Last week we covered how the simple act of becoming more mindful about your thoughts can create a huge change in your actions. I think this is an extremely powerful habit to create, but it can be a difficult one to create. We are sometimes so busy, that it is quite easy to simply switch on the autopilot and just try to make it through the day.
Today, however, I'd like to suggest some simple tips that anyone can implement right away. These tricks can make the difference between suffering a hormonal holiday season due to weight gain or dancing in a winter wonderland because you're finally in control.
Let's cover the dreaded holiday parties. We go, we mingle, we laugh and we eat... ohhhh boy, do we eat. We pretend that the gathering is about spending time around family, friends and coworkers but the reality is that the food, for many people, seems to take center stage.
We intend on making it through with only a bite or two, but soon after we see the decadent displays our willpower dissolves. Two bites of pie becomes two pieces. Two sips becomes two glasses. And that's before we've even taken off our jackets.
So what can you do? Well, naturally the only realistic thing would be to hide a head of cauliflower inside your purse, or smash a stack of asparagus spears inside your billfold. That way you have a healthy snack handy all night. See? Aren't you glad you're reading this? Quality information that you can use right away! Am I right?
(Note I am not responsible for vegetable-induced dry cleaning.)
On a more serious note, there are some simple things you can do that will make a big difference in the amount of food you consume at these soirees. (+1 for vocab).
First, and possibly most obvious, eat beforehand. Mind blowing, I know, but the simple act of eating something healthy before you leave can dramatically reduce the amount of hunger you experience at the party, which will obviously lead to a reduced intake of the not-so-healthy fare.
Keep in mind how long you'll be out, and eat accordingly. Occasionally, we have to attend more than one party on a given night. If this is the case, try to make short pit stops for healthier options in between, as you'll start to get hungry after 3 to 4 hours. It's easy to start the night off on a great note, but after the first party and into the second one, hunger levels can cause you to make poor decisions.
Your next option is the classiest one. Show up fashionably late. Oftentimes, it's the appetizers and finger foods that get us, as the calories quickly add up. However, if you do your best cool person impression and show up 30 minutes to an hour after the start, you're more likely to "miss out" on a majority of the unhealthy options. (Pro-tip, if you feel bad for showing up late, you can always call the host and explain that you had to get your clothes steam-cleaned due to the rotten cauliflower and asparagus that you forgot from last year's gathering.)
Lastly, a great option is out of sight, out of mind. Simply stay in another area of the party, away from the food tables. Most of the time you can find another room that is free of food and may have more conversations or activities to participate in. Worst case, you can always pretend to be the valet (bonus: cash tips) or hang out in the coat closet (bonus: personal space).
In all seriousness, eating beforehand, showing up after the appetizers and avoiding the areas with food can all be game-changers because they allow you to avoid temptation by keeping stable blood sugar and reducing your exposure to those high calorie waistline wrecking options.
I'll be back next week with more tips to help you make it through all holly and jolly. Until then, have a great week and come up with a holiday game plan!
Andy Frisch, NASM CPT, CES, PES, WFS, IFT, NESTA FNC, is a successful personal trainer and nutrition coach who enjoys working with clients of all shapes, sizes and ages. He currently train clients at Sports Village Fitness in Lebanon, works with clients online at www.FreshEvolutionFitness.com and has a budding YouTube channel.