16 Powerful Tools To Keep You On Track
Holiday parties are exceptional ways to cement important social bonds, spend time with co-workers outside of work, get in some relaxing family time, and maybe even get a little tipsy on the good stuff AND on the company dime.
Holiday parties are also exceptional ways to derail your nutrition and some of your hard-earned gains. Here's how to navigate the landmines so that you can keep yourself on track to the awesome, fit, and healthiest version of you.
1) Get a great workout in on the day of the party. This will boost your metabolic rate, reduce your appetite, give you a healthy glow that your peers will admire, put a little swagger in your step, and give your body a reason to crave clean fuel.
2) Plan a workout, run, hike, ride, race for the following day...preferably with a friend. Knowing that you are committed to performing like a wild thing the next day will make you think twice about how you fuel your body.
3) If it's a potluck event, make darned sure that you bring the healthiest food in the spread. A fruit and veggie platter or an amazing salad will bring color to the table, and it will guarantee that you have something safe to snack on. The other guests may also take notice and derive a little inspiration from your excellent choices.
4) Eat a light, protein-packed meal with some vegetables before you leave for the event.
- A salad with chicken.
- Carrots and hummus.
- 2 hard-boiled eggs.
- Greek yogurt with protein powder and some chia seeds.
These are all solid, healthy options. This will keep you from making hunger-based choices at your event when you are passing by the cookies, chips, or other sub-par foods. Also, things tend to get a little behind schedule, so you'll be the smart one who isn't starving when the meal is delayed.
5) Give yourself permission to eat one small portion of that cheat food that you just have to have to feel like it's the holidays. Love cheesecake? Me too. Plan on having a half portion when you are ready. Put that cheat food on the smallest plate that you can find. Sit down. Eat it slowly and savor each little bite. Leave a little on the plate and push it away.
At The Party
1) If AND when people comment on how great you look, thank them and tell them about how your new program is working and how the nutrition plan is making a huge difference in how you feel, look, and perform. This will inspire others to change. It will allow you to preach a little...teaching others is powerful stuff. Ideally, it will keep you on track and mindful...if you're going to talk the talk, then you better walk the walk. Finally, when people understand that you are committed to making good food and drink choices, those people won't try to talk you into eating and drinking the wrong things.
2) Stay away from the snack table. Location, location, location. Out of sight...out of mind. You can't eat what you can't reach.
3) Offer to help your host in the kitchen or with some setup tasks. Your busy hands won't have time to grab junk foods, and your mind will not be occupied with thoughts of the available unhealthy snacks.
4) With a spouse or a significant other? Hold their hand. It's tough to manage a plate and a fork with just one hand. Oh, and your partner will appreciate the attention and recognition.
5) Use a small plate. This will actually trick your mind into thinking that you have more food. Plus, you'll feel pretty silly making 5 trips to fill up your plate.
6) Eat vegetables first. Have at least 2 cups of vegetables before you eat anything else. You will set an amazing example to those around you. You won't be hungry for the next course. Raw vegetables take extra time to chew...this will give your body time to register that you are filling up.
7) Drink plenty of water, diet soda, tea, or coffee. This will keep your hands and mouth busy, so you won't be tempted to mindlessly eat that cookie.
8) Just say NO THANKS. There's one at every gathering...that person that tries to goad, wheedle, cajole, or otherwise convince you to go against what you know is right. Stand strong and tell them:
- "No thanks. I'm in the middle of a fitness and clean eating challenge, and I don't want to take even a tiny step backwards."
- "No thanks, I have a killer workout scheduled for tomorrow."
- "No thanks, my coach is a monster who will show up with a beating if I cheat."
9) Have a little fresh fruit at the end. Finish with something healthy and sweet to signal that you are done eating.
10) Try to limit your alcohol consumption to no more than 2 drinks. Have a little fun, and savor the experience and flavor of a tasty adult beverage. Stop at 2 so that you don't make less than great nutrition decisions. The excess calories are not your friends. AND, you have a workout the next day...you don't want to mess that up. Head off that peer pressure..walk around with a glass of club soda and a lime wedge in your hand.
11) Do not take off-plan foods home with you. Deliver yourself from the temptation of snacking on convenient junk when you get home. If you are going to take anything home, pack up the remaining vegetables that you brought.