It's been in diaries for months and anticipation is building amongst your work colleagues. The annual festive party may start at 6pm in a few days but what you do between now and then can have a really positive impact on reducing the pain (and guilt) you'll feel from the biggest work social event of the calendar.
So for the first part in this feature, here are my 6 tips for the days beforehand (in time order) to help you enjoy the night but still keep you on track with your health goals: -
- Prepare for the aftermath - Have a meal full of body and mind replenishing nutrients ready for the morning when you wake up or for lunch at the latest. You might not feel like eating at the time but the sooner you can start getting good things in to your system post the binge, the better. The antioxidants in blueberries are always a good thing but at this stage, most colourful veg will be beneficial.
- Lower your calorie intake during the two days before you go out - Christmas meals and drinks (plus the social situation itself) can force people in to autopilot mode and create overeating. Aim for balance over the entire week by lowering food intake during the build up so you can enjoy yourself when out.
- Increase the amount of physical training/exercise you're doing - This will help you burn more calories than usual to help offset the event's excesses. And do something you're not used to burn even more energy.
- Lower your carbohydrate intake at the same time - Festive celebrations meals usually contain a higher carb content so aim for balance over the entire day.
- Drink a pint or two of water before you go out - Not only will this help you feel fuller straight away but potentially reduce the speed at which you eat and drink later on. Worst case? You'll be well hydrated for the evening's dancing antics!
- Empty glass and electrolytes - Put a glass out somewhere obvious in your house with an electrolytes tablet in it (search the web for a popular one and where to buy them). Staying over somewhere else? Carry a tablet with you or keep some in your office drawer for when you (hopefully) get in the next day. Get in from your night out, fill the glass with water, stir it, drink it. Now go to bed. Night night.
There's no point being a killjoy at times like these. Life is there for living and being super restrictive when all you want to do is let your hair down (assuming you have some) doesn't do anyone any favours. But if you can do at least a couple of these tips, you'll feel a bit less guilty, can go to bed with a clearer mind and wait for the hangover to kick in!!
Look out for part 2 of this feature which will cover the day after the night before and how to get yourself back to normal ASAP.
Written by Ben Lawrence, Certified Nutrition Coach