My husband and I have been working our butts off to reach our weight loss goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle. With the upcoming holidays approaching, I am feeling my anxiety levels spike. How are we going to keep from putting on weight that we have worked so hard to lose? How are we going to stay clear of unhealthy, processed, GMO filled foods? How can we exit the holiday season in better shape than we are now? I have been doing some brainstorming on what steps we can take to help us stay on track during the holidays and tackle my ever increasing anxiety levels.

Get involved/contribute in the menu planning (if possible) Put in a request for healthier, organic alternatives to be on the menu this year (buying organic insures that you will not be consuming any GMO’s). Bring a large fruit/veggie tray instead of cheese & crackers. Suggest that the turkey be broiled, stewed, or baked instead of deep fried. Even better, opt for a healthy baked fish alternative. This may be a bit of a reach but how about this year say no to desserts; ask that guest refrain from bringing sweats to the gathering, out of sight, out of mind right?! Ok, maybe not out of mind, but out of reach!

Eat at home before you get together with family & friends Try not show up to the party with a grumbling stomach; you are less likely to over-indulge if you are not “starving” when you show up. Have a small snack before you leave the house such as, a tuna fish sandwich, small salad, or apple slices with almond butter. How to Prevent Overeating at Holiday Parties

Grab the smallest plate that is available & start with the healthy options Remember the kind words your mother use to say (and you may even say to your kids), “Clean your plate and then you can get up from the table!” As Americans, that is probably one of the worst rules to live by. Portion sizes are outrageous and as a result, many diet experts will recommend replacing your dinner plate with a smaller appetizer size plate. This year when you line up at the holiday buffet, grab the smallest plate and begin by filling it up with the healthy alternatives first. You can always go back for seconds (no, not thirds and fourths) but allow your body time (30 min.or so) to feel full before returning for more.

Make time for your exercise routine Just because it’s the holidays does not give you an excuse to skip out on your daily exercise routine. If you have out-of-townees staying at your house, get up before they do and get your workout done for the day. Just remember you are never too busy for 1 hour or less of exercise. Plan ahead and incorporate time for your workout… DAILY! How to Survive the Holidays

Stay as stress-free as possible Most of us already live a pretty stressful life and when you add in the holiday hustle and bustle it can be well…..overwhelming! Between shopping, cooking, cleaning, choosing the perfect gifts, work parties, personal parties, and the list goes on and on, it is extremely difficult to stay stress-free during the holidays. Stress leads to over-eating, drinking more, and the dreaded WEIGHT GAIN! Try not to be super woman over the holidays, delegate to others and do not strive for absolute perfection. Make a goal this year to cut back, relax more, and take advantage of the many positives that the holidays have to offer.