New Year's Party Primer

Yes, you can celebrate your personal successes this year without tossing all your healthy habits out the window. Here's how.
New Year's Party Primer

You've worked hard this year, eating right, staying active, and getting closer and closer to your weight-loss goals. Why not celebrate on this, the biggest party night of the year?

Whether you keep it mellow with friends and loved ones at home or dress up for the biggest bash in town, chances are food and drink will figure heavily in your evening plans. And that’s the problem; Celebrate a little too much and you can derail your weight-loss efforts, setting you up for disappointment and regret on January 1. We enlisted the help of several experts to give you inside tips on how to 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. Scheduling in some physical activity 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. That mindset will help you determine your limits and goals for the evening, says Jacqueline Odom, PhD, director of psychology for the Beaumont Weight Control Center.

“It's important to plan in advance what you'll eat and drink," says Odom. "You need to decide if you want to let loose and pay a big price, like feeling physically sick and guilty due to overeating, or enjoy New Year's Eve without overindulging. But without a plan, you will be tempted by what is around you.”

To help ensure that New Year’s Eve is a day and night for weight-loss success, Odom suggests a healthy mental checklist:

Dr. Odom’s Tips
  • Develop a healthful eating plan for the day.
  • Get more exercise than usual.
  • Increase your fluid intake.
  • Stay in the moment. Don’t beat yourself up over what you consume today or any other day.
  • Stay positive. This is about progress...not perfection.

Once you add booze to the mix, you’ve got the potential for serious overeating — and overdrinking. And once you get started, alcohol can have a domino effect: You get a little buzzed and you eat more, then you get more buzzed and eat some more. Before you know it, you’ve had too many of the empty calories in the alcohol, and you’ve chowed on the buffet table because you’ve got the drunken munchies. That's a big-time red flag here.

“Never have two alcoholic drinks back to back,” she advises. “Have a glass of water in between. And, if you happen to make a bad decision, like that shot of Jägermeister at midnight, don’t let it spiral out of control. Put on the brakes and think about how you’re going to feel in the morning, both physically and psychologically, if you don't stop now.”

Alcohol can be a negative catalyst, notes Odom. “Alcohol lowers inhibition and interferes with good decision-making,” she says. “In addition, it's 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.”

More Quick Tips
  • 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 and talking. Walk from one party to the next, if you can, to get a little more exercise.
  • Socialize. The more you can be distracted from the food, the better. And if you can’t see it, you won’t want it as much.
  • Be choosy about what you eat that night and make it special. Eat the stuff you’d never usually eat. Make it count.
  • Don’t blow your PointsPlus® values on breakfast and lunch that day. Go super low on PointsPlus values for breakfast and lunch. And eat something with a low PointsPlus value before you go out.
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