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As we get closer and closer to Christmas and New Years, the topics of diet, parties, discipline, and overeating are coming up more and more.  The news runs daily stories on this and that strategy for making it through the holidays.  People love to tell us about the multiple holiday parties they have coming up and how “good” they are going to try to be.  It can feel like a lot of pressure, understandably.  That’s why we’ve been trying to shift the focus from avoiding and abstentia, to relaxing and controlling.

Self-Discipline, not Self-Flagellation

In our last article, we talked about the difference between self-discipline and self-flagellation.  We should not feel like we should punish ourselves when we want to relax and enjoy a party, the company, and some rich food.  Instead, we need to work on developing the self-discipline to enjoy with control. By the way, this is universal, not just applicable to the Holiday Season.

Preparation is Key

One way we can develop this self-discipline is through preparation.  You know that Christmas party is coming up tomorrow night.  You know there is going to be food and drink there that you don’t regularly enjoy.  Through some preparation leading up to the party, you will feel better about indulging at the party and will actually have more control when you do. 

Start by setting your mindset to prepare to indulge.  Give yourself permission to enjoy the party without a feeling of guilt.  You work hard in the gym.  You work hard at home in the kitchen.  What is it all for if you can’t cut loose every once in a while?  Trust that you will get right back in track the following day.  We’ve talked before about how to do that. 

Next, start preparing at the start of the day of the party.  You know you will eat more than you normally would.  Assuming the party is at night, cut back on your breakfast and lunch a little.  Increase your protein a little during those meals, and reduce the fat and carbs by half.  Additionally, make sure you are drinking water throughout the day.  Extra water will keep you hydrated, which will keep you feeling fuller, help you avoid cravings, and will help any possible hangover the next day.  

Added Benefits

If you follow these steps, you will fully enjoy your party and will likely find that you don’t eat or drink as much as you expected.  It’s in our nature to want to do what we are not supposed to do.  By giving yourself permission and putting time and effort into preparing for the party, it takes away that stigma.  There is something a little less appealing about that cookie when you tell yourself you are “allowed” to have it.