It’s that time of year again and it appears the recession is well and truly over as the diaries fill up with parties and events over the next month just like they used to during the good old days. Fantastic news for the economy in general but not such good news for your liver or your energy levels. Christmas Day and the days around it are often a write off for many of us with food, booze and powerful bouts of laziness top of the agenda for the vast majority. Not a whole lot wrong with that, it is the festive season after all. What if we took our foot off the gas just a little bit in the run up to it though? Do you think that might help?
Negotiating the festive party season in a reasonably healthy way will set you up to enjoy a guilt free Christmas dinner with all the trimmings (easy on the trimmings of course). It should also mean you are not faced with an Everest sized New Year resolution to get back into a healthy routine.
Here are my recommendations on the healthy choices you can make during party season in the lead up to the big day on December 25th:
Try not to change your exercise routine just because you have a few parties to go to and its cold outside. Gyms are lovely and warm this time of year plus they do actually open in December, in fact not many people sign up at the end of the year so if you haven’t already why not beat the January rush and see if your local gym can offer you a deal. If parties are getting in the way of your workouts then be sure to schedule a time when you can catch up and use the weekend if necessary.
Eat Before You Go Out
Even if you know there will be food provided at the party I still recommend eating before you get there, especially if you’re only being served finger food. Eating a healthy meal before hitting the party will not only provide some quality soakage for your stomach but will also help you avoid attacking the finger food like an Irish man at a Brazilian churrascaria. Christmas party food is normally pretty greasy, salty and generally unhealthy anyway and will just make you want to drink more. Finally, just because you’ve eaten in advance don’t think you can start drinking pints of wine. Pace yourself, it could be a long night.
December can be a really busy month with a lot going on so be sure to get plenty of rest where you can. You need alcohol free nights in between all the parties – you should schedule these in your diary just as you would a party night. If the parties are back to back and you’re looking for a break, schedule an exercise session with a buddy or your trainer for the following morning and drive to the party so you won’t break your appointment the next day.
Drink a glass of water or sparkling water in between every alcoholic drink and before you go to bed. This should help with your sobriety and coherence although this is of course dependent on how much alcohol you are drinking. Hydration is also a hangovers’ worst enemy and following the above steps usually means I don’t suffer from too many hangovers (I have been conducting research in this area for many years and continue to do so).
Moderation – Be Yourself
Just because the booze is free doesn’t mean you have to go to the party and if you do go it doesn’t mean you need to drink more than you normally would or that you have to drink some elaborate cocktail. You are not up against the clock - you don’t need to knock back as much as possible before the free bar closes. Moderation, especially at office parties, will make coming in to the office the following Monday all that easier. Be yourself at the party, this is not the appropriate time to tell your manager or colleague what you really think of them.
Choose Your Drinks Wisely
Educate yourself on what you’re putting in to your body. I’m afraid there’s no super healthy alcoholic drink out there that is actually good for you. There are some that are better than others though. Cut out the cocktails and soft drinks, they are full of sugar. Besides, you wouldn’t want to spoil a 12 year old Jameson with a coke! The lowest calorie alcoholic drink around is probably a gin and slim line tonic although like I said, not drinking it at all is going to be the healthier option.
So that’s my Christmas party survival guide The good times may be back so there is cause for cheer in the air, we’re all going to party like its 2007 this Christmas and discuss property prices ad nauseam yet again. Stick to the above recommendations and it should help you come out healthier on the other side of your turkey and ham dinner.
My final piece of advice: Stay away from the Mistletoe when you’ve had a few drinks at the Christmas party, it’s just not funny.
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Yours in health,