Good news.  You don’t have to lock yourself in your house, be anti-social and live on baked chicken and broccoli to avoid packing extra jelly in your belly (or hips and thighs, or whatever body part on your shows whether your lifestyle has been naughty or nice). 

Here are 7 simple ways to allow you to enjoy the holidays without looking like it: 

#1.  Pick your battles 

You’re not going to make it through the entire holiday season (especially the last two weeks of the year) without at least some indulgence, and you’d be setting yourself up for failure if you tried.  

You can have your cake and eat it too, but you can’t eat it every daySome indulgence is fine.  Indulgence is only a problem when everyday becomes a holiday, and peppermint brownies become your lunch.  

Look at your calendar, and decide when you’re going to relax your nutrition rules.  Which parties and feasts will you enjoy the most? Write those dates down, and have a great time, but honor yourself by saying “no” to the not-so-good cookies that are passed around at work. Speaking of junk food at work… 

#2.  Don’t debate 

So, when you say “no thanks” to the cookies being passed around at work, sometimes people will ask why.  This is where the danger is

If the cookie pusher asks why you don’t want cookies, the worst thing you can say is, “oh, I’m watching my figure.”   

Now you’re in a debate because, they’ll reply with, “Oh, one little cookie won’t hurt…  On TV they said you can loose weight and eat cookies… you look great anyway… you could stand to gain a little weight an way…”  (Why do some people feel determined to sabotage you?)  And before you know it you’re eating those cookies out of guilt. 

Stick to a simple “no thanks.”  When the follow up “why” comes, stick to the “I don’t want any, thanks for asking though.” And, if you get pressed further with a “what are you trying to watch your weight?”  Stick to the, “I just don’t want any, but thanks for asking.  Have a great day.”   

#3.  Treat don’t cheat 

Indulge on the days you said you would above, but don’t try to see how much food you can possibly fit inside your body without rupturing your stomach.  Remember you are not trying to cram as much “cheat food” into your pie hole as possible, you’re just having a good meal.   

#4.  Pre-game 

Before you go to a party that you decided that you would not be “treating” yourself at, be sure to ruin your appetite beforehand.  Have a healthy meal right beforehand, and it becomes much easier to stick to your guns.  You also have the opportunity to talk to people. 

#5.  Keep an eye on your belly 

Measure your belly and/or your hips and thighs regularly.  Don’t trust your eyes – humans can’t objectively evaluate themselves in the mirror.  Know the numbers because they tell the real story.  Its much easier to do something about your girth when it’s a small change – just an inch up vs. letting it get to the point where you need to buy new jeans. 

Action:  Once a week  try on your favorite pair of pants with a zipper! This helps keeps you objective about what is and  what is not going on in your body. 

#6.  Respect your house 

If you host the party, send the pecan pie home with someone else.  Your best intentions are no match for a pie sitting on your counter that is all yours.  You won’t win the will-power showdown with that pie. The only way to ensure success is to avoid it. 

If you have to, throw the pie away.  Better to waste a little food than to look and feel like you ate the whole thing. (Killing your energy levels is probably the worst side effect.) 

If you attend a party at someone else’s place this is so easy. Just don’t take any junk home. 

#7.  Remember the most important person 

The most important person to take care of in your life is you. Contributing to and doing nice things for other people is great, but if you put everyone else ahead of yourself, eventually you’ll get to a point where you are run down and can no longer give. 

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