Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Decoding your way through December

It's going to be a boozy, schmoozy holiday season, so great ready for a bumpy ride people. It's December 10th, Christmas and Hanukkah are just 2 weeks away with New Year's following close behind. Which've already logged a handful of holiday parties and have 4 more to go, are still reeling from last Saturday's Santa pub crawl (doesn't wearing a blazing hot Santa suit burn off extra beer calories?), are gearing up for your office party (oh wait, that was last year when your office could actually afford one), and are prepping yourself for the onslaught of over-bearing, eggnog-pushing relatives come the holidays themselves.
So if we're counting down, by the time all is said and done (and to all a good night) we've tallied: 12 pigs in a blanket, 11 mini egg rolls, 10 bacon wrapped dates, 9 pieces of fudge, 8 pieces of brie, 7 shots of spiced rum, 6 handfuls of cocktail nuts, 5 stuffed mushrooms, 4 glasses of that damn eggnog, 3 candy canes, 2 pieces of chocolate cheesecake, and enough cocktails and Christmas cookies to make your head spin (literally) and send your weight off the richter scale (thank god for New Year's resolutions right?).
If the shrieks are sounding in your head, put the brakes on...the scale isn't broken just yet. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we typically gain just 1 single, teeny-weeny pound per holiday season...but it's that single pound that adds up to 5, 10 or more over the years. Damn all those innocent handfuls of red and green M&M's...damn them to hell. In all seriousness though, I love to indulge during the holidays just as we all do...and I think more than ever, we ALL could use a few seriously stiff drinks this season with the economy in its current state of utter bleakness. Here are 10 no-fail tips to get you through the rest of the month unscathed and with cheer, enjoyment, and delight without busting your bathroom scale. If you still find yourself chained to the treadmill come January 2, that's your own call.
10. The holidays occur on simply a few DAYS - that doesn't give you a free hall-pass for the entire month of December! Enjoy the actual day itself to the fullest, indulge -- smartly -- without having a smorgasboard.
9. Keep up with your typical routine throughout the month so that you can add in extra cocktails and treats and a holiday meal here and there. Start your day off with your head in the game. Set the tone of your day with a healthy, balanced breakfast and it won't cause a snowball of mindless nibbling and heavy eating. Your mood and energy levels will keep running full speed.
8. If you have multiple social engagements in a given week, keep tabs on the booze intake, plug in 1-2 special (ie. heavier) meals, and balance things out with exercise, water and lighter fare (read: pack in fruits and vegetables, focus on smaller portions at meal times).
7. Take a second look. Scaling back slightly on portion sizes will allow you to account for the extra 100-300 calories, or more, you're downing on a party-hardy day.
6. Cocktail party situation: before you lay a finger on a coconut shrimp, scan the room, assess your options, and build your plate with strategic confidence. Fill up on fruit and vegetables and lite appetizers if they're available and then choose 2-3 naughty (but oh so nice) hors devours and you're good to go. DON'T stand directly next to the table with the bowl of cocktail nuts, chocolate truffles or tortilla chips (will power doesn't come easy, why punish yourself?) Engage in conversation - whether it's with a friend, colleague or if you're unattached, a potential dating prospect. Hey, they hung misteltoe for a reason!
5. Best cocktail for all you boozehounds (and you know who you are): If you're going for the bottle and it's going to be a long night, skip the calorie-rich eggnog, rum punch and chocolate martinis. Champagne's a 'boozy best' at 85 calories a glass. Ain't nothing wrong with a little bubbly. Otherwise, stick to the wine, vodka and club soda, Johnny W. on the rocks or with a splash of ginger ale. Stick with what you know...and an amount your body can tolerate. Nothing's more humiliating than getting smashed beyond belief at your office party and telling your boss something you probably shouldn't.
4. Save dessert for when it's really worth having. Store bought cookies that have been sitting on shelves for weeks don't generally taste that good. Again, seek options, divide (into a slightly smaller portion), and conquer the dessert table.
3. The office issue. Every year your office gets inundated with gift baskets, boxes of chocolates, random brownies, cupcakes and sugar cookies and the endless bowls of candy wherever you turn. Turn auto-pilot off and step away from the M&M bowl. Think about what you're reaching for and save those calories for when you really want them...just two handfuls of M&Ms or 4 teensy Hershey's kisses can rack up an easy 100 calories in no time flat.
2. Get sufficient sleep and drink enough'll help with those morning-after hangovers.
1. Bring back the basics after a night of holiday cheer. Back on the horse and you'll prevent the slippage and skidding that can lead us into a very sticky New Year.

Ok, now that you're armed and dangerous, go out and have a killer holiday season!

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