It can be all too easy to decide to give up healthy living until the New Year.
BUT… we want to give you our best tips to make sure these seasonal festivities don't put you too far off track.
Below, I'm going to show you what you can do before, during, after and the morning after. These tips will make sure you survive the holiday season without packing on the pounds.
Let's get started with what you can do before your big party, to set yourself up for a win!
What To Do Before Your Christmas Party
Being prepared before the big event will be the best thing you can do. It will limit your chances of having an indulgence crisis during it.
Follow these 4 simple rules and you'll be well ahead of the game.
Tip 1: If it’s a sit down meal, order a ‘perfect plate'
You may have read some of our other content, so you might be aware of our ‘Perfect Plates' philosophy.
If not, it's a super-simple way to portion your food out, so you don't need to cut out particular foods. Moderation works better than elimination.
Perfect Plates is basically filling your plate with 1/2 of it as vegetables or salad, 1/4 with good quality protein and 1/4 with whole-food (not processed) carbohydrates.
A good example of a perfect plate meal would be Chicken Breast with sweet potato and vegetables, or a traditional roast dinner with plenty of veg.
Tip 2: Drink plenty of water on the day of the party
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day of your party has a doubly positive effect.
Firstly, it will make you feel more full, so you'll be less likely to snack.
Secondly, it will help you out when it comes to the alcohol.
As dehydration is the prime cause of a hangover, being fully hydrated will help to keep the dreaded headache and shakes at bay the following morning.
Tip 3: Eat 2-3 light mini-meals throughout the day
Eating light meals that are low in Carbs will ensure you don't arrive at the party starving.
If you arrive hungry, you're likely to head straight for the buffet table or whatever snacks can help fill your belly until the main meal!
Make sure to keep your meals light on calories, as your intake during your event will likely be higher than a normal meal.
Tip 4: Do a strength based workout on the day of the party
Doing a strength workout on the day you're going to eat a big meal will help boost your metabolism.
Your body will deal better with metabolising and using the calories you consume.
With your metabolism whirring along nicely, the food you eat is less likely to be stored as fat.
It's more likely to be used properly in the various processes that go on in your body.
What To Do During Your Christmas Party
As this is the event itself, there will be a few things to be aware of as you navigate the feeding frenzy and the free bar!
The main idea is not to overload on snacks and to do as much as you can to avoid a hangover or risk drinking too many empty calories.
Choosing your food and drink wisely will be key to the successful survival of your Christmas Party.
Tip 5: Avoid unhealthy snacks (Chips, fried finger food, etc.)
Snacks are going to be one of your biggest enemies throughout the party season.
Avoiding them as best you can will help you limit the number of calories you eat.
The problem with snacking is that it rarely stops at just one. If there's finger food, or chips and dips, it can be very difficult to stop once you've started.
If you've followed the above preparation tips we've shown you, you'll hopefully arrive at the party satisfactorily fed, so won't need to indulge in the snacks.
Tip 6: Drink 1 glass of water for every alcoholic drink
If you've ever looked for information on reducing the effects of a hangover, you'll have likely seen this recommendation on every site you've read.
It's included on them all for a very good reason. It works!
Having a drink of water between every alcoholic drink will keep you well hydrated throughout the night. You'll be less likely to have a hangover the following morning.
It's important to note, however, that this will not make you less drunk if you are hammering back the alcohol. It will only limit the hangover.
Tip 7: Dance the night away – moving equals calories burned!
Dancing is generally part of the antics at most Christmas parties. Get in on the action and burn some calories in the process.
A couple hours of dancing could shift between 500-1,000 calories, depending on the type of dancing and your weight.
So, next time you're feeling a bit shy of busting some shapes on the dance-floor, just think about the workout you'll get!
Tip 8: Don’t mix your drinks – Stick to clear spirits or wine with soda water
Although mixing your drinks will not make you any more or less drunk, it can be the reason for an upset stomach in the morning.
Your best bet is to stick with one type of drink throughout the night and mix it with water when possible.
If you're drinking spirits, either have water in it or order it ‘on the rocks'. If you're drinking wine, add some soda water to help with hydration.
Tip 9: Try not to get stuck talking, next to the buffet table
This tip will help you save some calories for sure. If you get stuck next to the buffet table, you're in a calorific minefield.
It's so easy to stand next to the buffet table, chatting, and not be 100% aware of how many snacks you've put away.
Make sure you don't get caught out by this Christmas party eating faux pas. Walk away from the buffet when you're chatting.
Both you and your friend will be thankful for the calories saved!
What To Do After Your Christmas Party
So, once your Christmas Party is finished and you've been ushered out to collect your coat, what's next?
You hug your friends and/or family, tell them that you'll catch up soon and wish them all a ‘Merry Christmas' or ‘Happy Holidays'.
Now begins the homecoming mission and the preparation for the morning after.
Tip 10: Don’t be tempted to get take out on the way home
Very often, after a good night out, there will be the chorused chant of ‘Let's go for a kebab/pizza/burger/pie, etc.'
If you want to keep control of your calorie count, this will be the worst idea of them all.
Stopping for take-out on the way home spells an easy 800-1,000 calorie overload, straight before bed.
High calories before rest is bad enough, but sleeping on a full stomach is nigh on impossible.
You'll have destroyed your calorie intake and your sleep in one foul swoop.
Tip 11: Drink water before bed – You’ll thank me in the morning
If you've been following our tip above, of drinking water before the party and between alcoholic drinks, you'll have given yourself a good chance of staying hydrated.
Drinking water before bed will make sure you're hydrated enough to limit a headache and loss of function that comes with the dreaded hangover.
If you haven't been hydrating through the day, this tip will not save you too much.
If you've started the party dehydrated and have been knocking back alcohol all night, this small amount will not be enough to save you in the morning.
Sleep well and put it down to experience.
What To Do The Morning After Your Christmas Party
So, you've navigated your Christmas party and depending on how many of the above tips you've followed will depend on how many of the ones below you'll need.
If you've over-indulged on the food, drink, or both, these tips should help you get through your day without feeling too bad.
Tip 12: Continue to hydrate yourself
If you were drinking water leading up to your Christmas party, during and after the party, you may have saved yourself from a headache.
However, if you were drinking alcohol, you still want to continue hydrating so you keep any unwanted symptoms at bay.
Make sure to drink at least 2-3 liters of water on the day after your party. (You should be drinking this each day anyway!)
Tip 13: Have a nutrient rich shake before your coffee
Most people will head straight to the nearest kitchen or coffee shop on the morning after the night before, to grab a coffee and try to kick-start the day.
Rather than a coffee, you'll be better off having a nutrient-rich shake instead. If you've been less than careful with the alcohol consumption, your body will be craving nutrients, not caffeine.
You can mix up a shake containing water, ice, fruits, nuts, seeds, protein powder and oats to get you on track before you hit the coffee.
We have a great shake recipe available, that will be perfect, in our free 1-Day Meal Plan.
Tip 14: Avoid energy drinks as they will give you a short boost, but a long crash afterwards
Similar to reaching for a coffee, many people will opt for an energy drink following a heavy night. The hope is to get a much needed boost of energy.
Of course, you will get one, but the crash will make you feel much worse.
After 30-60 minutes, your body will not feel energised, but further dehydrated and terrible.
Get a nutrient and hydration boost by drinking a nutrient dense shake, just like I described above.
Tip 15: Eat more fruits and vegetables than usual, especially watery ones – your body needs to rehydrate and get its nutrient balance back
If you're managing a hangover, you'll need to make sure you are getting as much good nutrition inside you as possible.
Snack throughout the day on fruits and vegetables, preferably those high in water content such as cucumber, watermelon, strawberries, pineapple, and cranberries.
These will help you get your nutrient and hydration levels up without just drinking plain old water.
As you can see, there are ways you can enjoy your Christmas party and still feel fine and guilt free the following day.
You don't need to super-limit yourself or stay away from the party in order to save a few calories. Life is all about having fun!
All you need to do is plan ahead and follow the steps I've outlined here. You can then enjoy your Christmas party in the same way as your friends and family.
Our team here at the Fit Father Project will be supplying you with more great Holiday Season articles and videos leading up to Christmas.
We're here to help you stay healthy and have an amazing festive season without falling off track.
I hope you found this useful and I wish you all a fantastic close to the year with your amazing families.
Your new friend & health coach,
*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on Christmas Party survival.