Six Steps For Holiday Survival

The holidays will be here soon and with them come many temptations. The thought of staying on your diet might feel daunting, but don't give up just yet! While this is a time of year for celebrations, and food is one of the pleasures of parties, holiday festivities and other social gatherings, it doesn't mean you have to throw in the towel.

So, what can you do this holiday season to keep yourself from overdoing it? Just because you're trying to eat healthfully doesn't mean you need to avoid events or accept a few extra "party" pounds. All foods -- even traditional holiday treats -- can fit into a healthful eating plan for the calorie conscious. The secret is moderation and balance. So what are some concrete things you can do?

  • Remember, the food looks great but it is not leaving the planet. There is no need to eat it all at once. If you don't have it today, you can eat it tomorrow or next week.
  • Check out the buffet table and decide what you really want to sample. Allow yourself to eat a little of your three or four favorite dishes. Again, easy on the second helpings!
  • Don't drink alcohol on an empty stomach. It lowers your inhibitions and can set up your body to crave more food. And remember, alcohol is a high-calorie substance, too. So try to alternate between drinking alcohol and water. You'll cut the calories you're drinking in half.
  • Take the edge off your hunger before a party. Feeling hungry can sabotage even the strongest willpower. So eat a small, low-fat snack, such as a piece of fruit or a bagel, before you head out the door. This will help you avoid rushing to the buffet table when you arrive at a party. While you're there, take time to greet people you know -- conversation is calorie free!
  • Plan for it! If you know where you are going and the type of food that's likely to be there, plan accordingly. Eat light during the day and increase your exercise to offset the holiday food.
  • Be realistic. Don't try to lose weight during the height of the holidays -- this may be a self-defeating goal. Instead, strive to maintain your weight by balancing party eating with other meals. Eat small lower-calorie meals during the day so you can enjoy celebration foods without overdoing your calorie intake for the day. A week or two of maintaining is not such a bad thing, and it gives you practice for when you ultimately reach your goal weight.

Remember, the holidays are so much more than food. Remember the meaning of the holidays. Savor the time with friends and family to celebrate all that you have. Whatever you don't eat this holiday season will still be there next year.