Why you should care about fitness while you part-ay
It’s easy to forget yourself during all the fun and excitement of the holidays. That in addition to the friends and family events can leave you stressed out, rushed, and willing to pause and let your fitness routine fall by the wayside until January.
Waiting until January can backfire. First of all, you have to contend with losing the weight you want and THEN some. Research shows that 95% of New Year’s Resolutions are fitness related, but after just 3 months, only 10% of people think their resolution will last. 80% of all New Year’s resolutions fail by February. Which is why I actually go to the gym the least in January – I wait it out for the short-term mob and get my precious space back.
On the other hand, if you follow my tips to stay on track, you will have more energy to zip around this December and enjoy quality time socializing again.
You Need a Plan to Stay Fit for Holiday Parties – Here’s What You Can Do
Make no mistake – staying on track will be challenging. There is an abundance of food and a lack of time to exercise stacked against you. But with a few tips and tricks, you can stay on track (or even get back on track!)
Below are some tips that will help you stay on track with your fitness routine during the holidays:
#1: Wear a tight winter white outfit
A loose fitting suit or a dress that has an empire waist will give you license to munch and graze all night. But if instead you wear some brand new skinny jeans or a fitted dress, you will naturally have that buffer of not wanting to eat every plate of food that is waved in your face by the cater waiters.
The same goes for color. Black is boring anway so consider winter white – added incentive not to spill or eat more.
#2: Don’t be that person
We have all done it. Had one too many drinks and got teetery. Or maybe even pre-gamed with some other friends or colleagues, reasoning this would make it better because you won’t have to fight the line or pay for drinks (you know cash bars still happen). Especially when it comes to holiday office parties, eating or drinking too much are the worst offenders of etiquette and potentially career-ruining mistakes.
But waking up the next morning feeling like you crawled out of an exhaust pipe and reaching for your phone to scroll through your outbox is not ideal. Even one extra glass of wine can lower inihibitions enough to not stop yourself from bypassing the vegetable tray and going straight for the sliders.
Here are some general guidelines when it comes to drinks that will not sabotage your fitness efforts:
- Limit drinks with alcohol to a maximum of two.
- Avoid mixing drinks. Especially wine and liquor. Just don’t do it.
- Drink coffee, tea, soft drinks, and water. Get a glass of sparkling water in a short glass to blend. In truth no one should care whether or not you drink, and most of the time, no one actually does.
Going with a similar “sharp as a tack” theme from above, you want to keep yourself in check completely so that you can stay on it! You want to sip, savor, and nurse your beverage slowly because the effects of alcohol can hit quite quickly; therefore, try diluting half of your drink with club soda/ sparkling water and citrus or club soda/sparkling water and citrus completely. No one has to know that it is not alcohol and you would be completely surprised at how satisfying and refreshing it is!
Try your very best here to remember that when you drink, it really physiologically dehydrates your body like none other, so having lots of water nearby will help mitigate the sound of tomorrow’s alarm!
#3: Eat beforehand to avoid slider sabotage
First of all an empty stomach will make you get tipsy quite faster and possibly do something embarrassing that you will never be able to live down. Going to a party full of food when you are starving and expecting not to eat everything in sight is like expecting to go out into the rain without an umbrella and not get wet.
Eating nothing or grazing during the day backfires in a few different ways. First of all, at some point, you will experience some ‘hanger’ followed by brain fog in your day, then, because you have put your body into starvation mode, it is now ready to gorge on everything that your eyes see. Not to mention, cocktail hour can often be a low-food affair, with floating plates of greasy food that you don’t want to feel like you have to eat just because you are starving.
If you are choosing to drink, alcohol will hit you faster, lower your inhibitions, which then also causes you to continue to gorge more than your stomach can take, and this all leads to painful sleep, and an awful headache tomorrow. And, it is a vicious cycle – your body naturally produces chemicals that make you crave greasy, fatty food – which explains why McDonald’s seems so tempting the next day. The sweet spot is to eat about 3-4 hours beforehand. That will give your food time to digest without making you feel bloated. My recommendation is to have some soup (like this Carrot Ginger flavor one from Pacific Foods) and some nuts, this way you won’t be bloated or feel too full. Too much protein or a lot of raw veggies, on the other hand, can make you more susceptible to digestive issues, so save that for your munchies the next day!
#4: Keep your mouth and hands busy with other than food items
Carrying a clutch will make it harder to carry a plate full of food. Also chew mint gum – The action of chewing may reduce hunger, make you feel fuller, and help you experience fewer cravings, particularly for snacks . In one recent study, chewing gum reduced hunger and cravings after a 10-hour fast as effectively as drinking a calorie-rich beverage
One of the best weapons you can have is your makeup! Wear a vibrant color of lipstick or lip gloss – totally great for a party. This will make you less likely to want to mess it up. I am a huge fan of plum or berry colors, because it is not as in your face as red, and they look good on most complexions. Try NARS lip gloss in Dolce Vita (and BTW, all NARS lip gloss is on sale!) .
Even if the lip gloss tip doesn’t apply to you, gargling mouthwash can have a similar effect of not wanting to ruin your pristine breath.
#5: Find an activity to do with people near you, like taking photos, playing games.
NOT drinking games. You are not at a frat party. If there is a ping pong table, board game, photo booth or other fun activity, jump in! These activities will help take up some of your time so that you are occupied and not gravitating towards the bar and food table. It is also a good way to mingle and meet more people..
#6: Keep those steps up! (With shoes you can step in)
If your outfit permits and the weather permits with the location ahead, try and walk to your event. If you are not walking, use the opportunity to circle around and mingle. This is NOT the occasion to wear your six-inch Louboutins. You don’t need to wear Crocs, but do wear a reasonably comfortable shoe, preferably boots or a wedge. If the party’s at a hotel or booked venue you may have to deal with slippery steps and floors, and you need to be agile, for example, if you have that one chance to speak to the managing partner, you don’t want to lose it because you are moving at a glacial pace. Also, you will likely be standing most, if not the whole time.
If you are heading to the party from the office, find a group of people that want to walk with you!
Here is some more reading to get you motivated to get outside.
#7: Get in the right workouts
Even if it is just 20 minutes a day, get some movement in to motivate your fitness mindset. You should be celebrating all accomplishments at this time of year, big and small. My goal is modest until the end of the year – yoga twice a week (for my mental health), and cardio for 30 minutes 5 times a week (including walking outside).
What type of workouts are best suited for a holiday party fitness routine?
You may want to focus more on cardio than you would normally. The reason is CICO – calories in, calories out. You will inevitably be eating more calories, so the more calories you can burn, the better. Cardio also does wonders for relieving stress and keeping your body warm. Hop on the treadmill while you Zoom (see my post with tips here), go for a brisk walk with your dog after dinner, or try a new cardio workout class, like Zumba.
Cardio is also the perfect activity for when you are short on time. You can fit a high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout early in the morning, so that nothing can get in your way later. See my post on HIIT for info on how you can do this with no equipment but your own body. This is also a good option if you are away for the holidays, either with family or at a vacation spot.
Also, remember cardio includes NEAT (see my post here). Playing with your nephews and nieces, kids, dogs, caroling, even baking and cleaning are all ways that you can burn extra calories and stay busy. Both of which are good for your phyiscal and mental health.
This is a great post about office holiday party etiquette.