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Holiday Food Survival Tips

The holiday season is a joyous time to spend with family and friends, and these visits usually involve food.  Eating yourself into a coma seems almost normal for this time of year.  Try these tips to enjoy the Christmas season without gaining weight.

1. Focus on maintaining your weight rather weight loss

2. Plan on NOT dieting after the New Year. “After all, if I’m going on a diet after Jan. 1st, I might as well eat as much as possible now!” Thinking you are going to deprive your self later can cause you to binge now.

3. Exercise every day. Often busy holiday schedules (or lack of structured schedules) bump you off your exercise routines. Physical activity can help relieve stress, regulate appetite, and burn up extra calories from holiday eating.

4. Eat a light snack before going to holiday parties.  It is not a good idea to arrive at a party famished.  The idea is to be somewhat full before the party so that the temptation to over-indulge is eliminated.

5. Make a plan.  Think about where you will be, who you will be with, what foods will be available and what foods are really special to you.  What are your personal triggers to overeat and how can you minimize them?  Once you've thought about these things, make a plan of action.

6. If you over-indulge at a holiday meal, put it behind you.  Over eating at one meal will not make you gain weight.  Enjoy the moment of splurging and don’t feel guilty.  Regain control and return to your regular eating style and workout schedule the next day.  

7. Avoid recreational eating.  At parties we tend to eat beyond our body’s physical hunger simply because food is there.  Consciously make one plate of the foods you really want. Eat slowly and really enjoy every tasty bite. When you’re done, pop a stick of gum in your mouth, and position yourself away from the buffet table to keep yourself from overeating.

8. Reduce the fat in holiday recipes.  Try using applesauce in place of oil in your favorite holiday breads; use egg substitutes in place of whole eggs; try plain nonfat yogurt in place of sour cream.

9.Choose your beverages wisely.  Alcohol is an easy way to consume more calories than you need so avoid mixed or fruity drinks and have a glass of water for every drink you consume.

10. Although food can be a big part of the season, it doesn’t have to be the focus. Holidays are a time to reunite with good friends and family, to share laughter and cheer, to celebrate and to give thanks.  Focus on these holiday pleasures rather than the tastes of holiday foods.  Eat slowly, talk often and really listen to what people are saying.  

The important thing to remember is balance and moderation.  Just relax, enjoy the holidays, and remember what Christmas is all about.