Staying on Track During the Holidays – Part 2 – Navigating Holiday Parties

So much fun (and so many calories) packed into just a few weeks! And, heck yeah, you’re going to attend as many parties and special events as you can! Afterall, it’s only once a year… but there’s Friendsgiving, Family Thanksgiving (probably more than one), Work Potluck Thanksgiving, the neighbor’s Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, Work Dinner Party, making treats with the kids / grandkids, and family Christmas celebrations. That’s a lot. Do I think you should skip them for the sake of your diet? No. Is there a way to navigate them without completely blowing it? Yes! 

Eat Healthy Around the Event

Even if you plan to go off-track a bit at your holiday gathering, it doesn’t mean that you have to throw the whole day away. If you are headed to grandma’s for Thanksgiving lunch, don’t skip breakfast! You may think you are saving calories, but you’re really just setting yourself up to overeat once you have food in front of you. Choose foods that are well-balanced in macros – protein / carbs / fat. If eating breakfast, this could be eggs, sweet potatoes, a slice of avacado, and a small piece of fruit. This will help you feel fuller longer and give you the energy you need to enjoy your event.


Make movement a priority the day of your holiday party. If it’s Thanksgiving, look for a boot camp or “Turkey Trot” in your area to motivate you. If you have a gym membership – use it! Get to the gym early in the day before you get “too busy” with meal prep and travel. If you are already on the road, use one of our away-from-the-gym workouts, mentioned in this post. And if all else fails, just go for a walk! Move!

Drink Water!!!

Make sure you have had plenty of water to drink leading up to your event. (Hydration starts days before, not the morning of.) The day of your gathering, drink at least 16 ounces as soon as you can after waking – and no, coffee ounces do not count. As soon as you get to your event, drink another full glass of water. This will make sure you are continuing to stay hydrated AND make you feel fuller so you don’t overindulge immediately.

Another good tip is to drink 8 ounces of water for ever alcholic beverage you may choose to enjoy. Not only does this help to keep you from spending too many calories on drinks, but you’ll thank me in the morning.

Grazing is Dangerous

Grazing is dangerous! Most people consume a lot of extra calories as they are just standing around in the kitchen, “visiting” with family and friends or helping out. And, most of that grazing is completely mindless. You’re not even thinking about it! If you’re a “grazer”, think about all of the calories you are basically throwing away. Save them for the meal you’ve been looking forward to all week!

Keep it Under Control

I always tell my clients that they can have anything they want, but not everything they want. In holiday settings, this applies to seconds – and let’s be honest – thirds. Make a plate with everything you want, but in reasonable proportions. These should be things that you are looking forward to or know that you’ll enjoy. Only go back for (small) seconds for the things that you LOVED on that first plate.

Stop When You’re Full

Don’t just eat for the sake of eating. And remember, the feeling of satiety (being full) sometimes lags 20 minutes behind when you finish your meal. Give your body some time to determine if it’s really all that hungry or not. Just because there is much ado about stuffing yourself at events like Thanksgiving, it doesn’t mean that you have to – or that it’s worth it. Don’t make yourself miserable by overeating just to regret it later.

Get Back on Track ASAP

Regardless of how you handle your holiday events, remember to get back on track as soon as possible afterwards. Getting through this holiday season without gaining weight as more to do with your long-term routine than it does a day or two of derailing your diet. Check in with your trainer, keep an activity log, motivate yourself by looking back over your progress during the year. You’ve got this. Now go eat some turkey!

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