A special occasion – be it a celebratory meal, cocktail party or a festive brunch with friends – is very exciting but can also prove stressful when you’re trying to watch your waistline.

You don’t want to ruin all your hard work by opting for three courses and that third glass of wine, but you also don’t want to attract scathing looks by picking at several stems of asparagus and sipping on tap water.

These seven tips will help you navigate your way through the holiday season to ensure you have fun without any calorie-related anxiety.


Identify trigger foods

At the end of the day, it’s the memories of a special event that will last longer and bring you more satisfaction than any culinary overindulgence. An easy way to avoid overthinking about food is to identify your triggers.

These are the foods which can send you into a period of unhealthy eating if you indulge them just once or twice. Think about what these foods might be before you’re confronted by them and resolve to avoid them. If you’re entertaining others, prepare some healthy alternatives, or take them with you if you’re visiting family or friends.

If you just have to cave or the holidays won’t be the same, then practice the three-bite rule for moderation. You’ll get that first taste of sweet nostalgia, a second savory bite, and a third satisfying bite to wrap it up and you’ll still feel good. You want the holiday season to be filled with happy memories, not regret and remorse for something you ate.


Make healthy choices

By making savvy choices about what you put onto your plate you can avoid upsetting your macros.

As opposed to ham, which is high in salt and fat, choose a few slices of turkey breast for dinner. Avoid the skin and thighs because these contain hundreds of unwanted calories.

Consume a varied and colorful diet and choose foods rich in fibers such as sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots, roots, legumes and pulses. Avoid candied beets, cream of spinach, broccoli and cheese; while they might once have been healthy veggies they are now calorific bombs.

Swap to whole grain alternatives that release energy slowly. The carbohydrates in wholemeal bread are broken down slowly over several hours and so do not give any sudden flooding of sugars into the bloodstream. This gradual release helps you feel fuller for longer, suppresses your appetite and stops you craving sweet foods because you are not on the blood sugar rollercoaster.


Don’t skip your workout

Usually, people give you plenty of notice as to when holiday parties will be held, so plan your workout routine accordingly and make sure you hit the gym if you are planning to have a treat at the holiday gathering.

If you’re not near a gym, or the idea of leaving your toasty house is unbearable, try 30 minutes of interval training three to four times a week. Interval training allows the body to burn more calories over a shorter time than steady cardiovascular exercise, such as longer distance running. This is due to the alternate periods of high intensity training and low intensity recovery times. There are numerous fitness apps available to download that provide you with an interval workout.

Another tip is to simply wear your sneakers, park far away and outrun the lady sprinting for the last pair of boots at Nordstrom.


Exercise moderation

Whether it’s a gathering with a sit-down meal or one where you are carrying your hor d’oeuvre plate around, only have one plate and one drink.

This is especially helpful if you have more than one holiday party to attend in a single evening. And after you’ve had your one plate and one drink, remember to stick to water.


Practice willpower

Willpower is like a muscle – work it and it’ll get stronger. Your loved ones aren’t working towards your goal, you are, and you’ve got to practice saying no to what doesn’t make you feel good.

Friends and family have a frustrating way of making us feel bad for being mindful about what we put in our bodies as if somehow the party is less fun if we don’t stuff our face. Say no anyway. People will judge harshly what they do not understand but you can feel good knowing you set boundaries for yourself and keep your goals in mind.


Take the right supplements

If you’re keen to look trim for a special occasion it’s worth taking a natural diuretic. Diuretics cause increased water loss, or urine output (diuresis). By getting rid of excess water you can shed a couple of pounds and look ‘tighter’ fast.

Herbal diuretics relieve discomfort accrued from excess water retention by promoting urination, without cutting out important electrolytes, particularly potassium.

MHP’s XPEL® is a time-tested natural diuretic formula. It contains multiple natural herbal diuretics including dandelion root – which has been proven to enhance normal kidney activity which increases urination frequency – and juniper berry fruit, which has been used as a diuretic and to treat kidney ailments since Medieval times. It also contains natural caffeine from green tea and guarana.


Get enough sleep

Yes, parties can go on late into the night but don’t let celebrating get in the way of your precious sleep. Sleep is a major factor for weight gain. Not getting enough or having bad quality sleep pushes our nervous system into an alarming state and as a response the body will slow the metabolism down and shifting pounds can become very difficult. Make sure you’re getting your 40 winks in.

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