There’s only a few days left in November, so yes I can use the C-word.
You’ve probably begun the shopping. Maybe you’re trying to decide where to put some of the decorations (even though you’ll put them in the exact same place as every year).
Or maybe you’re trundling along totally oblivious to the impending craziness of December. Wait until you hear the dreaded news of a Christmas party.
Whether it’s a staff party, your partner’s staff party, a coming home celebration, a going away do or just a girls night out, managing with your eating (and drinking) can be tricky.
Temptations at these occasions are run of the mill. There can be buffets, free bars (lucky you!) and fine dining.
The key during these occasions is not to completely deprive yourself but to make a few better choices. Here’s my top 7 tips for managing during this Christmas party season;
– Eat Before You Head Out
So this will only apply if you are heading out to a party that does not involve a meal.
If you’re party simply involves going for a few drinks, with maybe some finger food, then eating a good protein and fibre rich meal before you leave the house is a good idea.
We all know the effect alcohol has on our hunger. A little stomach rumble can cause us to gobble up the buffet spread (table and all!). So having a good meal before we get to the party will help avoid this.
If you don’t drink alcohol the same applies. By the time your party is reaching a conclusion it may have been a few hours since you’d ate so having lots of protein and fibre will help you feel fuller for longer.
– Keep Drinking Water
This is an easy one if your occasion involves a meal, and all the more important if it does.
In a previous blog I spoke about drinking water’s effect on our speed of eating.
The whole process of picking up the glass and drinking will ensure that you eat that little bit slower. Drinking water also adds a bit of volume within your stomach so may actually lead you to eat a little less.
Good news if you’re out for a meal! Perhaps this will help at the buffet cart also.
– Stay Mindful of Your Eating
In a previously mentioned blog I went into detail on ‘mindful eating’ and how it effects out choices. Read it here.
Mindful eating involves us giving 100% consciousness to our eating. We fully experience the taste, smell, texture and appearance of our food.
Well mindful eating allows us to become in tune with our hunger signals. If we start to realise the amount of food we’re consuming we might find it easier to detect that we are not in fact hungry.
Perhaps becoming mindful of your hunger will mean that you realise you don’t actually want that chicken drum stick at the buffet!
A question I get clients to ask themselves is ‘Am I hungry?’. Usually this can be done when sitting down to a main meal. So when tucking into dinner at a friend’s party, ask yourself after a few minutes whether or not you’re hungry. If you’re not, then stop eating. This also helps us to eat that little bit slower.
Yes I know your favourite Christmas special might be on in the pub but please DO NOT EAT WHILST WATCHING TV. Distracted eating takes away any mindfulness we have towards our eating.
We end up eating more as a result. Not only this but we eat more later in the day as our brain hasn’t fully recognised that it consumed food (as it was distracted watching Mrs Brown’s Boys!).
– Plan Your Food for the Day After
If you’ve been up late then your quantity and quality of sleep has been disrupted. This affects our appetite hormones.
If your appetite hormones have been disrupted it means that you will be hungrier and crave processed carbs and fats.
If you have no structure to your day then you might end up having a free for all. Try to plan what you’re going to eat the day after the night before.
Even if you still have some sweet things for desert or have a bag of crisps, decide to have a good healthy breakfast and lunch.
– Make ONE Trip to the Buffet
Buffets are common at Christmas parties, weddings and friend’s houses. Having a variety of foods to choose from is great.
However, over-eating is inevitable. It’s not the first plate of food that you fill that is the problem, it’s when you go back a second, third or even fourth time!
It’s not uncommon for someone to eat dinners big enough for three! Especially as fried, calorie dense food is most common at these.
So set yourself a golden rule. You can fill a plate fit for a king at the buffet but DO NOT make a return trip! You should fill your plate enough that you are completely satiated following it. This rule will avoid picking at food throughout the night.
Another good tactic to use is to keep a bit of distance between yourself and the buffet table. The closer you are, the more likely you’ll constantly snack on the foods there.
– Make Better Alcohol Choices
We will inevitably drink a little more alcohol around the festive season. Of course you have to have a few beverages to handle Laura from the office!
Alcohol is the easiest way to over consume calories through. We can comfortably go through 1000 calories in a single night.
For example, a pint bottle of Bulmer’s cider will contain around 250 calories! If we compare that with Gin mixed with diet tonic, it will contain a meagre 70 calories. So switching to spirits mixed with low-calorie mixers is a good tactic.
An even better idea might be to take up the designated driver role and not drink at all! However this means you will have to bare the office workers sober!
– Eat Less Around the Christmas Party
By now you’ve realised that you are going to over-consume at the Christmas party. So make allowances for that.
Depending on the night and whether it involves alcohol or not you can limit your calorie intake the days prior and after the party.
If you slightly cut down on calories for three days before the occasion then there is no reason you can’t have a good night out! Cutting down by 500 calories or so for three or four days will allow you a 2000 calorie allowance!
More than enough for a good night out…..where’s the gin I hear you ask?
That’s my top 7 tips for managing at your Christmas party this year! Don’t stress or get anxious about it. After all it is only one night in the year. As I say with Christmas just aim to make better choices rather than perfect choices.
If you’re interested in taking part in a program with me why not send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org