Diana Kelly Levey

Here’s How to Make Smart Choices at Holiday Parties

November 14, 2017 | Categories:

If your calendar is packed with holiday parties, get-togethers with friends, and family gatherings, you know you’re going to be faced with food and drink temptations. I talked to weight loss expert, Liz Josefsberg for her experts tips on navigating the holiday parties and staying on track with your healthy eating and exercise plan so you don’t head into the new year with a gain.

Buffet the right way.

Take a walk through the buffet to see what your options are before getting in line with your plate. You’re only going to get in this buffet line one time so make sure you’ve left room on your plate for the foods you’re most excited to eat. Skip the bread basket in the front of the line. Fill half of your plate with vegetables, whether that’s salad greens, steamed or grilled veggies. Leave space for a portion of protein and a more indulgent food, like the macaroni and cheese you saw when you scoped out the line.

“Allow for some indulgences at these parties,” says Josefsberg. As long as you know when your parties are in the week, you can make up for those indulgences by eating very healthy the rest of the meals in your week. “If you go to a party and don’t allow yourself to have any special foods that you wanted to eat, you feel sorry for yourself and then you might think you have to stop for a piece of pizza on the way home or eat snacks from the comfort of your couch,” says Liz.

Prep a healthy snack for when you arrive home.

If you don’t know what to expect at the party, you might think you have to eat every option as it appears on a passed appetizer plate because you’re afraid of being hungry later on. “No one is going to fall over starving if they didn’t eat enough at a party,” says Josefsberg. “It’s the mental piece of this process, we tell ourselves we’re going to be hungry later if we don’t eat enough at the party so we might be inclined to eat more than we normally would if we ate dinner at home.”

It might be a good idea to have a healthy option waiting for you at home so that if you eat lightly at a party, or skip the desserts, you’re not feeling deprived and have more control over your snacking choices. “I’ve had clients tell me that they were ‘good’ with their eating at a social event but then they went home and overdid it on the snacking, especially after having a few drinks,” Liz says. Have a healthy snack option and one small treat waiting for you at home—like a small piece of good dark chocolate, or a low-calorie ice cream bar, she suggests. Put the snacks where you can see, and leave yourself a note, like, “Hey self, you promised you’re not going to eat the Halloween candy, Christmas cookies, and other snacks around the house when you get home.” This can help keep you in check and is a reminder that everything else at home is off limits.

Beware of saboteurs.

When you’re filling your plate with healthy foods, other people might notice and question your motives or call attention to what you’re eating and ask if you’re dieting.  “From being a ‘weight loss expert’ over the years, I realize that people are always watching what I do and what I’m eating,” says Liz. “They might say to me, ‘Look at you, you’re being so good,’ but it’s kind of a backhanded comment because they aren’t feeling good about their choices,” she says. Just say, ‘Thank you,’ and walk away, she advises. “When someone comments on what I’m eating at a party, it has nothing to do with me. They want me to validate their choices,” says Josefsberg.  “I might respond with something like, ‘This food looks so delicious and great.’ Just be very gracious and change the subject. No one wants to be at a party talking about weight loss! The only reason you’re talking about it is because it’s an issue, and it’s not going to get wrapped up at this party.”

Plan your workout. 

Look at your week ahead to determine your workout schedule. If you have a party on Thursday night, recognize that you might be out late and there’s a chance you won’t get to exercise on Friday. Schedule your workouts in your calendar or put them as reminders in your phone for the rest of the days of the week. Exercise on the day of the party, to give yourself a little bit more room to indulge. “Getting a workout in tends to help us make smarter decisions and healthier decisions throughout the day. “It puts your head in the right spot,” says Josefsberg. Here’s how to burn more fat during your workout.


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