MONDAY MOTIVATION: MY 5 RULES FOR STAYING HEALTHY AT HOLIDAY PARTIES

Happy Monday! And more importantly, happy Thanksgiving week! Hooray! I know I've mentioned it a million times before, but Thanksgiving is not one of my favorite holidays. HOWEVER, I LOVE the week of Thanksgiving because it means time with family, breaks from work and school and of course, LOTS of shopping!

How was everyone's weekend? We celebrated my sister Perri's 23rd birthday and impending college graduation with a big party. GO PERRI! It was a super fun night: open bar, passed hors d'oeuvres and sushi platter after sushi platter at one of our favorite restaurants in Manhattan. It got me thinking about the holiday season in general: how it tends to be a more concentrated grouping of parties, events and big meals as compared to the rest of the year. In that vein, I wanted to share my 5 personal rules for staying healthy at holiday parties!

Here's how I check myself before I wreck myself:

· If planning to drink, have a glass of water before and after each cocktail. Staying hydrated is essential to keep from overeating - and over imbibing. If you're dehydrated, not only will you get drunk much quicker, it's likely that you'll also eat too much, because your brain knows that your body is in need of something, and often our first response to that signal is to eat.

· Take full survey of the menu/spread before making a plate. I won't dive right into the pigs a the blanket (though God, it's tempting) before checking out all of my options. On Saturday, I knew exactly what was being served and that I really wanted to save room for Funfetti cake. I skipped the heavier apps and opted instead for sushi. Don't know the full menu or what course is next? Eat like the night is ending with your most favorite dessert. Practice moderation and have just a little of everything. And if the night happens to end with a dessert you're not crazy about, at least you didn't overeat! (And you can always stop for fro yo on the way home!)

· Pick your poison - and stick to it. The holidays come with lots of specialty food and drink that we don't see for the rest of the year, and they're meant to be enjoyed! That being said, pick one indulgence and stick to it. If you pick a sugary cocktail, skip dessert and vice versa. If you're in the mood for cocktail with a higher fat content, like a hot buttered rum, stay away from fried food and cheeses. Etc, etc, etc. Balance your macros whenever possible.

· Don't be the person who's trying to get their "money's worth" at the open bar. I was that girl. For years. I thought, "Hey, someone paid for all this...may as well enjoy!" Ugh! I'm not a big drinker - I never have been - but when it came to open bars, I well balls to the walls more often than not. This was a (terrible) pattern of mine for years. Now I realize that this misguided notion of "getting your money's worth" really makes no difference in the end. The point of an open bar should NOT be to see how fast you can get drunk but rather to enjoy yourself without worrying about having to take out your wallet or who's picking up the tab. 

· Go into each meal, party, and event with a plan in place. DId you workout before? Will you workout the morning after? What have you eaten for the rest of day? In Bethenny's books, she talks about looking at your food intake as a bank account. I love that analogy. Keep all of this in mind and decide how to you want to "spend" your calories. Here's my plan for Thanksgiving:

- AM workout, Thanksgiving day: 45 minutes of cardio (probably an indoor cycling class)

- high protein, low fat breakfast and lunch

- Thanksgiving dinner indulgences: cornbread and mac & cheese. I'll have some turkey to balance it out and have just a few bites of dessert. One glass of wine.

- AM workout, day after Thanksgiving: 1-hour strength training session. 

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What's your Thanksgiving plan? How do you stay on track during the holiday season?

Thank you for reading. See you soon. Mwah!