7 Tips for Healthy Holiday Social Gatherings

Yep! It is that time of year again. Social gatherings right, left and centre! For all of us who are foodies at heart, this can be one of the toughest time of year to stick to your guns! For those of us that are complete pumpkin addicts (hey! anything can be pumpkin spiced, right?!), chocolate addicts (same applies..anything can be chocolate dipped, right?!) and overall food lovers, the conventional social gathering can be a battlefield that is full of empty calories and leaves its victims full of guilt.

Want to make this year different? Here are a few tips I use!

1. Its a SOCIAL gathering, not a FOODIE gathering

Remember, it is about the people and the conversations. Ignore that platter of Nanaimo bars and cocktail weenies! In fact, stand far away from the table, turn your back towards the food table and enjoy the conversations going on with your friends and/or coworkers!  Out of sight out of mind right? Interaction is the main priority for social gatherings, to bask in the excitement of holidays amongst other things.

2. Plan ahead and sweat it out!

You don’t have to avoid the food completely! You can allow yourself one treat, it won’t totally derail all your efforts! Just plan for it. If the event is a restaurant, check out the menu online and make substitutions where necessary. Also, I suggest a “sweat for the (little black) dress” workout that morning. Or if you are from my group of friends…A sweat for the ugly Christmas sweater workout may be in order! (Hey! you gotta look good in your tacky Rudolph sweater!)  Have you ever felt guilty after working out? Didn’t think so. Now hop to it!

3. Eat before you go or suggest to bring your own dish

Waiting to eat when you have gotten to the point of complete starvation is never a good idea! Not only does it mess with your mental hunger signals, it makes your cravings go haywire! I suggest having dinner before you hit up the party so that you don’t go cookie monster on that dessert table! If its a gathering that you can bring your own dish, do so! Opt for a veggie tray, fruit tray, veggie casserole, ratatouille, or some sort of lean protein!

4. Avoid or limit alcohol

I’ve said this before, I will say it again. Alcohol can derail us from what we want to achieve. It is empty calories! If you don’t think you can bare being at this gathering with your coworkers without a glass in your hand, limit yourself to one glass of wine. Yes, it is possible to have only one! If you feel pressure to have alcohol and you really don’t want to do what I do. Have a glass of carbonated water or diet Sprite/Coke/Pepsi and pretend you have a shot of (alcohol of your choice) in it. Hey! its just a little white lie that will save you calories! Santa will forgive you I am sure!

5. Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate!

Always have a glass of the good stuff in hand. No, I don’t mean booze (you read the following tip!!). I’ve heard many clients complain that they can’t STAND water. Personally, I have always been a heavy (water) drinker most of my life. Some tips I have for those who despise water? Add something to it! Some of my favorites are mint, cucumber, lemon, orange or lime. I am also a huge fan of carbonated water. I have my HUGE 40 ounce water bottle with me EVERYWHERE I go. Sometimes your body is unsure of whether you are thirsty or hungry, so sip up throughout the day to make sure those hunger signals are on point!

6. Team up!

Maybe one of your coworkers is also trying to keep to his/her own goals. Keep each other accountable and be completely blunt with each other. “Hey Sue, want to go for a morning jog this morning?” “Janie, is that second dessert little black dress approved? ;)” If you don’t have someone who is on the same page as you, technology can come into the picture. Get your significant other, best friend, parent or anyone to text you reminders! It is easier to stick to something when you have someone or something to be accountable for/to.

7. Forgive yourself and move on

This one is a toughy. This may seem contradictory to this post but slip ups happen that you may not have planned for. Maybe you had one more piece of the pie than you had planned for, and that is okay! Dwelling on, guilting yourself and sulking about it will only make matters worst! Move on. There are bigger…lean..fishes (full of omega-3s) to fry…err…grill. Just remember that you are human, you have your goals, and speed bumps are fine!


For you, what is/are the hardest part(s) of keeping healthy during the holidays?



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