It’s the morning of the big party, and you’ve been looking forward to it for weeks. The bubbles will be flowing, the wine will be mulling. You have the perfect outfit all picked out. The only problem: you’ve spent the last fews weeks eating and drinking your way through the holidays, and feel a little squishy around the middle. But it’s never too late to get back on the wellness wagon, and feel amazing when you slip into that suit and tie or little black dress. All you need is a pre-party game plan.
Try these eight day-of strategies to stay on track with your health goals while you celebrate the season.
Step 1: Set your intention. The morning of the party, you may be staring in the mirror, wishing you’d already lost those five pounds. Turn those negative thoughts around and focus on what you can do right now. Remind yourself why you’d like to avoid drinking multiple glasses of holiday cheer: You don’t need the calorie bomb of cocktails and mixers, you could do with a good night’s sleep, and do without a hangover tomorrow! Okay, resolve set.
Step 2: Get up, get out, and work out! Start the day right by boosting your heart rate with a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) walk or run. It’ll not only burn calories while you’re doing it, but also create an after-burn effect, increasing your metabolism (read: torching more calories!) for the rest of the day. So you can get a head start on those hard-to-resist hors d’oeuvres.
Step 3: Pregame with water. Just like athletes hydrate before a big sporting event, you need to hydrate before a big night out. It’ll prevent you from downing your drink to quench thirst. Plus, alcohol is dehydrating, so going into the night parched only increases your chances of a sore head the next day. Commit to reaching your quota of at least 8 cups (64 fl oz/2 l) of water spread throughout the day.
Step 4: Lighten up breakfast and lunch. If the idea of slipping into your skinny jeans makes you want to starve yourself, don’t! Fasting leads to overeating, but there’s no harm in lightening up your meals slightly to avoid arriving with a bloated belly. Eat three balanced meals: try an egg and mushroom omelet, a light salad or whole-grain sandwich with lean protein for lunch, and a bowl of veg soup with a small crusty roll for dinner.
Step 5: Snack before you go. Make sure you eat something before the champagne bottles start popping. Food in your stomach controls how quickly the bubbles hit your bloodstream, and make you less likely to polish off a tray of sliders. Ideally, eat a proper meal, but if you’re running out the door, grab something quick and easy on the go: a banana, cheese stick, or a handful of nuts can take the edge off.
Step 6: Think about your drink. Eggnog might sound festive, but it would take more than a full day of stepping to burn off just one creamy cocktail! Alcohol seriously undermines weight loss, so it’s important to choose wisely. Decide what you’re going to drink and stick with it the whole night. The CDC’s healthy drinking guidelines suggest no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks for men (one drink equals one 12-ounce beer, 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounce shot of distilled spirits). Pace yourself: Dilute your drink to make it go further, drink it slowly, aim to have only one alcoholic drink every hour, and alternate with water—you’ll thank yourself in the morning.
Use this chart to help you decide what to sip tonight!
|Eggnog, 8 oz||396||11,880|
|Mulled wine, 4 oz||227||6,810|
|Beer, 12 oz||153||4,590|
|Red wine, 5 oz||125||3,750|
|White wine, 5 oz||121||3,630|
|Vodka, 1.5 oz||97||2,910|
|Champagne, 4 oz||84||2,520|
Step 7: Buddy up. If only your nutritionist could hang out with you at the bar, to be your support and cheerleader. Failing that, your next best option is to recruit a friend and keep each other accountable. Book an exercise class or a walk together the next morning—that way you’ll both have a good excuse to turn down those shots of tequila. If none of your friends are game, be the responsible friend, and volunteer to be their designated driver.
Bonus Step 8: Be a thoughtful guest. Take control of what you eat and drink. Instead of giving your host a bottle of booze, offer to bring along your own fancy fresh cocktail or a plate of healthy appetizers. That way you can ensure there’s healthy fare for you to munch on while you slowly sip your cocktail. Other partygoers will probably be grateful, too.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.