Dear Dave,

I’m invited to quite a lot of holiday parties this year and I’m worried that it’s going to derail my healthy eating habits and I’ll put on weight. I really want to avoid this and come out of the holiday season strong and ready for 2018. What should I do?

Dan

Dear Dan,

If you’re aiming to reach a lean racing weight early in the year, or just maintain a hard-earned number, navigating the holidays can be tough. With so many parties and holiday treats it’s easy to derail your healthy eating habits. But there are ways you can enjoy yourself and also not gain that extra holiday jelly roll. Here are my top tips:

  1. Don’t Join the Clean Plate Club. You’re not required to try all the food at the upcoming gatherings. Nor are you obligated to eat everything on your plate.  Think in terms of “sampling” a few goodies, not “dining”!
  2. Watch Portion Sizes. Opt for a smaller plate and cut down on your portion sizes. Buffets can be wicked on the waistline so take one serving and stop.
  3. Slow Down Your Drinking. Alcohol consumption should be tapered and moderate. Try splitting a glass or wine, beer or spirits. Coddle your glass and savior each sip. Drink water with a lime wedge instead.  Race drinking is not a notable asset.
  4. Never Go To A Party Hungry. Eat a small portion of healthy fat food before you go to your party. Your satiety hormones will put the brakes on your urge to overeat. I like a handful of walnuts, a few olives and some sliced cheese.
  5. Avoid Late Night Snacking. Cut your intake of beverages and food at an earlier hour. If you eat after 9 p.m. and have a sugary dessert, this elevates cortisol, reduces your natural production of human growth hormone and you’ll most likely feel crummy in the morning!
  6. Overindulge Occasionally, But Keep It Limited. If you do overindulge, remember that your holiday weight gain should be limited to 2% of your healthy body weight. It’s very easy to pack on the extra weight but remember it’s much harder to melt it off!

Dan, good luck with the party circuit and Happy Holidays!

Dave