Food

New Year's Party Primer

New Year’s Eve is the one opportunity we have each year to start fresh.

New Year's Eve is a day in which we celebrate the year gone by and usher in a new one with much fanfare—and food and booze...

That’s the problem; celebrate a little too much and you can derail your weight-loss efforts and possibly sabotage the clean slate you’ve been waiting for on Jan. 1. But don't worry, with a little effort you can still happily ring in the New Year without racking up the extra calories.

As with any big event, preparation is key. It’s what you do before you go out on New Year’s Eve that will help you manage the evening. Doing something active will not only give you a workout to help offset some of the extra rich foods you’ll eat that night, but it will immediately put you in a healthy mindset. According to Jaqueline Odom, PhD, Director of Psychology for the Beaumont Weight Control Center, you need to have a game plan going into the evening. You need to know what your limits and goals will be.

“It is very important to plan in advance what you will eat and drink—you need to decide if you want to let loose and pay a big price (feeling physically sick and guilty due to overeating) or enjoy New Year's Eve without overindulging, which means you may even stay on your plan and continue to lose weight,” says Odom. “But without a plan, you will be tempted by what is around you.”

Once you add booze to the mix, you’ve got the potential for serious overeating—and overdrinking. Alcohol can start a domino effect: you get a little buzzed so you eat a little more. Before you know it, you’ve had a ton of empty calories from the alcohol, and you’ve eaten half the buffet table because you’ve got the drunken munchies.

“Never have two alcoholic drinks back to back,” Odom says. “Have a glass of water in between. If you happen to make a bad decision, like that shot of liquor at midnight, don’t let it spiral out of control. Pump your brakes and think about how you’re going to feel in the morning, both physically and psychologically.”

 “Alcohol lowers inhibition and interferes with good decision making,” she says. “in addition, it is very high in calories and not good for the liver. Our goals can be weakened while under the influence, and we can give in to food urges more easily.”

To help ensure you stay on track this New Year’s Eve, follow these tips before you go out:

  • Develop a healthy eating and drinking plan for the night.
  • Get more exercise than you usually would.
  • Increase your fluid intake throughout the day to stay hydrated.

Once you've arrived at the party, try to stick to these guidelines:

  • Physically stay away from the food and the bar if you can. Don’t sit at the bar. Make yourself have to walk back through the crowd to get another drink or some food.
  • Make sure you’re dancing. Staying on the dance floor will burn calories and keep you away from the drinks while you have fun.
  • Socialize. The more you can be distracted from the food, the better. If you're engaged in conversation, you won’t snack out of boredom.
  • Be choosy about what you eat that night and make it special. Eat the stuff you’d never usually eat. Make it count.
  • Stay in the moment. Don’t beat yourself up over what you consume today.
  • Remember to have fun. It's a celebration!

Interested in joining Weight Watchers? Sign up today!