overly processed ingredients. Watermelon slices are better than fruit salad with marshmallows.
5 Use 80/20 Rules
Pay attention to your body and notice when you start to feel full. It can be hard at first but practice eating until you are 80% full. This will avoid the feeling of having eaten too much.
For some, it works to make your meal 80% healthy and 20% not-so-healthy. The healthy foods fill you up while the treats make it so you don’t feel deprived. Speaking of deprivation
6 Going without to Survive a Holiday Party
This may sound radical but stay with me. Some times, it’s okay not to eat anything.
You are at a child’s birthday party, wedding appetizer reception, business meeting, somewhere where the food offerings are limited, and it would be strange for you to bring your own food.
This may be a spur of the moment decision if you were expecting to find something healthy to eat and there is nothing but junk.
Another good reason to have a light snack before any event.
No one really notices what you are eating on these occasions. It is easy to sip on sparkling water, plain water, or coffee and cream. I promise you won’t faint or die by skipping this one meal.
You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to skip a meal when you are hydrated (see below).
To extreme? Low blood sugar? Choose the most filling, least sugary option and have a large enough serving to get you through the event.
7 Liquid Calories
You’ve heard it before. Don’t drink your calories. Alcoholic beverages are covered below, but you’ll want to avoid the sugar-filled drinks served up at parties. I have been to countless events where water wasn’t served at all.
True confessions: When I had P.O.D., our tap water triggered my rash. Now I am a water snob. I would almost prefer to go without a drink than to drink tap water.
But in a pinch, tap water is almost always available and a better choice to sodas, sweet tea, or lemonade.
In most cases, you can bring your own bottled water to add to the community cooler.
8 Stay hydrated
Try to get your 8 glasses of water in before the party and then drink water at the party. When you aren’t thirsty, your desire to consume liquid calories goes down.
This is also a great strategy for curbing water hunger. The body can draw water from food. When you are dehydrated the brain sends both thirst and hunger signals.
9 Adult Beverages
My friend says, “One glass of wine = no holds barred.” She knows that after a glass of wine all of her resolves dissolve. I agreed, one glass of wine really tests my will power. Two glasses and binging might begin.
Of course, you can always go without adult beverages, but there are ways to slow down this cycle while still enjoying some wine.
Here are three strategies that have worked for me:
- Mix your wine with water. Wine snobs will gasp, but over ice this is refreshing.
- After a glass of wine, drink a glass of water to slow and dilute you intake.
- Add ice to your glass. Then fill half with sparkling water and top off with the wine.
You don’t take in as many calories and it keeps you from drinking too much.
The last one is my favorite because it is light and delicious. You can drink these without impairing your will power.
10 Minding your Plate
Your meals are your business. You are the one who lives with your choices. If someone questions your eating habits or makes a hurtful comment, maybe they are unhappy with themselves.
Others will be supportive of your healthy choices. If they don’t, it is time to question their motives.
When you take 100% responsibility for your choices and feelings, then it doesn’t matter what they think or say.
Did they trigger you? Wonderful!! This is an opportunity to grow stronger in your resolve and confidence. Look at the negative stories you believe their comments say about you and turn them into a positive story.
11 Grazing is Gonna Get You
Grab a plate. There is no way for you to tell how much you are eating when you graze. It is amazing how many calories you can eat in a short amount of time.
It only takes 10 min to eat 500 calories or more in refined carbohydrates. If you have a plate then you can see how much you are eating and how balanced your meal is.
12 Smaller Plates for Bigger Gains
If you are like me, your eyes are bigger than your stomach. A small plate can keep your intake in check.
When there are only large plates available, use the inside of the plate and not the edges.
Bonus Tip: Don’t pile your plate. Choose small scopes of what looks best without overlapping. If you are still hungry, go back for the healthiest most delicious items. Or finish your hunger off with the healthy dessert you brought.
13 What to Say to Food Pushers
Like a reflex, you’ll want to have responses to friends and family that aren’t used to you eating differently at holidays.
Gush, thank, apologize, but let them know you aren’t eating vegetable oil, flour or sugar right now. That will cover almost every junk food out there.
It’s okay to say, “No thank you,” without an explanation. For those persistent food pushers, here are some responses to get you out of sticky situations.
Pusher: “Oh, come on! It’s a party.”
You: “That’s okay, I have had my lifetime quota of cheesecake. I just packed it into the last 40 years.”
Pusher: “Have you tried my creamy goulash? It’s a family favorite!”
You: “Not yet.”
Or “Oh, that looks and smells delicious! I would love to have some, but right now I am not eating _____. You are the greatest cook and I love you so much.”
Is it something you want to try? Have a bite! “Mmmm, so delicious!” It doesn’t mean you have to eat a whole plateful.
Other helpful responses
- I am allergic.
- I have an inflammation issue and that will trigger it.
- I prefer not to.
- I am eating clean this week.
- I am avoiding _____ this week.
Here is what Marc Hyman says to pushers, “I reply I’m here for the people, not the food. No one argues or feels insulted.”
On the other hand, why is this person pushing food?
- Do they need a ‘treat’ partner?
- This is how you’ve always spent time together in the past?
- Giving to you makes them feel good?
- Do they want to show their love with food?
Sometimes the hardest part is letting others know. After that, they expect you not to eat it. And they’ll probably be watching. 🙂 All the more motivation for you.
14 Bathroom Breaks Save the Day
If you’ve been hydrating you’ll need lots of these.
When you are at an occasion you may feel old temptations pushing in. This is the perfect time for a bathroom break. Give yourself a pep talk, take 10 deep breaths, relax, and remind yourself of your ‘why’.
Tell yourself you’ve got this, think of coming back to this blog post and leaving a comment on how you rocked that party.
Whatever you need to hear, this is the time to encourage your good choices and stand firm.
15 Focus on Tomorrow or Your Future Self
Be present at your event, but respect your future self. Remind yourself that this is just one day/meal.
You rarely regret your healthy choices. They make you feel good. They build momentum in your health journey. Imagine how good you will feel about your decisions tomorrow.
16 Move it to Lose it
You thought not eating was extreme. Options, ladies, options, remember you don’t have to do more than a few strategies from the whole list. Ben Greenfield a fitness guru recommends bathroom squats to get your metabolism going and burn carbs before an indulgent meal. 30 seconds worth of squats enhances your blood glucose response.
A 15 min. walk after the meal also burns through those excess calories and stabilizes blood sugar. Plus, you get some fresh air and it’s a nice way to spend time with family and friends.
17 Digestive Enzymes to the Rescue
If you’ve decided to go for it or indulge a little, I highly recommend digestive enzymes. Nothing makes an overstuffed stomach feel better like 2 digestive enzymes taken at the very beginning, middle, or even after a large meal.
Keep a small pillbox in your purse for those occasions. You’ll be grateful to have them when the meal is extra rich or your stomach is hurting
Bonus: Snap Decisions
Surprise! You didn’t have any lead time to plan.
- You helped out in your child’s classroom and you are thanked in the teacher’s lounge with a donut on a napkin. You are starving and just want to eat it.
- You go out to coffee with a friend and she orders brownies as a treat for you both. Now what?
- You’re at a friend’s house for dinner. The meal is loaded with fried foods, creamy sides, and her dessert is decadent. How is it possible to say no, you came for dinner and she made her specialties?
You have to follow your instincts. Will this completely derail your healthy eating habits? Next time can you talk to your friend before she plans dinner? Will you regret your choice?
You Only Fail When You Stop Trying
These are all lesson learned whatever action you choose. Even if you feel like you failed. ‘Failures’ can be your most valuable life lessons.
Different occasions call for different strategies. You choose, you’re in control. When we take care of our body, it takes care of us.
Weight loss is a side effect of healthy living which makes healthy ways – shapely ways.
How did your last holiday meal go? What were your successes? Would you do anything differently? What did you learn? Use this post as motivation for your next event and commit to leaving a comment on how it went afterward
Thank you for being here and chatting with me about all things health! I love and appreciate you more than you know!