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Party-Proof Your Diet

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The holidays are a scary time for dieters, but you can stick to your diet though Thanksgiving and Christmas. Here's how to regain control after common seasonal slip-ups -- so you might even lose weight this year.

Holiday Party Strategies

You drank too much eggnog at the office party.

Undo the damage. You can blame your wicked hangover and pounding headache on dehydration and the toxins your body had to release to metabolize all that booze. "Alcohol also increases the secretion of acid in the stomach and irritates the stomach lining," says Robert Swift, MD, PhD, associate director of the Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies in Providence. Relieve your misery by eating a piece of toast with honey. Greasy foods, like fried eggs and sausages, will only overtax your irritated digestive system and make it pump out more acid, Dr. Swift says. Honey is an excellent source of fructose, a sugar that research shows may help your body get rid of alcohol's toxins more quickly. Rehydrate with plenty of water and pop an ibuprofen, which was found to relieve aches faster and better than acetaminophen in a study in the journal Headache.

Stay the course. To outsmart calories (eggnog packs more than 200 a cup) and hangovers at future fetes, order a mixed drink, such as vodka and club soda; it is low in calories (about 100), easy to dilute (just add soda), and less likely to cause a humongous hangover. "The darker the booze, the worse you'll feel the next day," Dr. Swift says. That's because dark liquor contains more congeners, chemicals produced during the fermentation process that are to blame for many hangover symptoms. Also avoid screwdrivers, vodka and cranberry juice, and other drinks made with fruit, says Heather Bauer, RD, coauthor of The Wall Street Diet. The sugar in these cocktails will leave you craving more of the sweet stuff, making pecan pie, peppermint bark, Christmas cookies, you name it, irresistible.

You went overboard at last night's holiday dinner.

Undo the damage. Even if you ate enough to feed Santa, Mrs. Claus, and all the reindeer, don't starve yourself to make up for it. "Deprivation will set you up to overeat again," says Patricia Bannan, RD, a nutritionist in Los Angeles and author of Eat Right When Time Is Tight. Eat a high-fiber breakfast (try a bowl of bran cereal with a handful of raisins), drink plenty of water, and work out to get things, um, moving. Munch on foods that are high in H2O (cucumbers, celery, and melon) and potassium (bananas, apricots, and pumpkin) to flush excess water out of your cells and reduce bloating, Bannan suggests. Steer clear of supersalty foods, such as pickles, olives, cured meats, and most frozen meals, as well as carbonated drinks.

Stay the course. When you're dining at a friend's or a relative's, bring a healthy dish that you can dig into guilt-free. Then choose sweet potatoes over mashed with gravy, and broccoli over green bean casserole. Skip the rolls even if they're whole wheat; chances are you already have plenty of carbs. Help yourself to a double serving of salad to fill up without filling out, and just say no when Aunt Edna insists that you have another spoonful of her stuffing ('tis the season for food pushers!). A little humor will take the edge off, so say, "Your stuffing is so good, but if I eat another bite I'll be more stuffed than that bird!" When you play hostess, fix lighter fare (make your green bean casserole with fresh beans and sauteed onions rather than cream of mushroom soup and fried onions). And since Turkey Day leftovers are even more delectable and easier to overindulge in, send guests home with doggie bags.

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kelseywalker83 wrote: Did you know that if you¿ve EVER dieted or used a low carb diet, your fat burning hormones automatically plummet, slow down your metabolism and can STOP your body from burning fat in LESS than a week?

3/21/2013 10:37:01 PM Report Abuse
a3984502 wrote:

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2/2/2012 02:26:21 AM Report Abuse
dashofpurple wrote:

I do the same thing! I eat before going to a party or get together but still eat there as well! I have very little comtrol when it comes to food :)

12/14/2010 02:03:31 PM Report Abuse
laurasirikulvad wrote:

this article is pretty good, but it doesn't really talk about what to do when there is literally NO CHOICE at a holiday party. sure, it's easy to order a light cocktail when the party is at a restaurant or has a bartender, but what if you attend a party where there is no choice? i suppose you can always bring a healthy meal, but it's sometimes tough to do this.

12/10/2010 08:49:41 AM Report Abuse
jlm172 wrote:

Sound advice here. I often read it's good to eat a "pre-meal" at home before a party (to take the edge off and negate the threat of overindulging at the party). Sometimes I feel that does more harm than good for me, as I eat something healthy at home and then am unable to resist holiday treats at the party. That means the "pre-party" meal was *extra* calories. Suggestions on this?

12/8/2010 08:49:43 AM Report Abuse

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