Tis the season to overindulge. Yes, it’s that time of year again. The holiday season is upon us. Everywhere we look we are inundated with interminable opportunities to satisfy our sweet tooth.  Thanksgiving pies, stocking stuffers, holiday cookie exchanges, work parties, and even aisles at the supermarket devoted solely to Christmas themed candy.  How do we survive these torturous temptations?  When you’re feeling overwhelmed by the seemingly endless array of obstacles that threaten to sabotage your healthy habits, remember these helpful tips:

Keep Your Body Fueled.  There is nothing like showing up to a party and being so hungry that you could eat a horse (or 27 of the cookies on the dessert tray).  If there is an event you have to attend, you can guarantee there will be quite a number of holiday treats and goodies. Remember to have a healthy snack to tide you over prior to the party, so you don’t show up absolutely ravenous. When you’re starving, your blood sugar is low, and your body will crave an instant hit of sugar to boost your energy.  And when your body is screaming at you to feed it…that calorie-laden holiday eggnog starts lookin’ mighty tasty.  So come prepared. Keep your body fueled and your hunger levels balanced, so you don’t attack the hors d’oeuvres station as soon as you arrive at the party. Having a small snack-an apple with some peanut butter, a handful of grapes with some cheese, a protein bar, or even a small salad with a hard-boiled egg-will keep your hunger levels steady and even, which means you will be less likely to overindulge at a holiday event.

Bring Your Own Options.  No one said you had to concede to other people’s unhealthy food selections. If you want to ensure there will be healthy choices at upcoming holiday happenings, offer to make something and bring it yourself. Do you have a work party to attend? Offer to make a salad.  Headed to your in-laws for Thanksgiving?  Tell them you’ll bring a healthy vegetable casserole this year. There are plenty of dishes to make this holiday season that can be extremely tasty and also healthy.  Plus, you’ll breathe easier knowing that you can bring something that fulfills your own health needs and goals.

If you eat it, enjoy it. Here’s a deep thought:  If you decide to indulge in a piece of pie or two, make sure you actually taste it! This seems like common sense, but so many times when we hit up the dessert tray, we are fighting internal battles within our minds.  “Don’t eat that pie, don’t eat the second piece of pie, definitely don’t eat that third piece…”  We feel guilty, tell ourselves we shouldn’t eat it, berate ourselves while we are eating it, etc etc.  And then we miss the entire experience of actually eating the pie! If you savor the flavor, texture, and taste of whatever you’re eating, you won’t need to eat six more pieces to satisfy you. One will be enough. So, dig in to that sliver of pie, taste each morsel, grunt with pleasure at just how tasty it is, smack your lips and lick your fork when you’re done, and then carry on with the rest of the day. Taking pleasure in and tasting the food you are eating will result in much more satisfaction.  And, the best news is that satisfaction=less overeating.

Cut Yourself Some Slack.  Remember, it’s only about 5-6 weeks when our entire society seems to let healthy eating fall by the wayside and gobble down Christmas cookies by the platter. Do not fear-the end shall soon be near. If you eat too many cookies one night, let it go. Tomorrow is a new day. Don’t let one bad day, or even a couple bad days, turn into weeks of unhealthy holiday eating. If you overindulge, make up for it the next day. Go for a walk or run. Eat a healthy breakfast the next morning to kickstart your day.  Get outside and get active.  Be kind to yourself.  Criticizing yourself for the extra five cookies you ate will do nothing but hinder your goal to eat better the next meal.  Allowing some room for “error” will keep expectations in check and make for an enjoyable holiday season.

Incorporating these helpful hints will assist you in getting through the holidays.  What other tips do you have for combating holiday overindulgences? Share your ideas; I’d love to hear from you!