The festive season has well and truly arrived bringing its endless Christmas parties, end of year office get-togethers and New Year’s Eve celebrations.  For people looking to enjoy themselves but also keep on track with their goal to lose weight, the delicious festive season treats on offer can leave even the most to iron-willed partygoer feeling nervous.

I’ve put together five tips to help you enjoy this time of year without destroying the great progress you’ve made.

1. Don’t arrive at the party too hungry

By making sure that you’ve satisfied your hunger sensibly in the lead up to your event you will ensure that you don’t arrive in a famished state.  You’ll be able to make sensible food choices and you’ll be able to tune into your feelings of fullness that will help you to stop when you’ve had enough.

If you’re planning on starving yourself all day in the lead up to the event to control your total daily intake, it will most likely backfire on you spectacularly.  Most often what happens, in this case, is you lose all rational control over your intake and you end up eating more.

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2. Watch your alcohol intake

Drinking sensibly doesn’t mean the party has to be boring.  You can still indulge in a few festive bevies without getting carried away. 

Unfortunately, as soon as we’ve had one drink, our ability to exercise restraint and self-control goes down dramatically and continues to do so with every drink we have.  This can lead not only to consuming excessive calories from alcohol, but also eating too much food.

Try and drink at least one glass of water for every alcoholic drink you have.

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3. Don’t deprive yourself

What’s the first thing you think of if I tell you not to think about a fruit mince pie?  All you can think about is the fruit mince pie. As soon as you deprive yourself of something you love, you feel a strong desire to have it.

If you head into the event with the mindset that you can eat whatever you want and nothing is off-limits, then you are less likely to overindulge.  Some people fear having this attitude will see them lose all control and not be able to stop eating, but in my experience, the opposite is true.

4. Keep in touch with your fullness cues

It takes between five and twenty minutes after you start eating for the gut to release satiety hormones which feedback to the brain to tell us we’re full.  So it’s important not to eat too quickly, as you’re likely to eat past the point where your body signals to you that it’s comfortably full.  This is another reason why it’s important not to arrive at the party feeling too hungry.

By taking your time and paying close attention to how full your stomach is feeling and stopping as soon as you get a feeling of fullness, you won’t overdo it.

5. Don’t beat yourself up if you overdo it

One of the most common ways people come unstuck over the Christmas holidays is by beating themselves up after one or two less-than-healthy indulgences.  Rum balls and pavlova are an institution at Christmas time in Australia, so if you have too many, don’t be too hard on yourself. 

Tomorrow is a new day, forget about it and move on.  Restricting calories today for indiscretions made yesterday is a dangerous cycle to get caught up in.

The holiday party period is meant to be a time of celebration and relaxation, not a time to be bound by rigid diet rules.  If you follow my tips above, stop when you’re full and don’t let yourself get too hungry, you’ll be able to enjoy the foods you love this Christmas and New Year without guilt or feeling like a failure. 

Merry Christmas and have a happy New Year.

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Want more guidance and support to identify, trust, and act on hunger and fullness cues so you can lose weight without following a restrictive diet?

I can give you that. Find out more about my private weight loss coaching where you get to work with me for 4 months and receive the tools and support to help you regain your confidence, energy and self-worth. With my simple and easy to implement solution, that doesn’t involve counting calories or giving up your favourite foods, you’ll lose weight so you can wear the clothes you want and be a good role model for your children.