Ahh, it’s that season again!

a special feature from *Debra Orringer, Clinical Exercise Physiologist

This is our favorite and yet most loathsome time of year.  Why?  It’s time with friends and family to celebrate and party and eat… oh my!   Why is it that from Halloween through New Year’s our healthy resolve goes right out the window?  We live in a holiday rollercoaster of party fun followed closely by post-party guilt because not only did we eat the party foods but also, we ate a LOT of it… to the point of being uncomfortably full.

But, don’t fret, not all is lost.  With a little pre-planning and some discipline we can throw those bingeing habits to the curb:

1.  Have a plan before heading out to the party.  Eat a nutritious snack prior to going so you don’t arrive starving.  Tell yourself you will eat only half of what is served and stick to the plan.  Hint: it’s totally fine to ask the hostess what is on the menu and even offer to bring a healthy side dish.

2.  Be a wonderful guest.  Instead of coming and parking yourself next to the buffet, offer to help the hostess with any additional food prep, play bartender, and even offer to help clean up. Keep yourself moving and keep yourself busy!

3.  Ditch the dinner plate.  Use the smallest plate you can find like the dessert plate.  Breathe between each bite and take your time to chew your food.

4.  Understand the line between indulging and bingeing.  Indulging by sampling a small bite is fine.  Remember – moderation is the key.  If your mentality is that once you’ve had ‘one bite, your healthier lifestyle is blown – so why not eat the whole bag?’… then you’ve crossed into the binge category.

5.  If the party is buffet style snacks and hor d’oeuvres, then opt for that as your main meal.  Use a fork too.  It’s hard to be a glutton when eating like a normal human.

6.  Alcohol has a lot of sugar and empty calories.   Just because the drinks are free, doesn’t mean you need to drink till you drop.  Plus, drinking too much can reduce those food inhibitions and snacking aimlessly can get out of control.  Alternate the tasty beverages with a glass of water.  Sometimes I drink my water out of a wine or martini glass, because it’s the feel of the glass that makes you feel more elegant as opposed to the drink itself.

7.  Make your shopping trips a workout.  Black Friday is my favorite shopping day of the year.  I feel like I’m running an obstacle course avoiding people.  Plus I get great bargains!

8.  Focus on the quality time with friends and family rather than the food.  Plan activity days with your family.  Sitting around the table after dinner is where we can start to pick at the sweets unconsciously.  Ever notice that the kids get up and go out almost immediately?  Like we suggested before: keep moving! Get yourselves up and go for a walk together.

Remember, it’s ok to indulge and enjoy yourself. Repeat this word:  M-O-D-E-R-A-T-I-O-N.  Shift your mindset from losing weight during the holidays to just maintaining.  Did you know the average American gains between 3-7 pounds between Halloween and New Year’s? Stay ahead of the game by keeping yourself consistent with your activities and healthier eating habits.

*Debra Orringer, MS from Naples, FL, is a Clinical Exercise Physiologist with 20 years in the fitness industry. She has managed the wellness programs at the Kennedy Space Center as well as consulted for several national fitness companies, authored articles, and retains a myriad of advanced level certifications. Debra works as a Wellness Coach for Isagenix.

For further comments contact Debra at: debo@321GetFitt.com