It seems like every October through December we are inundated with more food than we know what to do with. It begins with the Halloween candy that is displayed in plastic pumpkins for weeks after the big night. Those orange and black baskets are quickly replaced with the Thanksgiving leftovers that never seem to diminish and are soon to be replaced with an onslaught of candy canes, Christmas cookies and homemade treats. And let’s not forget the parties, get-togethers, potlucks that more that fill our calendars over the last few months of the year. It’s no wonder that so many of us report putting on a few extra pounds each holiday season.
But rather than just accepting this holiday weight gain as a fact of life, this year make a commitment to avoid packing on a few extra pounds. Research  has found that while most individuals won’t gain serious weight during the Christmas season, very few will actually lose the one or two pounds they put on. Over time, a pound here and a pound there really adds up.
Follow these guidelines this holiday season to enjoy taking part in the festivities without having to fight the battle of the bulge down the road.
1. At The Office…
Avoid placing goodies on or near your desk. If you want to bring in treats, put them in the office kitchen or place them in a solid jar or container so you’re not staring at them all day.
Keep track of how many office snacks you nosh on each day. Place the empty wrappers in front of you or keep a running tally on a notepad in plain sight. Being reminded how many snacks you swiped will keep you from overdoing it.
Swap out your regular snacks for something special. It is the holiday season and many of these treats you will only eat once a year. But, don’t eat them in addition to your regular snack. Instead swap out something from each meal to account for an added indulgence during the day.
2. At The Party…
Never arrive hungry. Remember, there is more to a party than just the meal. Have a protein-rich snack before you arrive so you will be less tempted to plant yourself at the buffet and more inclined to mingle with fellow-guests.
Select a smaller plate. In many cases our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. A small plate will keep you from taking large portions but will still allow you to sample many of the offerings.
Back away from the buffet. Planting yourself in front of the food will keep you nibbling all night long. Take a plate and walk away. Engage in conversation with others to take your mind off of what’s being served. Better yet, hit the dance floor to burn off some extra calories.
3. At Home…
Stop the sampling. Of course you will have to sample what you are preparing, but avoid over-tasting. Those little bites add up quick!
Prepare something healthy. If you are hosting the main meal, give the gift of health by including an array of low-calorie dishes. When going to a potluck or party, bring a veggie tray, fruit bowl or some other healthy dish to share. If everything else is cheesy or chocolaty at least you’ll be assured one healthy option.
Don’t be afraid to be the “healthy” one. So often we eat more than we want to out of concern for offending our hosts. Don’t be afraid to stick to your diet or turn down seconds graciously. In the end, you will have to live with the extra pounds, not your host.
4. Bonus Tips …
Fit in exercise regularly. You may not have the time for a full workout, but half a workout is better than none. And exercise will keep you feeling good about yourself which will help keep you from wanting to overeat.
Wear clothes with a fitted waistband or belt. If you start to feel bloated from overdoing it at the desert counter, this gentle reminder will inform you that you’ve probably had enough.
Don’t go “all or nothing.” It is a special time of year and we often celebrate with food. But, don’t think this gives you license to quit your diet all month. A decadent meal or a few too many deserts one night won’t kill you. Rather than giving up entirely, plan to get back on track the next day. The “waiting until January” method will only result in more weight that very rarely comes off.