Depending on where you look, studies state that most Americans gain 2-5 pounds during the holidays.  So, what’s the big deal? Well, most of us don’t lose that weight in the months to come. The foods high in sugar and unhealthy fats, and the lack of exercise wreck habit on your body.

Here are some easy ways to avoid this damage:

  1. Eat before you go! Sounds counter-intuitive, but if you come to a dinner party hungry you are more likely to over eat. Grab an apple before you go (the fiber will keep you full) or drink some water before you eat.
  2. Pay attention to more important things! Focus on catching up with friends and family instead of the food/drinks.
  3. Try a different pace! Instead of filling your plate or trying as much food as you possibly can, try a few things and enjoy them thoroughly. Eat slowly, this will help you fill up on less food. Put your fork down between bites, again, a great way to pace your eating.
  4. Count those toothpicks! If there are an abundance of canaps (those cute appetizers on toothpicks, that are easy to eat – in excess) make sure to set a limit. If it’s 5. Stick to 5.
  5. Buffet, no way! If you can’t avoid the buffet-style meals, take some measures to avoid overeating: choose a small plate, don’t stack your food, and limit yourself to one single serving.
  6. Control your alcohol intake! Not only is this important for calories but also controlling your food intake. You may keep eating even after you’re full, because you don’t feel satiated. Try water, tea, or club soda for a change.
  7. Ditch the sugar! This is nearly impossible during the holidays, but you can limit yourself to small portions and a single flavor. If you think you can sample one bite of several sweets, think again. I know if I’m going to do dessert it’s going to be chocolate. I pick the richest chocolate thing I can find and the smallest piece there – and enjoy it like I’ll never have chocolate again. After it’s gone; I’m done with dessert.
  8. Bring something! Not only is your host going to thank you but you now have control over a single dish. You can bring a healthy salad, or even a less sugary/fattening dessert to avoid the fiasco in #7 altogether.
  9. Keep your spoon out of the pot! Limit the tasting while you cook. These calories can add up quickly.
  10. Walk, walk, walk! My favorite by far! You can grab you friends, family, or pup and head out for a stroll. Not only does this burn calories, and get you away from the food, but it also keeps cravings and hunger at bay.