Seven tips to survive the Christmas season

Whether you are mindful of your diet or not, you may be thrown off when you attend corporate functions this holiday season

Seven tips to survive the Christmas season

Party season is here, and the corporate functions are rolling in...

Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Well, it depends on how you look at it. On one hand, it’s a great opportunity for you to socialise with individuals who normally are unavailable owing to busy schedules. On the other hand, a tempting spread of culinary extravagance and free flow soft drinks and alcohol, can derail your resolve to eat healthy and nutritious food.

The New England Journal of Medicine suggests that adults gain at least half a kilo over the holiday period, but more alarming is the fact that once the extra weight is gained, it is rarely lost. Consider that just a kilo of extra weight equates to an extra 9000 calories or 20 extra hours of intense training, you may be a little more mindful of what you intake this holiday season!

Whether you are mindful of your diet or not, you may be thrown off when you attend corporate functions this holiday season. If you can relate to this predicament, then you need something more than just tips on dining out.

The following are some actionable tips tailored to address this season, and help you stay on track.

1. Client entertainment is an integral part of many corporate events. Needless to say, the array of delicious appetizers, indulgent mains, and decadent desserts in front of you is enough to throw even the most zealous dieter of course.

Do not arrive at a function hungry. Your brain and stomach are both focused on eating and this is where overeating cycle begins – you can consume many more calories (1000-2000Kcal) without you even releasing! Having a protein and/or vegetable rich snack an hour or so beforehand, will prevent this scenario.

Not only will you be in a much better position to make better food decisions as your choices are not driven by ravenous hunger, but you are far less likely to overeat. Some good pre-party snacks include a nut or protein based snack bar, low fat cheese/vegan cheese and light crackers, a protein shake or a hearty salad.

2. Corporate functions provide an amazing platform for you to expand and strengthen your network. Consequently, you’ll find yourself at such events more frequently as you gain confidence. However, food at these functions is typically buffet style.  

A great trick to eliminate overeating is to reduce the size of the portion. Play this game: imagine that one half of your plate is off-limits. Visualise that part of your plate emanating a red glow as if it were radioactive. According to the rule of the game, you’re not allowed to put any food on the radioactive area. Also, anything that accidentally enters the “red zone” becomes inedible. By engaging yourself in this manner, you’ll eat only half of what you normally would.

3. Be careful with the appetizers. They often contain almost as many calories as the meal. While waiting for the meal to be served, don’t sit yourself down next to the candied walnuts, or bowl of chips and dip!

4. During company-hosted events, you’re in a surrounding that’s an extension of your work environment. However, the mood is often celebratory, and as a result, alcohol is generally on the table.  Limit alcohol prior to the meal. Alcohol can decrease your discipline to watch what you eat, and may cause you to overeat on foods that are higher in starch and sugar (think pizza, burgers, ice-cream, more alcohol).

An effective mechanism to limit alcohol consumption is to drink twice the amount of water as alcohol. By filling your stomach with more water than alcohol, you can not only prevent hangovers but also prevent extra calorie intake.

5. Saying “no” to people is difficult. But when your colleague offers (sometimes pesters) you to eat a second helping, saying “no” becomes close to impossible. To successfully evade this scenario, give this method a shot.

Never let your plate or glass become empty. Logic dictates that you can’t have a second helping until you finish the first one. So if anyone attempts to cajole you into eating more, you can play along and let them know that you’ll go for another as soon as you finish the food on your plate.

6. Avoid overeating, and overdrinking because you are stressed at work. Research conducted by the O.C Tanner Institute found that work life and personal are intertwined - so much so that the impact a company has on an employee wellbeing at work will influence their wellbeing outside of work. The holiday season is not a good reason for you to overuse food and drinks as an excuse to unwind (see point 7).

7. Use your holiday time wisely and do as much activity as you can. Plan active social events with friends and family, and use any extra time to exercise more so that you are able to enjoy good quality festive season foods, knowing you are doing the extra activity. A simple rule of thumb is to commit to at least an hour of exercise each and every holiday day, and then you can enjoy your favourite holiday foods without a subsequent increase on the scales.

Executing your game plan

Since most corporate events are scheduled, you’ll have plenty of time to put your strategy in place.

Your strategy will help you maintain a healthy diet no matter how many corporate events you attend.

For more information visit:

With over 15 years local and regional experience in business development, and corporate health and wellness, Karen Aroney now helps employers create the best places to work. How? By building engaged workplace cultures globally through everyday recognition best practice!

Free newsletter

Our daily newsletter is FREE and keeps you up-to-date with the world of HR. Please complete the form below and click on subscribe for daily newsletters from HRD Australia.

Recent articles & video

What are the priorities of senior leaders today?

Can HR deduct training costs from employees' pay?

HR leadership in an era of instant gratification

How to become moral leaders

Most Read Articles

R U OK? Day: How can HR prepare?

1 in 3 quit over this top employee benefit

Does unlimited annual leave actually work?