Hooray for the Holidays! And cocktail parties, and happy hours, and wait- what?! This is a fitness/health blog- “what do you mean by this whole hooray for cocktail parties business? I’m on a diet over here!”
But really- hooray for the holidays, because even if you’re “on a diet” or watching your “food budget” closely- depriving yourself just for deprivation’s sake isn’t going to help your overall goal of a healthy lifestyle. If you want to go out with co-workers and celebrate a year well worked, or have a drink at a Holiday party- go for it! (here’s the but…) BUT, make sure you’re being smart about alcohol intake.
So, here’s the HOW to enjoy that drink, and not derail your diet:
-Drink lots of water. We all know that alcohol dehydrates you- so drinking water as you’re drinking alcohol is always important from that standpoint. Water also helps dilute the alcohol in your system, and drinking water as you’re drinking will help you feel more full (which helps you turn down drink #2 or 3). Make sure you’re drinking at least half a glass of water for every full glass of wine or beer.
-Eat first. If you are meeting up with friends for drinks- make sure you’ve had a decent meal beforehand, drinking on an empty stomach causes bad decisions. Period.
-Eat lighter the rest of the day. If you know you’re going to a dinner party in the evening, then make your lunch a lighter meal. Don’t skip your lunch, your body still needs food. Don’t sabotage your breakfast to try and make up those calories, breakfast is what’s going to get you through your day.
This seems like it’s in contradiction to the “eat first” point- but really it’s not. Eating a low carb, higher protein lunch, then snacking on veggies before your party will help you save your “food budget” for a guilt free meal in the evening. Then, once you get to your dinner party- eat the dinner before you start with the drinks.
-Try to make good choices. There are the obvious good choices: stop at just ONE drink, don’t overload on the appetizers, etc… But also, another challenge with alcohol is that drinking tends to happen in the evening, close to bedtime. This doesn’t leave your body much time to try and metabolize the alcohol and those appetizers that came with it. Try having your drink earlier in the evening to allow your body more time to process it (un-metabolized alcohol= hangover).
-“Indulge a little bit.” This is the one that doesn’t seem like it should be here, but the quote comes directly from our fitness director. If you really ENJOY Mojitos, even though it’s packed full of sugar and who knows what else, go ahead and enjoy ONE. Life is something to be enjoyed, Holiday parties come once a year, and if a Mojito is how you want to celebrate the season- then celebrate. Just make sure you drink lots of water, eat a meal beforehand, and give your body time to process it before you go to sleep.
Have a Happy Holiday.
We wish you good health and a Merry Christmas,
Columbia Basin Racquet Club
Photo credit: Kari N via Flickr