Cookie swaps and spiked egg nog

I'm coaching a big group of clients through the holiday season. I am so proud of them for making a change in their eating habits now and not after the New Year. (If you keep telling yourself you're going to wait til next Monday, or January 1st, or after that big event, I promise you: it won't happen. Do it now.) But many of my challengers in this group have told me that they have parties coming up. And they don't trust themselves. Because how can you have just ONE glass of wine? And there's going to be CHEESE there! It's easy to rid your home of all the bad foods, but what do you do when temptation is staring you in the face at the office holiday party or your BFF's annual cookie swap? I put together this list of 5 tips to help you stay on track during the holidays with hope that just ONE of these will help you out this year.

1) Eat before the party. A lot of people think, "Well, I know I'm going to overindulge tonight, so I better starve myself all day in preparation." This is the worst possible thing you could do. You'll arrive at the party feeling famished and you will want everything in your belly immediately.  Then the scarfing will commence. Instead, if you eat something healthy and filling before you head to the party, only the most mouth-watering dishes will catch your eye, and you will be able to control your portion size to a normal amount because you won't be hungry. I use this trick all year long. Before I go out to eat, I have a scoop of all-natural peanut butter straight out of the jar. Yum!

2) Drink water. Not only will it help you feel more full, it will keep you hydrated, especially if you're drinking the spiked egg nog. For every alcoholic beverage you consume, be sure to have a glass of water too. I don't know about you, but when I'm at a party, I MUST be holding something the whole time. And if I'm talking to someone one-on-one, I feel the need to be sipping from a drink continuously. It's a social habit that I picked up somewhere, and when that glass is filled with alcohol, it's bad news. So instead, make sure there's water in there!

3) Ask if you can bring a dish. Most hosts would love that contribution! And then make it a healthy dish that's a proven party favorite. I bet you won't be the only one who would appreciate something nutritious at the party. Even if you're asked to bring a dessert, there are many healthy treat options out there. Pinterest is your best friend in these cases. I recently made these pumpkin balls for a gathering of friends to watch the Pats game and they were a hit! Everyone wanted the recipe. When your friends find out that your delectable dish is also healthy, they might want to hear about your new lifestyle choices. And then you're leading by example. Now who's the cool kid at the party?

4) Don't bring home leftovers. I know it's REALLY hard to say "no" to Nana, but it will be the smart choice in the end. If you bring it back home, there's a good chance you're going to continue to eat it. Day after day. So as tempting as it is, leave it all. If you have to tell a white lie, it's ok. "Sorry, we're actually going out to eat with friends tomorrow night and I wouldn't want it to go bad" or "We are staying at a hotel tonight and there's no fridge in our room. Sorry! So you keep it. It won't go to waste here! ;) " If you do get stuck with candies or cookies, bring them to my house. Just kidding (no, not really). I mean, bring them to the office break room on Monday to share with your coworkers. Or donate them to your local soup kitchen.

5) Forgive yourself. Remember, it's all about progress, not perfection. If you went to the party with the BEST of intentions, planning to have just one glass of wine, but instead you had two, don't beat yourself up. Two glasses is A LOT better than five glasses, which is what you might have drank if you weren't even conscious about your choices. You are making progress simply by being aware of what you're consuming. And if you can't indulge a little bit during the holidays, well then tell me: when can you indulge? You have to enjoy life! If you splurged during a holiday party, think, "well that was fun!" and then move on. Don't waste a second more of your energy worrying about it. Tomorrow is your new day.


So how do you resist all the temptations of the holidays? Share your tricks in the comments below so that we can all help each other out!