1. Fill up
Don’t arrive to your dinner party when you’re starving – everything will look irresistible, and you’re less likely to make informed food choices when your hunger hormones are in overdrive. Keep your tummy satiated by having a nutritious breakfast in the morning to keep you fuller for longer.
2. Portion control
Before loading your plate at gatherings, do a quick survey of all the food options available. Make a note of what you really want to eat, and don’t feel compelled to sample all the carbs and fried food just because they’re there. Instead, fill up on protein and high-fibre veggies – these will keep you fuller for longer – and save your calories for just one helping of your favourite dessert.
3. Cut back on soda
Don’t negate your weight loss efforts by downing liquid calories. A typical can of soft drink contains roughly 150 calories and up to four teaspoons of sugar. Swop this for a glass of water instead and you’ll be cutting out unnecessary carbs.
4. Limit alcohol
On the same note, watch out for how much you drink. A 175ml glass of wine can pack the same amount of calories as a small bag of chips, and a pint of beer or cider has roughly the same amount of calories as a glazed donut.
5. Pick healthier options
If you’re faced with a buffet spread of Christmas food, be wise about what you pick. For example, roast turkey has less fat and calories than roast beef. When getting your fill of fibre, choose fresh fruits and veggies without salad dressing too. Simple swops like these will add up in the long run.
6. Move away from the food
How many times have you caught yourself chatting round the food table, only to mindlessly pop an extra slice of ham or a creampuff into your mouth? It’s easy to associate parties with food, food, and more food, but the social event doesn’t have to be a diet disaster. Once you’ve had your fill, move away from the food area and spend time catching up with loved ones, playing games or singing carols.
7. Learn to say no
In many families, it’s common to push food onto each other’s plate as a sign of love and care. But blindly polishing everything that has been passed to you can end up sabotaging your weight-loss efforts. If you’ve already eaten enough, it’s okay to politely decline second helpings of shepherd’s pie. Don’t feel obliged to overeat just because you’re at a party, or the food’s homemade.
8. Sneak in workouts
Going to be out all night? Squeeze in a morning run before heading out, or do a 20-minute HIIT workout pre-party. Research published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that doing 45 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity in the a.m. reduced study participants’ desire and motivation for food for the rest of the day too.
9. Pack away leftovers immediately
If you’re throwing your own house party, clear or pack away the leftovers once dinnertime is over. You’re less likely to go back for more food once it’s out of sight. Besides, the added barrier of having to re-heat the nosh will make you think twice about getting seconds.