Yes, ‘tis the season. Can you smell it in the air? Nope, not talking about snow or Christmas trees, but rather all of the holiday parties and work lunches and happy hours that are inevitable this time of year. If you find yourself on the guest list for a couple of these holiday hooplas, are you concerned about how you’ll maintain your hard-earned healthy eating habits, when everyone around you is happily indulging in junk food? After all, you’ve worked really hard to make better choices with your diet and exercise, we know. Is it possible to enjoy yourself at parties without flushing your efforts down the toilet?
- Get good at saying, “it’s not you, it’s me.” When you start saying a few firm thanks-but-no-thank-yous to “famous recipe” desserts or your best friend’s cheesy bacon sausage puffs, be prepared for people to take it personally at first. Some folks put a lot of heart and love into their food creations, and sharing with others is how they express their affection. However, once they really understand that you’re going for a lifestyle change, they will likely support you and your efforts.
- Plan, plan plan. If you’re dying to indulge a little at, say, an appetizer party, you can. Just make sure you don’t indulge at 4 other events that week. Write out a calendar of upcoming events, and then choose the ones that you know you’ll want to splurge a little, and then vow to eat healthfully during the rest of the week.
- Just say no. It’s okay to be choosy with your commitments. If your neighbor’s ornament exchange party is a guaranteed diet pitfall for you, and you’re not all that excited about going, then just skip it. Empty calories, and annoying political small talk, avoided.
- BYO. Can you bring a fruit tray to a dessert potluck? Or hummus and veggies to a cookie exchange? Not only yes, but yes please! As much as you tell yourself that you’ll just simply not eat at a party, or just eat a couple of bites, reality sets in when everyone else has loaded plates, and the cheesy potato skins are calling your name. Even if the host/hostess isn’t asking for folks to bring food, check with them first to see if they mind, and then bring your own healthy item. Plus, others at the gathering will probably be grateful you did, too.
- Have a meal you love prepared and ready to eat at home, after the party. It’ll be so much easier to pass on the party food when you’re crazy about the skinny chicken enchilada bake, tucked in your fridge and waiting for you. It’s so easy to justify eating the food in front of us with, “but I’m hungry!” as your reasoning. You’ll feel stronger in your just say no efforts if you know you want to be good and hungry for your food at home. Plus, wouldn’t you rather enjoy your meal with your shoes off and feet propped up, than milling around a crowded room?
Holiday parties don’t have to be your downfall. Eating healthfully is an excellent lifestyle choice, and it’s worth sticking up for. Even when no one else is.