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10 Steps To Surviving The Holiday Season & Sticking With Your Weight Loss Goals

So here comes Christmas again. It is such a precious time for families to get together, catch up, reminisce, relax...and of course eat. Turkey, dressing, ham, mashed potatoes whipped with butter, heavy gravy, buttery rolls, cranberry sauce, lots of pie and ice-cream, cake and cookies - all very wholesome healthy food choices, right? Not quite. For those of us who are struggling to lose weight this can be a "deadly" combination. Once our taste buds re-experience this heavenly goodness we may be done for!

For some reason, We seem to give ourselves permission to "be bad" during the holidays "since it is a special occasion" and sometimes there is no help whatsoever from our family and friends. How many times have we heard "oh but you have to try grandma's potato casserole" or "now you don't want to hurt aunt Marge's feelings" or "another piece of pie never hurt anybody". So before we know it we are having that second helping of mashed potatoes and gravy, the second piece of pie and maybe just a couple more cookies... it's only a couple hundred more calories after all, it can't hurt just this once. You have been so good and now you deserve a reward right? Does that sound even vaguely familiar? I know it does to me! It would not be that bad if it WAS just a couple hundred more calories and just for that ONE day. But the truth is that this is a psychological "trap" that leads us to allow ourselves to keep on indulging the day after - "well we can't let the leftovers go bad" and maybe the day after that because "the scale has not gone up that much", so we get brave and keep indulging. Before you know it, you fall right back into your old eating habits which you worked so hard to break. And then you step on the scale and your heart skips a beat!

The holiday season can also be accompanied by a high stress level, anxiety, financial pressures, uncomfortable family dynamics, which may all last past the celebrations and can induce a stress eating behavior in many of us. It is not unusual to gain 5 to 10 lbs between Thanksgiving and the New Year if we don't pay close attention so - You have been warned - the pounds will creep up, and FAST!

So here are 10 ways how you are going to survive this holiday season:

1. Avoid attending any event hungry and you will be less likely to overindulge. Always have a healthy snack beforehand and once there, sip on water to keep your stomach filled.

2. During dinner fill your plate with healthy choices like turkey, veggies, and salad. There won't be much room on your plate for the less healthy, fatty dishes such as mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing.

3. If there are "must-have" desserts on the menu, skip a starch you can live without from your main dish and have a small portion of your favorite dessert instead.

4. Sip on water while you eat - you will find yourself fuller a lot faster.

5. Don't overindulge in alcoholic drinks - you could easily blow through your daily calorie budget without eating any solid food. If you must drink, sip on a glass of wine which is anywhere between 80-150 cal.

6. Try to be around people who are supportive and avoid the ones who will try to sabotage your eating plan.

7. Know that it is OK to say "No, thank you" when someone is insisting you eat.

8. Do not have goodies lying around the house. What the eye doesn't see, the stomach doesn't grieve for.

9. Stay on your regular schedule - get plenty of sleep, don't forgo your exercise schedule and your diet. Abandoning your fitness goals for just a few weeks can cause a major setback. You will start losing the muscle and the conditioning you have gained. You also risk abandoning your routine which can be extremely hard to get back into.

10. And most of all be good to yourself and if you happen to "fall off the wagon" and overdo it for a day or two, forgive yourself and don't give up! Tomorrow is always a brand new day.

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