On this particular Motivation Monday, I start the work week recovering from an amazing wedding and gearing up for three nights sure to include cocktails and chocolate. Obviously, this is not the time of year to skip those workouts!
While I’m not an early-morning workout gal, at this time of year, even I have to adjust my schedule to keep active. I consider it a small sacrifice to make in December to hopefully maintain my weight through the holiday party season.
Along with getting those workouts in, there are some other ways to get through the next few weeks of filled with hors d’oeuvres and holiday cheer. Here are some tips that will help me get to New Year’s Day without feeling like I completely fell off the health and fitness wagon.
- Plan Ahead: If you know you’re going to enjoy some cheer after work, do NOT starve yourself all day. Eat a sensible breakfast and lunch and don’t forget to have a healthy snack up to one hour before the party starts. This way, you won’t arrive with a rumbling stomach and grab the first thing you see.
- Choose “Smart” Foods First: Many office holiday parties and even get-togethers with the neighbors feature lots of appetizers. Load up on some of the healthier options first, including the crudités (celery sticks, carrots, bell pepper strips, broccoli and cauliflower). Just try not to drown them in high-calorie dip. Another idea is to seek out the protein. I love shrimp, and the good news is with 18 grams of protein in a 3 oz serving, there’s no reason not to! Sushi, skewered chicken or beef tenderloin strips are also a better option than loading up on the cheesy breads or creamy dips.
- The Dessert Dilemma: Things like cocktails and cupcakes or wine and chocolate remain popular party combos here in New York. I admit, I’m a big fan of these themes, but they obviously wreak havoc on your efforts to eat healthy. If you’re attending one of these sweet celebrations, you definitely want to eat a sensible small meal before arriving at the party and diving into the sweets. When you do dig in, split a cupcake, cookie or piece of cake with a friend. If there’s any fresh fruit, eat that first.
- Cocktail Control: The every-other-drink rule works just as well at a holiday party as it does for happy hour. To space out the alcohol consumption, start with a glass of wine or a cocktail, and when your glass is empty, switch to a glass of water, seltzer or diet soda for your next beverage.
- Get Moving! I know I mentioned this at the start of this post, but it bears repeating. You can find time to exercise. Pushing through 20 minutes of cardio or your favorite workout DVD is better than nothing. If you have a party after work, hit the gym or take a walk in the morning. If you live in a city like I do, don’t let the cold stop you in your tracks. Throw on an extra layer, pack the party shoes to go and burn some extra calories by walking to work and/or to the festivities.
Remember, this is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. For me, that includes enjoying some holiday cheer…along with some chocolate and cupcakes. With a little planning, we can all make it through the holiday party circuit and still have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!