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How To Avoid Overeating At Parties

Updated on March 5, 2012

Sticking To Your Diet At A Party

Picture it: you're sitting on a couch, a nice red wine in hand, and are surrounded by all of your favorite foods. To the left of you, on the end table, is a large bowl of M&Ms. Right in front of you, on the coffee table, are various bowls of chips, pretzels, dips and Reese's Miniature Peanut Butter Cups. On the larger dining room table across the room is a full-out spread of meats, cheeses, fish, breads and every imaginable type of potato. And in the kitchen are boxes and boxes of cakes, cookies and brownies, all waiting to be served after the rest of the food is gobbled up.

For some, this would be like heaven. However, if you're trying to lose weight, having large amounts of treats within grabbing distance can be a total nightmare.

The good news is, it is possible to have your cake and eat it, too (literally in this case). Here are some tips that I've found helpful in preventing me from going totally overboard when it comes to eating at parties.

Keep Hunger At Bay

1. Don't decide to not eat anything. Unless you have incredible will power (I don't), it won't work. You can tell yourself all you want that you'll just skip the food and enjoy the company, but it won't happen - especially if someone comes by shoving a tray full of delicious appetizers in your face. Instead, accept that you'll eat something and come up with a game plan ahead of time.

2. Don't arrive hungry, either. Chips and dips are not a good substitute for a real dinner. They're high enough in calories and are empty calories at that. That said, you probably won't be satisfied until you polish off a lot ... and then you'll be racking up the fat and cals. Instead, eat a sensible dinner beforehand so that you don't arrive famished.

3. Don't have too much alcohol. Alcohol adds calories to begin with, but it also impairs your judgment. After you've had four or five glasses of wine, you might start to munch mindlessly without paying attention to what's going in your mouth. Stick to one or two servings of your favorite alcoholic beverage.

4. Start with the healthiest snacks that are there. Almost every party has a vegetable crudite tray or a fruit salad. Fill up on those snacks before hitting the pigs in blankets. 

You've Got The Moves

 5. One thing I like to do at parties is to chew on a mint or some gum. This way, I'm keeping my mouth busy and don't feel as much of the need to crunch on chips.

6. Keep your distance. If most of the food is in the kitchen, head to the living room. Move to the opposite side of the couch from where the M&Ms are. Try not to sit directly in front of your favorite nosh or else you'll be more tempted to snack on it.

7. Keep on moving. If there's some good music on, why not dance instead of eat? If there's not, try to walk around the party and mingle. Go from the kitchen to the living room and circle around the area, saying hello to the guests. You can even volunteer to help the host put things out and clean up. All of these things will keep your mind off of food -- and you'll get a little exercise in, to boot!

Avoid Overeating At A Party

Sticking To A Diet

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Plan Ahead

8. If possible, call the host ahead of time and find out what he or she is serving. Then you can decide which snacks you want to fit into your meal plan. They don't all have to be the most healthy, but stick with a few favorites rather than trying everything. If you can't do this, scope out the party when you arrive to see what's there. Then, pick 3-4 items that you really like. If the birthday cake looks delish, have a small slice, but don't have that, plus four brownies and six cookies.

9. Bring your own food. You shouldn't arrive empty-handed, anyway, but cover your bases by bringing something that everyone will like -- and that you can eat and enjoy. A great bet is the aforementioned veggie crudite platter. Another good idea is to bring some fat-free popcorn or pretzels. The great thing about fat-free popcorn is that a serving is fairly large, so you can eat a decent amount without taking in too many calories.

10. Don't stress over a "slip-up." If you end up eating more than you'd intended, it's not the end of the world. That said, don't use this as an excuse to completely end your quest to lose weight, "Oh, I might as well eat an entire cheesecake now." Put the night behind you and get right back to eating a healthy breakfast the next morning. Definitely don't skip meals the next day because then you'll be hungry and could end up going on another binge.

How To Keep Eating Under Control

Enjoy Yourself!

This is a party after all! There's nothing wrong with treating yourself and indulging -- a little. The trick is to do it in moderation.


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    • Pcunix profile image

      Tony Lawrence 7 years ago from SE MA

      My wife hates that photo :-)

      I kind of like it. It helps me to remember not to take anything too seriously.

    • NaomiR profile image

      NaomiR 7 years ago from New York

      Thanks! I like your hair.

    • Pcunix profile image

      Tony Lawrence 7 years ago from SE MA

      Good advice. Thumbs up!

    • fits4life profile image

      Cherri Brown-Jett 8 years ago from Richmond

      Great hub. You did it again. So many of us need to read this. The information is great also. This is definently a step to ending obesity.