Dieting during the holidays is difficult. There is food everywhere. People beg us to eat their special dish and we feel deprived when we can’t imbibe and indulge. Here are my top tips to get through holiday parties when dieting.
1. Have a Plan on What You Will and Won’t Eat at the Party
This is the most important part of going to any party. You know your diet. You know what’s allowed and you know yourself. Make a plan for success.
We know ourselves much better than we ever want to admit. We know what foods we can eat and have just one and what foods call to us. Write out your plan. Know it by heart. Then when you approach the food table, you will not have any blurry lines as to what is allowed and what isn’t.
2. Never go to a party hungry
The biggest mistake people make is arriving at a party hungry. That is a plan for failure. Eat right before you go, be full. Don’t let hunger become an excuse to overindulge.
3. Bring Food You Can Eat
The next biggest excuse people give themselves at parties is that there isn’t any food on their plan. This leads to the, but it was the best choice available. Which opens the gates to eating foods you promised yourself you wouldn’t touch. Dieters are rationalizers. If you can convince yourself there is no other choice, you will happily eat foods off your plan.
That is why I always suggest you bring food you can eat. Food on your diet. It can be food you can share with others. Over at Raw Food Boot Camp, I always tell the ladies, bring a beautiful platter of fruit. People always forget how much they love fruit until cut up fruit is presented. It is usually the first plate emptied.
There lays another problem. If you bring food on your plan that is excellent, others may eat it before you get to it. So I always suggest, bring a separate plate for yourself to ensure you get some.
As a courtesy to your host, it is a good idea to bring your own cooler so you don’t take up valuable fridge space.
4. Let the Host Know You’re Dieting
This is the least liked tip around. No one wants to tell people they’re dieting. The reason to do this is to put yourself on guard. At camp, I have our ladies call their host three times before the event. To almost be a pain about it. That way when they get to the party after making such a big todo about their diet, eating off plan would be embarrassing. And face it, we all hate to be embarrassed especially about how we eat.
This is probably the best tip to keep you honest.
5. Bring Your Own Drinks
Having a drink in hand at a party is a great way to feel like you fit in with everyone and it keeps your hands busy. Unfortunately, alcohol tends to break down resolve and can quickly turn your best intentions into a binge.
There are many sparkling, fruit-infused waters out there. Bring a few with you. If everyone is drinking out of bottles and cans, your set, but if there are wine and champagne glasses in other’s hands, fill your own and carry it around with you.
One of the biggest complaints dieters have for sticking to their plans at social events is that they feel like an outsider. A glass with sparkling water will help you feel like you fit in.
6. Find a Job at the Party
I know you want to party not work, but if you keep busy it’s easier to not be tempted by all the food. Here are some suggestions.
- Be the photographer
- Take charge of the kids. Set up games for them, do crafts. Be prepared and become that favorite aunty.
- If no kids, be the fun adult presenting games to keep everyone laughing.
- Take charge of the great-grandparents.
- Be the bartender and have your sparkling water handy.
7. Redirect Traffic Away from the Food Table
It’s amazing how many conversations at a party happen as people stand around the food table. If that’s too much temptation for you, redirect those you are chatting with to somewhere else.
How you ask. It may take some creative thought on your part. But the best way is to be honest. “Let’s move over there, all this food is calling to me.”
The truth is everyone knows they are there to pick food off the table. You are giving them an excuse to get away from it as well.
If that doesn’t work for you, then walk away on your own. Go talk to someone else who isn’t standing at the food table.
8. Offer to Set the Table and Wash the Dishes
If you plan to help the host with getting things ready or cleaning up. Know your weaknesses. If you are a picker of food then offer to set the table or cut up veggies. Stay away from the foods you like so your hands don’t go places you don’t want.
At the end of the party, let others clear the leftovers. Position yourself at the sink. Do the dishes. This is a great way to keep busy and away from the food and still be part of the cleanup chatter with your friends.
9. Don’t Let others Push Food On You
This is one of the top excuses I get from women when explaining why they ate off plan. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings so I ate the food. Or she insisted that I eat it and instead of making a scene, I ate it.
I always call BS on these excuses. If someone were pushing food on our loved ones they couldn’t eat, we would definitely stand up to anyone trying to force it on them.
When people try to get us to eat foods we hate, we easily say no. If we’re allergic, we say no thank you and don’t think twice. We have to do the same with foods that make us gain weight.
The reason we give in so easily and don’t hate me for calling you out on this is that we really want to eat that food and their pushing it on us gives us the excuse we need to justify it.
The best way to get past the food pushers is to say no thank you and walk away. Or say, I am full right now. I’ll check it out later and then walk away. Their feelings might be hurt for a second, but be honest, they’ll just move onto the next person.
10. Don’t Take Leftovers Home and if You’re the Host Send those Leftovers with Others
Believe it or not, the actual parties are not the real danger to your diet. It’s the day after. When we steel ourselves to get through an event, we can do it. The next day though something weird happens.
It’s an odd thing for sure, but more of the women at camp break their diet the day after than they do at the party.
The two most common reasons are:
- I felt I deserved a reward for having been so successful at the party
- The food was there and I just wanted it.
If the foods not there, you won’t eat it. If you saved it or took it with the excuse it’s for your family, think hard about that. Is it really? They may ask for leftovers and when you say there are none, they may moan for a minute, but then they’ll go find something else. You as a dieter though will want that food and when no one is looking dive in or spend the day tormented by that food calling to you.
Don’t do leftovers! They are more deadly to your diet than all the food at the party.
Bonus Tip: Wear Something Tight to the Party
I know, most dieters don’t want to wear tight clothes. It doesn’t have to be something tight other people can see. What you want is a reminder of why you are trying to lose weight. Tight pants or a skirt can really work. Spanks don’t as they trick your brain into thinking you can get away with eating a little more.
I hope my tips help. Good luck and remember. You have chosen to lose weight during the holidays. It’s your choice. Don’t hate it, embrace it and feel proud of yourself for going after your dreams rather than another year of holiday weight gain.