By: Stacey Garcia

The holiday season is fast approaching. For some (like me) it begins tomorrow evening to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. Dinner parties will be the norm for the next few months. It is possible to enjoy all the holiday cheer and delicious food without gaining weight. Here are a few tips to avoid the holiday bloat and stay on track.

Stick to a regular routine with sleep and exercise. Those who are sleep deprived typically end up overeating.

Set goals for yourself and keep a food journal. Don’t completely avoid holiday food. If you know you’re going to a party Saturday night, keep yourself on track by journaling your calorie intake for that week. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and lean protein. When Saturday rolls around, treat yourself to some festive food, but don’t overindulge!!! The key here is moderation.

Try to remain consistent with your workout routine. Holiday time is tricky. But please don’t fall victim to the excuse that you’ll just make up for it after the New Year when life settles down. Make exercise a part of your daily routine even if you have to modify the times a bit. Just do it!!

Watch your alcohol intake. I hate to admit it but it’s true, alcohol consists of empty calories and can contribute to unwanted weight gain. Have a glass of wine, just don’t make every party a reason to go crazy at the bar. Who knows.. I may have just saved you from an embarrassing moment as well.

Eat a small healthy meal right before you leave for your party. Never go to party famished!! You metabolism actually slows down causing you to store body fat if calories are too limited for too long. Another negative result is that you are more likely to binge later at night resulting in greater weight gains.

Don’t stand by food at a party. Grab a plate of veggies and go mingle!

If you’re the one hosting the party, make sure you provide plenty of healthy low-calorie snacks. If you’re the guest, fill your plate with mostly veggies then help yourself to small servings of the good (bad) stuff.

Always, and I mean always, remain positive. If you happen to have one bad day, don’t stress! There’s always tomorrow. The key to avoid weight gain during this time of the year is to exercise consistently, eat in moderation and always listen to your body. Eat slowly and savor every bite of that brisket. Let the force be with you.