New You Plan Blog
Navigating the Party Season!
Party season is well and truly upon us! If you’re trying to stick with your weight loss or maintenance journey, it can feel a little daunting.
Parties this time of year often revolve around a little overindulgence which can feel stressful if you want to enjoy yourself but also stick with your dietary plan. It’s not uncommon to be anxious about whether you’ll feel deprived or not part of the celebration, or worrying about if you’ll “go off track” when you’re surrounded by party food, 10-course meals and several rounds of drinks!
People around you at these parties may also not understand the choices you’re making which can feel quite isolating. But fear not, we understand what you’re trying to achieve and how life-changing it can be. Below are some strategies you can put in place so you can enjoy celebrating with your friends, family and colleagues whilst staying on track.
Remember though, If you do end up eating or drinking things you weren’t planning to at an event or party, or if you choose to relax on your diet for a celebration or two, that’s ok! You haven’t undone all your work and you’re allowed to enjoy yourself, especially this time of year, and eat some of your favourite foods. Reaching your weight loss goals is all about consistency over time and definitely is not an all or nothing approach.
It’s a great idea to have a plan in advance so you can still keep on track and enjoy all your festive parties. Here are some things to consider and put into a plan so you smash this party season feeling confident and in control.
- Don’t overly restrict yourself in the lead up to a party. It can be tempting to ‘save up calories’ for a party if you feel like there’s no way you can stick with your way of eating once you’re there. Not only will this make for a pretty miserable day, but you are also more likely to overeat much more than you would have once you get to the party.
- Instead, focus on one or two of your favourite foods that you’re excited to try later. Research suggests that if you use a lot of mental energy to suppress thoughts about tasty foods, like in preparation for a party, you are much more likely to then eat more food and choose higher-calorie foods. Choosing one or two foods that you love can give you something to look forward to, reducing your food-related worry and can allow you time to decide how much you want to eat of them.
- Be kind to yourself if you do end up eating more than you wanted to, or if you choose more high-calorie foods than you’d like. Feelings of guilt can often lead to overeating or even binge eating, getting you caught in a vicious cycle. Instead remember that one night, or even one week, won’t ruin your health or the progress you’ve made towards your ideal weight. Try to focus on how good the food tasted, the texture of it and if you’re still eating, try slowing down to appreciate these things. Not only is it a more pleasurable experience, but you are also much more likely to feel satisfied and less likely to keep overeating if you don’t want to.
- Eat before the party. If you don’t think there’ll be any options available that you want to eat or that will fit in with your dietary plan, you are completely allowed to eat what’s best for you before you get there. You can still enjoy the party and the people you’re celebrating with without sharing food. You also don’t have to answer anyone’s questions about it if you don’t want to – just let people know that you’ve already eaten!
- Take some snacks with you. Having some snacks on you is great if you do get hungry so you know you’ve got at least something that fits in with the way you like to eat.
- Offer to bring some food if it’s a party hosted at someone’s house. The hosts have fewer things to prepare, you know you’ve got food you’ll be happy to eat and you still get to feel fully included in the party.
- Choose lower-calorie drinks like a spirit and slimline tonic. Alcohol is often a big part of festive parties and you don’t need to feel left out. A few lower-calorie drinks and maybe adding some berries or a cinnamon stick to bring a festive feel can be a great way to get in the party spirit and still stay on track. Otherwise, alternative your drinks with water or another low-calorie option.
- Choose an outfit you love that fits you and makes you feel great! There’s no better way to be able to let go, have fun and still feel in control than feeling confident in yourself and your own skin.
Don’t think of these as rules, more that they’re options or tools or you can add to your repertoire to be prepared to tackle this party season to have fun and stay on track. The more rules you create, the more likely you are to obsess over them or feel guilty if you break them.