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A Survival Guide to Holiday Parties

 Thanksgiving Day officially kicks off the holiday season of shopping, parties, food and treats. But unlike the pilgrims who stored their harvest for the coming cold months when food was scarce we continue the food orgy of the holidays for an entire month or more. We give in all too often to the aromatic food and beverages scents that beckon us to indulge in the magic of the season…after all it only comes around once a year, right? These once a year indulgences give the average American a robust 2-5 lbs weight gain during this festive season. To make matters worse, this weight gain is in the form of fat and is rarely lost once the holidays are gone. Don’t let that be you this year. With a little forethought and planning you can crush the holiday season weight gain! Here are some tips…
 
Holiday Parties.
There are plenty of those coming up which can mean lots of mindless snacking and/or drinking. Here are some strategies to help you as you trek out for any occasion where food and drink temptations lurk.
 
·Eat healthy before you go. It seems counter intuitive but trust me, it’s like going to the grocery store hungry, you’ll always buy more if you’re hungry and in the case of parties you’ll eat more and more of the wrong things when you’re hungry. Now don’t go eating a cheeseburger and fries. Fill up on a big salad with grilled chicken. Have an apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter and a big glass of water. A hot bowl of a broth based soup is great too. Going in feeling a little full will help you be less tempted to head to the heavy, calorie-laden snacks.

·Allow yourself to have a bite or two of what you want. I like to try different foods but I have a couple of strategies. The first is, if I don’t like it I spit it out (very politely, in a napkin, like I’m wiping my mouth but I spit the food into it discretely). It’s just not worth the calories if it tastes bad. If I take a bite of a cookie and it’s gross…throw it out. The second is, if it’s good I take my time and enjoy what I’m eating. It’s okay to just take 2-3 bites of something and be done. Do you want some cheesecake? Share it! Cut it in a slice that gives you just a few bites. Enjoy those tastes and be done with it. Toss it out if you need to…and don’t feel bad. Trust me, the next morning you’re likely not going to be saying to yourself, “Damn, I wish I ate the rest of that cheesecake.”

·Focus the majority of your meal on food that matters such as fruits, veggies and lean meats. These are filling and nutrient dense.

· Skip the bread, period! Bread is just calorie dense fluff and you don’t need it!

·Alcohol. This is a good one and an area that many of us can overindulge in. High calorie drinks are obviously the sweet drinks. If it’s tastes sugary it’s a guarantee that there’s at least 200 calories there…and that’s a low number. Stick to light beers, wine and hard liquor drinks mixed with low calorie mixers such as vodka with seltzer water and a splash of cranberry, Jack and diet Coke (even though I loath diet drinks), gin and tonic (watch the tonic as those calories can add up too). Stay away from creamy, sugary drinks and mixers...mixers are calorie busters! Remember, the more you drink the more you tend to mindlessly eat which adds to the weight gain dilemma. For diet friendly drinks check out this link http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=893

·Drink water, water, water! A glass of water in between drinks is a good rule of thumb.  This will keep you hydrated and level headed to avoid food overindulgence's later in the evening.

I hope some of these strategies will help you enjoy the holiday's without guilt or regret! But we are human and we are going to find ourselves the following morning asking...why did I drink so much? Why did I eat all of that food? My next blog will address that...Recovering from a binge! Stay tuned...
                                        MAKE TODAY COUNT!!!!

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