Don’t Let Holiday Parties Be a “Hell, No!” For Your Health

Family parties. 
New Year’s Eve celebrations. 
Elevating your spirit in the name of holiday cheer. 

There are countless opportunities during the holiday season to indulge, but what internally happens when you cave into external stimuli? Excessive bubbly. Avalanches of sugar, fat, and sodium. It’s safe to say that the holidays bring the most health obstacles per square mile of your year. 

It’s Not a Treat; It’s Your Lifestyle 

Dr. Holly Wyatt, medical director for seasons four and five of ABC’s TV show Extreme Weight Loss, talks about what happens when you drink alcohol. “The body,” she says, “has nowhere to store the alcohol because it would become toxic if it stayed in the system, so it has to burn it off immediately.” The body works overtime to burn off the alcohol and stores the food you consume while you’re drinking as fat. Dr. Wyatt goes on to say that “whenever you’re in that positive energy balance where you’ve eaten more food than you need, the body goes into a physiological state of storing extra calories.” Simply put, when your body has more carbohydrates or fats than it needs, it saves them. 

The issue is typically not one night of overindulging; the problem is when more moments than not in a week are overindulgent. You may say you ‘treat’ yourself to dessert after dinner or to a six-pack or bottle of wine at night, but if you ‘treat’ yourself every day, that’s not a treat– that is your lifestyle. 

Tips to Prevent Overindulging 

Pritikin offers the following “4 Tips to Avoid Overindulging on New Year’s Eve,” but these tips are ones to embrace and follow year-round, not just once a year: 

  • Don’t fast or avoid eating. 
    • “The fact of the matter is that skipping meals will only lead to making unhealthy decisions and overindulging later on to compensate, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.” 
  • Don’t enter the party hungry.
    • “Fuel your body with filling meals and snacks that will satisfy you but are low in calorie density. Without going overboard on calories, eating balanced beforehand will keep you feeling healthy and full into the night.” 
  • Exercise. 
    • “Exercising can reduce stress and improve your mood, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.” 
    • “By working up a sweat in the morning, you’ll feel confident and strong in your party attire later that evening. The better you feel about your image, the more relaxed you will be, and the more you will be able to enjoy yourself at the party.” 
  • Plan ahead. 
    • “Before you arrive at the party, you should have made a decision on what you will eat and drink and how much you will consume. If you tell yourself that you are going to eat the main course but skip dessert, stick to that plan.” 
    • “When it comes to alcohol, the trick is to have one glass of whichever beverage will result in the least amount of consumption.” 

Your Mindset May Be Your Downfall, Not the Food 

Food is emotional. 
Food reminds us of loved ones. 
Food is a tradition. 
Food is a way people show love. 

It’s safe to assume that every holiday party you attend is laden with temptations wrapped in memories of loved ones, tied with reminders of tradition, and dripping with mouth-watering instant satisfaction. 

Remember, parties aren’t supposed to be scary. You can enjoy those one-time-a-year festivities without making your health pay for your actions. As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” You already know the moments of your life that are historically a deathtrap for your health, so lead a healthy life leading up to those moments and do your best to step around that trap before it stands before you. 

Author: Evelyn Lindell 
Certified Health & Wellness Coach