What if you marked all the events you will attend this holiday season on a calendar with a RED DOT. And don’t forget to count the pre and post events, such as Thanksgiving which stretches over 4 days. Then for each event, add an extra 1,000 calories.

Twelve events in November/December = an extra 12,000 calories or 4 to 6 extra pounds of potential weight gain!

We had the calendar workshop with our Thursday class last week. Most of our participants had 12-20 events marked (parties, theater, fund raising, restaurants, special trips, family visits etc.). Let me tell you, they were not buying the extra 1,000 calories rule! But then we peeled off what they had eaten at their last party, they all came up with an extra surprising 700-800 calories. Drinks not included. And they certainly forgot something!

If you are an active professional, there is a chance you have attended or will attend at least one networking event per month. This is now the time for company parties galore. Most of these events offer food and/or drink of some kind, which might present a bit of a challenge. Rather than avoiding the situation altogether – because what good does that do for your business – we have developed a few tips to get you through.

Below are 5 strategies to engage your brain in something other than eating:

1. Always try to have something in your hand: a coffee, a file, a bottle of water, even a drink. When you have something in your hands, it’ll be more challenging to hold something to eat. But if you carry a glass, don’t drink too much!

2. Have a buddy system with a colleague or friend. Help each other avoid temptation with either a secret wink when at the food station or by introducing each other around.

3. Just say NO! Studies show that the further away you are from the food, the less your mind is focused on it. When the waiters are coming around with finger food, just ignore them. They usually carry calorie and carbohydrate rich foods like pigs in a blanket, mini quiches and pizza etc. If it is a nice piece of salmon sashimi with cucumber and gorgeous chicken with tomato, go for it. But either you ate before, so be reasonable, or go for it and don’t have dinner after.

4. Be focused on people. Are you someone who is shy in these situations? Do you hit the food so you don’t have to talk? You have to force yourself to meet people. Engage in a conversation that resonates with you. Plan in advance whom you want to talk to. Or try to stay with people who have fun. Go to meetings with the objective to meet interesting people. And then, when you feel like you had enough, feel free to leave. You don’t need to stay the entire time.

5. When you go to a meeting and have food on your plate, you’re not going to start counting calories, but in order to be realistic, imagine that each piece of food is 30-50 calories per bite. Just look at your plate and count the bites. It can quickly add up.


Keep these in mind before your next networking event. Most importantly, remember to engage your mind in meaningful conversations and have fun.

Happy Holiday Season to All!