Mission Possible: The holiday party without weight gain!
Last night karel and I went to a holiday party. We met a lot of people and saw many familiar faces. I love socializing and chatting with people and the ring on my left ring finger never gets old as a great conversation starter :) So, many people ask me for advice for holiday party's and how to not overdo it with the food. I simply tell people to enjoy times with friends and family, try to eat small portions, avoid the "bad" stuff and eat a small meal before the party. Apparently I didn't realize how hard it is to not want to try EVERYTHING at a holiday party!!! All that wonderful food and when there is no cooking prep or clean-up, eating is at its best! I will use this blog as a resource for beating the weight gain during the holidays. Mission: Go to a holiday party, eat and socialize and leave without feeling grossly stuffed. My first step for the party (which I knew of in advance) was to eat foods during the day which I assumed I would not be eating in the evening. Most party's are overwhelmed with carbs, sugars and well, more carbs. Nothing wrong with the carbs but the pancreas can not handle all that sugar at once and an insulin surge won't be your friend if you are trying to watch your weight. After my morning ride I of course enjoyed pancakes (there's no way around that one) but I filled the majority of my plate with egg whites and fruit w/ a side of pancakes (2 small ones). My thinking is I enjoy a little of everything and I don't deprive myself of any food (especially since my favorite foods are nuts and bread). Later on in the day I enjoyed nuts, fruits, veggies, yogurt a whey protein smoothie and some veggie meat. I include protein with all carbs in order to keep the blood sugar stable all day. A coffee in the afternoon and lots of water kept me feeling good. We stopped at the store around 6pm and headed to the party which started at 6:30pm. Guests were supposed to bring a dish so I brought my secret weapon...a veggie tray! Perfect, I thought to myself. You always want to bring a dish which you will eat. And if you think that is sellfish you can bring 2 dish's, one for everyone else and one for you. But hey, you don't want to sabotage anyone else's nutrition plan and who doesn't like fruits and veggies? In the car I had a few walnuts for Karel and I in order to keep our blood sugar stable as our tummy's were starting to rumble. Nothing like going to a party hungry and then gorging on food and feeling just awful. I was feeling good when I walked into the party but then it happened. All the food was just staring at me! YUMMM My first move for the evening was to meet and greet. I put a piece of gum in my mouth to keep me from nibbling (and the breath was smelling minty-always good for saying hello). When trying to stop yourself from reaching for appetizer foods, first think of all the hands you are shaking and all the things you are touching. You always want to wash your hands before you eat and since I am a big germ-phobe I don't eat until I wash. So after saying hi to everyone and washing my hands I make my first move for the evening. NUTS! Perfect, blood sugar stays stable and a little fat keeps me happy. During this time, I enjoy a pinch (not a handful) of almonds (my FAV!) and peanuts. Seeing that the protein in the nuts will keep my insulin from surging out of control I then decide to go for the chex mix. Pretzels, corn flakes and other salty yummies keep my taste buds happy. I don't think there is a party without nuts so always go for the nuts first. You will not only feel better when you are eating but you will eat less. After the chex mix it was time to socialize some more. This holiday party was great because everyone brought a dish. However, that means as people came to the party, 6:45pm, 6:50pm, 7:15pm....more food came as well! My second move was to scope out the competition. What do I really want to eat and what can I do without? Since I am a vegetarian, my choices are always limited so I really take note of foods that I probably won't cook for myself. I love indulging in things but it is always a little of everything. After a full water bottle of water (which is a must for keeping you full longer) I was ready for my meal. As I mentioned-vegetarian here so the chicken, turkey, salads w/ meat, pastas,fish, wraps, etc. weren't an option so I usually have a lot of snacky food to eat for my dinner. I don't really mind since I can eat more foods without a lot of calories. I went straight for my secret weapon...veggies! Because I felt safe with my cucumbers, carrots and peppers, i filled up most of my plate with those items. Another option would be a salad (dressing on the side) or fruit for your secret weapon. Next I went for the cheese. A great source of fat and protein and since I don't pass on the bread, I grabbed a piece of a baguette to go with the cheese. Kinda like a marni-friendly sandwich. I also grabbed some salsa and bean dip for the veggies and some crackers. By this time, i was feeling kinda satisfied (Not full) with all my veggies, nuts, cheeses and water and I popped in another piece of gum. Now time to forget about the food and call it half-time. I went to another room in order to avoid all food completely. since i don't drink, wine and beer aren't a concern for me but i suggest a glass of wine or beverage of your choice and be sure to factor in 100-200 extra calories into your daily diet by cutting out a 100 calories from lunch and another 100 from snacks and/or breakfast. During half-time Karel and I played a game of Foosball. I think I might have a new passion in life. If triathlons don't work out for me, Foosball team here I come. Proudly, I won against karel and that was worth celebrating. I didn't really feel hungry for the next hour but the deserts were very intriguing so I thought I would pick my desert of choice. I wanted to wait until i had all deserts in my view before making my final move. Since Karel loves his sweets and I, in no way, consider myself a baker (therefor I don't really eat a lot of sweets) I let him pick the deserts that I find super yummy (yet calorie loaded) and I take a bite of them. For Karel, he burns calories just looking at food so it isn't a problem for him to occasionally indulge in treats (you should see our 'fridge...pretty healthy. We don't even have a pantry...just a cabinet for a small selection of processed and boxed foods :) Confession...we do have ice cream and I love graham crackers and teddy grahams :) Anyways, I made my decision...rum cake and pound cake. I always recommend cutting your own piece and if the piece is large (or cookies/brownies too large), share with someone or eat half. I had a little of both rum cake and pound cake and I was totally satisfied with my selection. SCORE! I did it! I survived the holiday party and didn't feel stuffed, gross or bad about my decisions. I didn't feel like I had to avoid any foods and i was happy with my decisions. I hope I provided useful info for your holiday party. any other questions just email me! :) It may seem silly to have a game plan for a holiday party but you need to be aware of what you eat and why you are eating it. I always tell people to have an idea of what they will eat at each meal and snack, everyday, especially before you start a training session. Also, have a range of calories for your meals and snacks and try to stay within that range. I suggest 300-450 calories for meals and 125-175 calories for snacks. For holiday party's, keep your calories low per hour and enjoy good food and great friends!