Four simple tricks to enjoying yourself without overeating at holiday gatherings

by Kat Maltarp

With the holiday season in full swing, there are plenty of parties, events, family functions, drop-ins, etc. that you’ll be invited to; and with the aforementioned, there’s often a plethora of food, now more than ever with the internet making it oh-so-easy to share recipes. Chances are the standard vegetable/meat trays will be taking a back seat to creative food creations.
While you're fully in the “I won’t overeat, I won’t overeat” mode on the way there, you can easily turn into the “OMG I have to try two of everything!” person once your eyes lock in on the food.
For those of you who teeter on the edge of “I just want a nibble” and “Can’t move. Ate too much. Sooo full,” we’ve put together a list of ways to enjoy yourself without overeating.

Never Go To a Holiday Gathering Hungry 

Going to a holiday party on an empty stomach, where you know there is likely to be an array of endless pastries, cookies, and other high calorie finger foods, will often lead to you consuming one or six too many of almost everything. A good trick is to eat something higher in protein, like a handful of nuts, a hardboiled egg, or even a small protein shake, before you get to the party. This will curb your hunger just enough so that you can still enjoy a few of your favourite treats without going overboard.

Practice Portion Control

Do you really need to try one of everything? Just because your dear old Aunt Gertrude made it, doesn't mean you have to eat it. Stick with your favourites and stick to single portions at a time. And if there is a dish or two that you are pressured into trying for the sake of not hurting anyone’s feelings, just make sure it’s a smaller portion than you would usually take. Remember, it's also okay to say, "No, thanks, maybe later" even if you have no intent on having that piece of fruitcake that’s the “best ever ever!”

Limit Your Alcohol Intake

Almost everyone likes to indulge in specialty cocktails over the holidays-- Eggnog with rum, candy cane martinis or even Irish coffee. But as yummy as they are, they are still just empty calories that can be potentially harmful to your health in excess. Enjoying one drink and then switching to the virgin version along with sparkling water or juice can be the better way to go, while still feeling like you’re partaking in the Christmas “spirit”.

Dress Up and Feel Good

Wherever you are on your health and fitness journey, love and appreciate your body for all that it is. Wear that awesome outfit that has been sitting in your closet all year, or splurge on that new pair of diamond studs and show them off with that new haircut. Slide on that svelte sports coat and jeans.You’ll look and feel so good that the last thing you’ll want is to feel bloated and full in your snazzy outfit.

Enjoy the holidays for what they are -- a time to celebrate the people in your life and all of life's blessings -- and that includes YOU.

Kat Maltarp, BSc. is a Certified Personal Trainer and Registered Health & Exercise Practitioner.