Often the month of December is more social than most. It tends to be jam packed with gatherings, cocktail parties, and after-work get-togethers. So how do you partake in the fun without blowing off your well-earned physique? How do you stay jolly without looking portly? We’ve compiled a few tips that ring true to us and hopefully will help you stay committed to your healthy way of being this holiday season.

1. Eat the good stuff first. When attending events with buffet-style meals or tables crammed with appies, seek out and choose the healthiest options first. This way you can start filling your belly with what is most nutritionally dense. Think high protein options such as shrimp cocktail or chicken skewers, pork tenderloin or seared scallops along with tasty little veggie bites. Opt for pistachios instead of chips, meatballs instead of cheese balls. Better still, if you’re attending a potluck-style event, bring a healthful dish yourself – that way you can control some of what’s being served and feel like a bit of a fit elf.

2. Be mindful. Think about how the food you’re eating makes you feel. In other words, if every bite is as delicious as the last, give yourself permission to keep munching. Just be aware of it. Mindless binging comes at a price. Like Marie Kondo says in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, choose joy. Eat foods that make you feel happy and ditch the rest. Empty calories are like empty stockings…bad news.

3. Opt for a smaller plate or the six-ounce glass of wine. You can always go back for seconds, or thirds for that matter, but rather than filling a huge plate with excessive calories, evaluate your helpings one round at a time. We’ve all been guilty of loading up our plates with more than we could or should eat and often feel obligated to finish every bite. Instead, know when you’ve had enough.

4. Sit near someone who shares your fitness values. Seek out the person you know also respects good health. Or sit beside your sweat buddy – someone who inspires you to make better choices or holds you accountable when you say you’re going to hit the weights. Oftentimes we rise or shrink to those with whom we share company. Heck, flex your muscles and be an inspiration for someone else at the party who’s hoping not to overdose on high-caloric holiday garb. After all, it’s not just Santa who’s watching, so is your conscience.

5. Lastly, choose your treats wisely. A candy cane martini or a slice of eggnog cheesecake, a handful of chicken wings or stuffed mushroom caps, all add up. It’s more than fine to treat yourself every now and then, just know not every mouthful is created equal. Perhaps you can swap, trade or even substitute one choice for another to stave off complete gluttony. Maybe one bite will suffice. Or perhaps not. Occasionally it just feels good to not overthink everything you’re putting in your mouth. Occasionally that extra mile can be built into your week/walk/run knowing you’re opting to indulge.

If you’re anything like us here at Kaizen, feeling your best and treating your body with respect, is the norm. Stay happy and healthy this holiday season – you’ll be glad you did. Just remember, if all else fails, you can start over at any minute.

Salut!

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