Can you hold our drinks while we go up to the podium to collect our Nobel Prize?
“Ladies and gentlemen of the Selection Committee, esteemed colleagues and people who snuck in here because they heard about the open bar. This is a huge surprise. Neither of us are doctors. We have only one advanced degree between us. Steven has a Masters degree in Godzilla. Hardly the background from which one expects recognition on this level . . .”
We were devastated when the Nobel Committee ignored our previous effort: The Heimlich Maneuver Doesn’t Work On Head Wounds (San Francisco: Unpublished, 2009). But this time it will be different. We’re so confident that we have already written our acceptance speech. It’s just a matter of waiting for the call from Stockholm.
We are honored and humbled to offer the following submission to the Nobel Committee in the often-ignored category of Scientific Contributions to Partying:
The DYC Guide To Holiday Party Survival. (Back by Popular Request.)
It’s once again time to dig out the reindeer sweater and otherwise prepare for the onslaught of Holiday Parties. The cookies are baking. The eggnog is mixing. Latkes are frying, making the whole house smell like a Dunkin’ Donuts. For the record, we do not know a single person who is able to stay fully on his or her diet this time of the year. We’ve tried repeatedly and failed. The best we have done is to minimize the damage.
If You Are Destined To Fail, The Best Strategy Is To Prepare In Advance:
As we have said before, he notion that it’s possible to inoculate yourself in advance of cheating on your diet is by far our most revolutionary idea. Our simple idea is that it is possible to plan ahead for events on your calendar that you know will blow your diet. Holiday parties are a perfect example. We all know that these parties are not compatible with healthy eating and drinking. We also know about these kinds of events well in advance. We have plenty of time to prepare.
In advance of any scheduled event of this kind, go into Austerity Mode. The idea is to build a calorie deficit before you start the actual cheating. This way, by the time the event arrives you’ve already earned the dietary lapse and you can enjoy yourself with relative impunity. Deciding how long to spend in Austerity Mode before such an event is more of an art than a science. We suggest you err on the side of over-preparing. A few days in Austerity should be sufficient for a holiday party. If you want to use this strategy to prepare for a New Years trip to the Caribbean it’ll take longer, perhaps as long as a few weeks. There is no downside to over preparing; if you go into Austerity for longer than needed you might lose a little extra weight.
A cheat like the one below, would ideally be preceded by at least three days in Austerity Mode.
If it’s too late to prepare in advance for the holiday carnage, we have a few tips to help minimize the damage.
Never arrive hungry.
The best way to avoid eating junk is to avoid letting yourself get overly hungry. How? Eat before you get there. It doesn’t have to be anything huge. Just eat something before you arrive that meets the rules of the DYC Food List. You don’t want to show up stuffed, but also you don’t want to show up hungry. If you arrive at a party starving, you’re likely to eat an entire tray of cookies before you even make a full round of “hellos.” Your first line of defense is a pre-arrival snack.
If you do arrive hungry, don’t panic.
It happens. The day gets busy. You’re running late. You barely have time to change into your party pants. Eating beforehand is out of the question. The first thing you should do when you arrive is hit the crudité, hard. Then move to the cold cuts and finally to mixed nuts and cheese squares. Avoid the crackers and bread squares. The goal is to take the edge off your hunger before you do anything you will regret later.
Remember to avoid mixers.
If you know DYC, you know that we have a strong No Mixer Rule. Mixers are sugar. Letting your host add sweetened juice or simple syrup to your drink is the caloric equivalent of letting him or her muddle in a powered donut. There is no avoiding the fact that a cup and a half of eggnog has more calories than an entire bottle of wine. Other holiday options, such as hot toddies and mulled wine are little better; they contain so much simple syrup that they should be thought of as candy in liquid form. You’re far better off sticking to beer, wine and straight liquor served over ice. If you must try your host’s signature eggnog recipe, have a small glass and nurse it slowly.
The most important holiday party rule: take a taxi.
As social drinkers, we cannot overstate the importance of letting someone else drive you home. We cannot repeat this advice too often. If you want to increase the enjoyment of your ride try asking your driver, “Seen anything really crazy tonight?” Trust us. There is no better way to kill time on your way home.
From all of us at Drink Your Carbs, have a fun and safe holiday season. Enjoy yourself. Throw back a few drinks. Eat some snacks that you would never otherwise allow yourself to eat. Remember: if you completely blow it and eat your body weight in ribbon candy; simply start over on DYC the next day. Try not to beat yourself up. Guilt and self-loathing burn surprisingly few calories. You are far better shrugging it off as “excessive holiday cheer” and starting fresh in the morning. Eat a healthy DYC breakfast and hit the gym. Being the only person in the gym—which is likely at this time of year—is incredibly satisfying. We can’t explain it except to say that it’s a little like being the only survivor of the zombie apocalypse. You are the undisputed winner.
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