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Keeping on Track During the Holidays

CRAVINGS. They’re the enemy of every good intention you have to stick to your healthy eating plan and keep the progress coming fast and furious.
Cravings are especially HARD to deal with when the holidays pop up. That’s because there are all kinds of “goodies” everywhere. And they’re hard to pass up because they represent what you’ve always done during the holidays. Why break tradition, after all?
That’s why if you’re serious about getting in shape, you need a PLAN to deal with the holiday party season! Below are some tips to help you stay on track.

1. Pre-eat before the party & plan ahead
Cocktail style holiday parties with buffet style appetizers, desserts, and “muchies” are full of temptations and often lead to overeating on unhealthy foods. The best plan of attack… eat a healthy balanced meal before attending the party. If you attend on a full stomach you are less likely to go to town on the party food. Choose only a small plate of a few items while you are there and enjoy the party knowing that you are not falling off track!
If your gathering is in a restaurant look at the menu in advance. Most restaurants list nutrition information online and don’t be afraid to ask about ingredients and modify items. Have a small healthy snack before hand to make sure you are not starving when you arrive so that you are able to stick to your pre-planned menu choices.
If it’s a potluck… bring a super healthy dish or two that you love, and stick to your items. Plus you get to bring some good nutritional choices for your friends and family!
2. Manage stress
From battling the malls to preparing for visiting family the holidays can be a stressful time. Manage your stress effectively by staying active. Cold weather and time constraints may be keeping you from getting into your sessions at the gym, but stressful times are when exercise is most important. Hitting the gym will help you relax, have more energy, and be more willing to say NO to the Christmas cookies in the office lunchroom! 
3. Indulge in moderation
Limit your intake of less nutritious foods you don’t thoroughly enjoy, and stay mindful as you eat. Slow down and only eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. It also means acknowledging if you’re eating for emotional reasons and taking steps to address the underlying emotions rather than numbing them with food.
4. Stick to your healthy eating plan and don’t skip meals
Stick to eating every 2-3 hours throughout the holidays. This means no “saving up” for that big Christmas dinner or overeating so much that you can’t eat for the rest of the day. Consistent smaller meals will keep you on track. Also, if you have one or two big holiday meals, get right back on track the next day. The damage occurs when you decide that you blew it and you may as well keep going for the rest of the holidays then try to “catch up” in the New Year. So many of you have been working SO HARD in the past few months and are doing AWESOME, don’t let it slip away!
5. Drink alcohol in moderation
Drinking too much alcohol not only increases your intake of empty calories, but it diminishes your ability to stay mindful of what you’re eating. Whenever possible, substitute alcohol with water or green tea.
6. Planning other activities
It seems everything around the holidays focuses on gathering around food, so create some new traditions with friends and family. Make crafts instead of baking, meet friends and go try something new like rock climbing instead of going for drinks, or volunteer in the community. At parties, dance or focus on meeting new people, instead of huddling around the food table. You will end up with great memories and have fun getting out of the box trying new things with your friends and family!
With a little willpower and these tips you will be ready to take on the holidays and come out the other side feeling better than ever!